When you live in Wisconsin and you don't drink...you have a lot of explaining to do.
Random person: Do you want a drink?
Me: Oh, thanks! I'll have a soda (or a juice, or a water, or a virgin one of those...)
Random person: Don't you drink?
Me: No, no alcohol for me.
Random person: You don't drink?
Me: (laughing [nervously, or proudly, depending on the situation]) No. I don't drink
Random person: at ALL?
Me: at all.
Random person: WHY?
Now here, depending on where I am and with whom I'm talking, I can go one of two ways. I can give a brief answer, like that I'm the designated driver. Or I can elaborate. I never mind elaborating, just sometimes it feels like too much to tell another person.
But the truth is this: I have never had a drink of alcohol in my life. My mom always says, alcoholism does not run in our family, it gallops. And when I was twelve and relatives started offering (or pushing) drinks to me, I made a vow. My vow was this: I will never ever drink alcohol.
I made it through the peer pressure laden teen years when all the kids in my neighborhood were sneaking sips of booze from their parents' stash. I made it through college in Whitewater where the only thing there to do for fun was go to house parties. I made it through my early twenties the duration of which, like all my friends, I spent the majority in a bar.
I walked into those bars on a nightly basis and just like any regular, the bar tender would slide a Shirley Temple across the bar to me upon my arrival. Sometimes, just for fun, at parties, I drank a bottle of Sprecher Root Beer in a paper bag. And whenever possible, I put my juices or sodas in a fancy tumbler or a wine glass so at least I'd look like everyone else and could avoid the above line of questioning.
Anyway, due to my behavior, I often was accused of being drunk, so I guess it didn't much matter. I'd walk away from a crowd after some sort of antic or story or loud insertion of my opinion or idea and here someone say
"God, she is SO wasted."
I guess being surrounded by people who had lowered inhibitions, I felt like I could lower mine on my own.
And now, I really don't mind answering that question. And it feels to me like an accomplishment anyway. In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, of all places.
And I still drink my fancy drinks in fancy glasses.
Addendum: My MOM is the one who says that about alcoholism galloping in our family. I have fixed it above. She called me today to let me know that I was incorrect!