You can’t be serious…

28 February, 2009

Scott has given up video games for Lent. This is extraordinary. I predict that by Easter he will be very good on guitar, have watched an awful lot of films, and find that his thumbs have wasted away.

Meanwhile, Heather is doing Fair Trade Fortnight: fair trade and local food only.  I understand that it’s pretty difficult unless you can live on coffee, bananas and vegetables, but she seems to be surviving. In an ideal world, it wouldn’t be difficult; I guess that’s the point.

Giving something up is an interesting experiment in how much of a hold it has on you (usually not as much as you think) and your culture (usually huge). It’s also interesting to find out how your attitude to it changes afterwards: do you still want to go back?

Things I deliberately have given up (not counting things that just sorta happened, like TV and Windows):

  • Gave up alcohol for a month. Missed wine.
  • Went vegetarian for a week. It was fun, leading to many new foods and strange conversations. It turned into two weeks. Then it stuck (and I had to tell my parents). It’s roughly the same warm fuzzy feeling as refactoring code; to use an entirely inappropriate analogy, being vegetarian is like swallowing a kitten ;). I miss fish. That’s about it.
  • BBC News Have Your Say: I used to read it religiously every day during my lunch break. Most of the topics boiled down to: driving (in which men, women, old people, young people, native people, foreign people, car drivers, van drivers, lorry drivers and cyclists are clearly dangerous and should be banned from the road), The Youth Of Today (hooded criminals who should be banned from going outside), video games (direct causal links to obesity and violence and should be banned) and banning things (there’s far too much of it, and the phrases ‘nanny state’ and ‘cotton wool’ would be used liberally). That’s a whole extra dose of gloom every day, and really, who needs that?

All well and good. But those are not quite in the same league as Abi giving up tea or Scott giving up his One True Purpose.

Things I would have big problems giving up:

  • Tea
  • The Internet
  • Sleeping too much


  1. I’ve given up drinking on numerous occasions due to either a) medication with which I wasn’t supposed to drink or b) fear of alcoholism.

    I’ve never missed drinking during these periods. I think this is because I am, by and large. a social drinker. Since I can still socialise without drinkig this doesn’t really cause me problems. The only bad part is when you get to the part of the evening when everyone else thinks blatantly humourless things are the Funniest Thing On Earth™

    All of which begs the question “why start again?” – to this I have no real answer. Social pressure perhaps – although in the main my friends aren’t the type to convince a non-drinker to pick up the vodka bottle.

    • You don’t find that you start feeling drunk when in the presence of drunk people? Ethanol can’t take all the blame 😉

      Implicit social pressure is a strange thing. It almost feels impolite to force people to reconsider their perception of you (“but you love wine!”) and so it’s easy to get stuck in ruts of other people’s devising :S

      I like drinking but I really don’t like being drunk. It’s boring; you can’t do anything except go to sleep and wait for it to go away. As a result I find I’m less and less inclined to do it, which tends to confuse people. Acceptable answers to ‘do you drink?’ are ‘yes’ and ‘no’ but not ‘sometimes’. Odd, that.

  2. Ok i was going to write about things i can never give up and the effect giving up milk has had on me (short version: Milk chocolate tastes sickly and tea isn’t tea with milk, even with soya milk.)
    However Becky and Stephen have written so elegantly that my many fumbling attempts at expressing myself on this point look childish in comparison.

    • I’m curious now; what things would you never give up?

      Milk is an odd thing to drink anyway, when you think about it.

  3. I was wondering about giving up washing up but I don’t think it would go down too well…

  4. […] support of Heather and the Fair Trade Fortnight, I chose Fair Trade Vanilla icecream and she supplied Fair Trade orange-flavoured chocolate […]

  5. […] There are three ways to look at this kind of thing. […]

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