Some people have assumed when I say I don’t drink that I’m a recovering alcoholic. At least that was when I was younger. Now that I’m a “woman of a certain age” the assumption is that I’m on all sorts of medication that precludes consuming alcoholic beverages. The truth is I am a teetotaler. I always have been. I suppose I can trace my abhorrence of alcohol to several instances as a child. The first was probably the time my great uncle thought it would be amusing to give a 5 year old a glass of gin and tonic when she asked for some water. The second was when I was home sick and the neighbor was watching me. Her husband came home drunk and began attacking her. He was verbally and physically abusive. I was terrified. I never told my parents. The last straw was being at college and seeing the consequences of the girls in my dorm getting drunk – everything from barfing in the hallway to date rape. No thanks. I like to be in control of my actions. I never want to feel helpless. I like being able to make clear headed decisions.
I was talking with a friend who was telling me about her weekend. She attended a Gala for her husband’s job. He had earned an invite to a Chicago boat cruise. There was an open bar, a live band, fancy food, and lots of people who were determined to party hard. Now that she is a mother of two, drinking to oblivion really isn’t something she wants to do. So after having half a beer with dinner she was done. Instead she danced like a mad woman, cheered for each and every song, and generally had a ball. When the band took a break, she went to the bar to get some water. The bartender acted as if water was a foreign substance too exotic to be served. My friend persisted and eventually was given a bottle of room temperature water. She asked for a glass of ice which was reluctantly provided. When she got to her table she poured some of the water in the glass and tossed it back (the glass was small and full of ice). Several people at the table wanted to know what she was drinking. As a joke she said, “Vodka.” And slammed back 2 more glasses of water. The people at the table were very impressed and complimented her on being so “bad-ass”. She heard later that they had been wondering why she was dancing all night and were able to attribute it to her being drunk. Seems you can’t dance because you like to dance or enjoy a live band unless you are tipsy.
It worries me to think that many people still persist in thinking that unless alcohol is involved you can’t have a good time. I call it the “Tailgate Syndrome”. What happened to mirth and whimsy and witty conversation?