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Why losing a beloved beer fridge is no reason to get down in the dumps

Opinion

Abstinence can make the heart grow fonder and help you see the bigger picture, writes Rebecca Levingston

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I love the dump. You drive in, get weighed, drop off stuff you don’t want and you leave feeling lighter.

Brilliant. Sign me up for daily visits.  Chuck in a dump voucher for mental load dispatches too, please.

I love the staff at the resource recovery centre who eye off what you’ve got in the back of your car, then guide you to the ramp where you turf your goods into the abyss, or, if you’re lucky, you get sent to the recycling section. You’re cleansing and you meet blokes with skullets who are saving the world. Forget dirty, this is virtuous, thirsty work.

This week I helped my husband dispose of a fridge that refused to carry on. It froze all the beer inside, repeatedly. Perhaps it’s a hint that we don’t need a second fridge.

The beer fridge, like a trip to the dump is a nostalgic experience for me. The second fridge is the one downstairs or out the back that harbours beer and possibly dog food. Often missing a shelf, it generally only functions on one temperature setting yet lives a long, chilly life.

The fact that our beer fridge gave up this month is particularly galling because I’m also not drinking alcohol. I’m reluctantly on the wagon. No midweek wine. No beers on the weekend. No champagne Saturdays.

I have to be honest, it’s not much fun. But it’s gotta be done. I love drinking. To celebrate, to socialise, to relax… and it seems to respond to the unfolding drama of this year.

I never used to drink on weeknights and then 2020 arrived. Everything felt a bit unwieldy, so decisions like wine on a Wednesday seemed justified. I’ve been whinging about my abstinence and I’m quietly relieved to discover quite a few people saying they’re trying to cut back. Sober schadenfreude.

What’s too much? For me it’s drinking during the week. I’m trying to get back into the habit of only imbibing on a Friday and Saturday night. All right maybe a cheeky Sunday rosé. To be totally honest, it’s also the cheese and chips that inevitably complement the beverage that I need to reduce.

I’m trying to take inspiration from famous teetotallers who are some of my favourite people, such as Dave Hughes, Yumi Stynes and Shaun Micallef. Some drinkers pick a month to abstain for Febfast, Dry July or Ocsober. I’m choosing now to “quit a bit”. Hardly catchy or cool, but hopefully achievable.

It does make getting up early easier. Sharpness at sunrise helps you appreciate surprisingly simple things. Driving into work at as the sun rose recently, it wasn’t the golden pink rays that dazzled but the rows of red top wheelie bins. Seeing them lined up I had a moment of gratitude for the garbologists who expertly navigate streets to make life easy for everyone. How lucky are we that you can bag up your trash, roll it to the curb and someone will take it away. Civilisation is garbage, isn’t it?

This year has revealed who we really need to keep the world functioning. People like Katherine who’s stranded in Australia, far from her home in Colombia. She’s a researcher and when she tearfully told her father the only work she could secure was as a cleaner, he said to her, “Katherine, you are still saving lives”.

The frontline workers, often the lowest paid, who keep the wheels of society turning are owed a debt of gratitude up there with those who hopefully find a vaccine. Like Fernando, who sanitises the radio studio at my work. He loves Elvis Presley. I love that he keeps the studio safe for everyone to use. Without him, things would fall apart faster than a rusty fridge.

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