No, it’s not a hangover from last night. I have not had a drink in the past two weeks. That doesn’t stop some people from reminding me that I do, in fact, drink when they ask me questions like, “What, are you drunk right now?” or, my personal favorite, “Did you get wasted this weekend?”
Hearing these lowbrow attempts at calling me out for having a social drink here and there, it became apparent to me within the past few weeks how much more accepted drinking is for students at other colleges and universities.
As a participant in school-affiliated trips to San Francisco and Chicago, I was immersed in a sea of college-aged students from around the country. One could argue the students were the best of the best and serious about pursuing careers in their given fields.
On the most recent trip to Chicago for a journalism conference, I remember heading up the hotel elevator one late afternoon, and a student I had seen in sessions was headed upstairs as well. In his right hand he held onto a large case of Coors Light. He got off on the eighteenth floor.
Why does this memory stick out in my mind? I’m not entirely sure. I don’t want to say that I wasn’t making a judgment — clearly it stood out to me — but it was more a feeling of slight envy that another college student could be so casual about his drink of choice that night.
I don’t hide that I drink alcohol. Do I drink heavily? No. Do I get drunk every weekend? I do not. Have I been drunk? Yes, but I like to think of it as one more feather in my cap and will admit I did not enjoy the after effects whatsoever.
My close friends would describe me as a social drinker. To me, a glass of wine at dinner with friends is ideal. An occasional drink relaxes me, yet stereotypes prevail in the majority of this state, and those like me seem often labeled as booze hounds.
I don’t care much for the cliché, but when it comes to the topic whether or not one chooses to drink, my response is to live and let live, so to speak. I’m not trying to tell anyone what to do or what to think, but the petty comments some like to share about drinking can irk me.
Yes, there are plenty of people in the world who drink excessively, make poor decisions and ruin their lives and the lives of others, but that can also be said of many things.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not shelving for a liquor company. I have extended family members who are struggling with alcoholism and other health issues stemming from alcohol abuse. On that same note, some of the most promising people I know happen to drink, and I’m not expecting their lives to fall apart anytime soon. It’s all about knowing one’s limits and drinking in moderation. I also understand excessive drinking on college campuses continues to be a nationwide problem.
There are some people who make snap judgments about different lifestyles without realizing that others may care less about what they do. In sum, pardon me for partaking in a glass of wine twice a month, and believe me when I say I’m not judging you for not.
So the next time you hear me say I’m tired or I’m lagging behind and slightly irritable, it’s because I’m on deadline — not because I’m recovering from an all-night binge.