Sunday, 10 March 2013
Just a splash
I watch them reeling out of pubs and then collapsing or vomiting or shrieking obscenities and I wonder for the umpteenth time what the attraction is. Especially when the next day they'll also have a crushing hangover and be struggling to function normally.
As a twenty something, I fell in with a crowd of heavy drinkers and started to drink as relentlessly as they did. But after several appalling hangovers, when I felt at death's door and ready to top myself just to end the misery, I resolved to be more sensible and limit myself to what my body could cope with rather than beating my liver to a pulp.
Of course heavy drinking is so common that the drinkers seldom see anything wrong with it. They think heavy drinking is completely normal, if anything more normal than a strait-laced, priggish refusal to keep gulping it down. I know what they're thinking - I'm a wimp, a girlie, an abstemious nerd who doesn't know how to let my hair down and have a good time. Well, each to their own, I guess, and all I can say is that their meat is my poison.
Heavy drinkers have no trouble justifying their habit. What could be more natural? They just enjoy drinking to excess. They enjoy being drunk. They need it to drown their sorrows, to escape the agonies of daily life. It loosens their inhibitions, relaxes them. It helps them to socialise. It's sexually liberating. So many good reasons for knocking it back.
I suppose my attitude is that I want to experience life as it is. If life is difficult, then I'll find ways of making it easier. I'm not looking for an escape, a way of blotting out reality so I don't have to deal with it any more. If I'm shy or nervous, I don't want some artificial Dutch courage to feign a confidence I don't have. I'd rather admit to my shyness and overcome it in my own way.
Whenever someone says "Go on, have another. It won't kill you" I just think, "But what's the point?"