Thursday, May 17, 2012

I can still have fancy drinks

When you live in Wisconsin and you don't 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!

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