Let me start this by pointing out that I do, indeed, enjoy a good drink. I love a dirty martini, I love a tequila shot, and I love all those fruity cocktails that make you feel like an extra on Sex and the City who is made entirely of disposable income and conspicuous consumption. I get drunk with the best of them. And I am more than aware of the egregious shittiness of people who get all pompous and disdainful when everyone is having a drink and a nice time by being like “IIIIIIIII don’t need to drink to have fun.” It’s not about judging — we’re all here for a good time. But it’s hard not to notice just how much of our collective socializing revolves around the act of getting drunk.
Often, if you propose engaging in a sober activity, the reflex will be either to dismiss it entirely or to propose to do it — while drinking. Let’s go bowling WHILE DRUNK. Let’s TAKE SHOTS and play Monopoly. How about we go sit by the river AND BRING WINE. And while there’s certainly nothing wrong with using tipsiness as a means to enhance any given activity, it’s a shame that so many things are automatically discounted as “lame” or even “childish” simply because they entail being in a fully coherent frame of mind.
It’s obvious why we love drinking so much. It enables us to be the person we can’t be while sober, to admit the things (and make out with the people) we wouldn’t be brave enough to otherwise. There are so many things that we depend on the courage of a few glasses to enact, and for which we want everyone else to be in a similar mind frame of “anything goes,” to dismiss everything that happens as being more a result of the drink than of real desire. You can get away with so much, and be so many people, when you can easily wave away your activities in the morning. As long as we say “Damn, we were all so crazy last night,” there are no real limits and no real responsibility.
But true friends, true companions, are the kind of people you want to be with (and be honest with) in any frame of mind. You don’t need the alcohol to make the conversations less boring, or the introductions more smooth. There is the joy that stems from the activity you’re engaging in, and the fact that you’re doing it all together. It’s not quite a buzz, but it is a certain kind of high. I won’t be so afterschool special as to refer to it as being “high on life,” but that’s not far from the sentiment I’m trying to convey. The point is, not everything we do should have to be seen through a pair of beer goggles.
I wish more weekends were full of daytime, well-lit and completely coherent outings amongst friends. No one has to be the teetotaler who poo-poos everyone when someone cracks a beer, but there is a decent balance that could be struck between the two. At the end of the day, there are a million and one things we can all find to do together, and it could be argued that the most boring of which would include “sitting in a room and drinking for the purpose of getting drunk.”
Altering your consciousness can be awesome, and there’s no reason we shouldn’t do it. But there are still many other things that we can do amongst friends, and sometimes it’s nice to give our livers and wallets a brief reprieve and think of all the things we could do that don’t involve double shots of whiskey.