I liken a cup of tea and a glass of wine to their respective punctuation marks – the full stop and the comma.
For me, a cup of tea is like a full stop. It denotes an ending, cessation, nothing more to add. I savour a cup of tea; refreshing at breakfast and comforting at night. Like the full stop, it is solid and reliable.
On the other hand, a glass of wine is like a comma. It suggests more to come, on-going, never-ending… on and on. Opposite to the full stop, the comma is a run away train.
I think of the semicolon (;) as the ‘moderator’. It is made up of a full stop and comma, acting in balance. The full stop sits on top of the comma, bringing weight down on it, restraining it like a rider taming a wild horse.
Here are some examples of the above punctuation in practical use:
Pattie enjoys a hot cup of Chamomile tea before bed.
Pattie returns home after a long day and drinks the following: a gin and tonic with a slice of lemon, a glass of Chardonnay, a second glass of Chardonnay, a third glass of Chardonnay, a fourth glass of Chardonnay and so on.
Pattie is a moderate drinker and enjoys: a recommended size glass of Chardonnay with dinner twice a week; a glass of Champagne at Christmas (on alternate years as her husband’s side are teetotallers); and a glass of Shiraz at book club, which is only once a month. The rest of the time she drinks tea.
But seriously, the semicolon or moderation is the holy grail. Like other intrepid sober warriors, I have tried moderation many, many times. I have tried limiting drinking wine (my beverage of choice) to the weekend, to special occasions, to Friday nights, to twice a week. Sound familiar? The problem with this state, is that on my OFF days, my ON button is still activated. My brain circuitry sparks with repetitive thoughts of “when, will I, how unfair, how many days until?” Exhausting. The only way to break the circuit and switch my thoughts off is to give into the sulky child. Just like a parent who is wound down by whining and pestering and sticks to their guns for a time, only to succumb and resign themselves to failure (internal dialogue – “whatever, I don’t care, I give in, you get your own way most times, I’m a useless parent…blah blah blah”). The semicolon gives me a smug victory wink and a smile
“Sorry, you’re not eligible for this group”.
So here I am now, staring addiction down the barrel. I can’t semicolon through life anymore. It is a face off, a show down, a war… of the punctuation marks. My semicolon has toppled, like a statue of a dictator. Let the battle begin.
P.S For grammar gurus, this is my best attempt at an interpretation of the punctuation marks. It may not be accurate.