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February 09, 2005

Giving it up for no good reason

Yesterday was Mardi Gras! I didn't really do anything special to observe it -- Francis and I went out dancing last night, but we do that every Tuesday -- I take swing dance classes at Dance Manhattan.

The day after Mardi Gras is Ash Wednesday, which is the beginning of Lent. I've got a complicated relationship to Lent. I'm not Catholic, or even Christian or particularly religious at all, but I grew up in south Louisiana among Catholics. Just as many of us in New York are sort of generally familiar with Jewish observances, even non-religious folks in south Louisiana are regularly exposed to the rites and rituals of Catholicism.

So some years I give something up for Lent. I don't do it every year, but the times I've done it have been interesting for me. I have a few rules.

It can't be something I already want to give up.
It can't be something I don't like.
I'd prefer it not be an enormous hardship to give up -- not something I'll be miserable without.

So when I was a kid, other kids would always joke about giving up spinach, or when I was in college, people would say they would give up cigarettes (and they'd often fail). For me, it's about the exercise of giving something up for a few weeks, and then getting to really enjoy it again when I can have it after 40 days.

One year I gave up chocolate. This fulfilled all my criteria. Chocolate was in the world often enough that I was very aware of having given it up, but I'm not a huge chocolate fiend, so I wasn't miserable and depressed about the deprivation. When I had a chocolate malt (the day after Easter, as it turns out), that was really the Best Chocolate Malt I'd ever had.

So, drum roll please: I've decided what I'm giving up this year for Lent. In fact, I decided last night. Carbonation.

Actually, I'm giving up both carbonation and fizzy drinks of all kinds. So no soda, seltzer, beer, champagne, or cider. Nada. I'm thinking of breaking my fast by bringing a bottle of sparkling wine to dim sum on Easter Sunday, but perhaps I'll think of something else I'd like better by then.

Anybody else giving something up for Lent? Anybody who isn't Catholic? (^_^)

Posted by Rose at February 9, 2005 06:49 PM


i have a friend (also not Catholic) who gives up soda every year. i never used to be a big soda drinker, but i'm toying with the idea of giving up Coke as part of my Lenten thing, because I've gotten hooked on it lately, like it's...coke. Didn't it kind of used to be? (Wow, that sentence structure is like that headline in your last post!)

Posted by: mrspilkington at February 9, 2005 11:40 PM

No fizzy lifting drinks?

Posted by: Francis at February 10, 2005 08:18 PM