Monday, April 16, 2012

Monday Musings

I have been thinking a lot lately about alcohol. Why, you might ask. What a strange thing to be thinking about on a regular basis. Yes, it is. I was raised in a household where I never saw my parents drunk. Never. Ever. I don't really remember my parents drinking regularly during the week. On the weekends, everyone would have a glass of wine at Sunday dinner at my grandparents. We were never a family that had social events that revolved around drinking. Then I got older and discovered alcohol myself. Yum.

Now, I barely drank in high school, and I did drink too much during my first year of college (who didn't)! However, that didn't really last as I preferred dinner and movie to a kegger. But, despite my penchant for artsy films and rice crispy treats instead of Jack and Coke, my mom always had one rule. No shots. Never. Ever. (Like I was really so interested.) She would send me and each of my siblings off to college with this resounding advice. "I love you. Don't do shots." This became a mantra. And we were all terribly amused when we got my mom to do a shot at my brother's college graduation.

My father traveled a lot as I was growing up, and my mother also had another rule that she made in his absence: no drinking alone. Drinking alone meant you were an alcoholic. Period. Full stop. Then I got my first job out of college where I realized that some well-adjusted single people actually drank alone! Like they might have a glass of wine with dinner or the news. BY THEMSELVES! The idea! I was flabbergasted. Who knew this was happening right under my nose!

So, when my husband and I spent a year apart here and there, I tried it. The first time I poured myself a glass of wine alone to enjoy with a movie I was watching, I took one sip and poured it down the sink. I didn't want to become an alcoholic, which was surely the slippery slope I was embarking on! I did manage, albeit a few years later, to drink a glass of wine by myself.

Now that my husband and I have finally managed to situate ourselves on the same coast, we often drink wine with dinner. I can't help but think of all the empty calories, but it is a nice end to the day, helps me wind down and relax. Somehow, though, I hear my mother's nagging voice that one needn't drink during the week.  (Even though she and I love a good chardonnay when we are together--right, Mom?)

So, yesterday, my husband and I set about one of our weekend walks where we just walk until we can't walk any more and see where the path might lead us. We stopped after about an hour or so to get a sandwich at a very crowded lunch spot down by Ocean Beach. There was only one seat available in the place and it happened to be at the bar next to a group of three men who were sharing a few pitchers of beer. PITCHERS. My mother would not have approved. My husband and I shared one stool and one sandwich (with the free tap water so generously provides) and continued on our merry way. On the walk, we passed a number of dive bars. It was a beautiful day out: sunny with breeze and really glorious, the kind of day that is not a regular occurrence in SF. All of these nasty, divey bars were filled with people drinking in the dark. Hmmm.

Recently, I have also had the pleasure of going out for drinks with some individuals I am just getting to know to notice that they might throw back three or four beers and then get in a car. Say what? I am on my back after three drinks. I did mention to these people that my mother thought drinking alone made people alcoholics. They practically laughed me out of the place.

Yes, I am highly neurotic. That is a fact. Anyone who knows me will confirm this without hesitation. But, I had this massive epiphany yesterday. No, I am not and probably never could be an alcoholic. I am not sure if my mother did me a service or a disservice with her "advice" (and, of course, I listened without the consideration that she might be a little on the conservative side), but thanks a lot mom for making me more of a freak than I already am.

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