On Adulthood and Alcohol
In the past week, it’s been my birthday, I got really sick, and a Fast & Furious star died in an ironic car crash. I’ve been getting good and existential over the last few days, helped by the slight move closer to death and lots of rum consumed over the last few days. With my teenage life-less as a member of the human race than as a runner in a weepy, Paula-Radcliffe style half-marathon-entering into it’s last year, some semblance of adulthood is drawing near and I feel this should be acknowledged. There have definetly been some vague steps in this direction over the last year-university, wobbly steps into a writing career, my own flat, becoming weirdly obsessed with hipster American sweets-but one of the main things that defines one’s leap into the Real World is alcohol.
When you start drinking-and my very first drink was a bottle of tooth-achingly sweet pear cider my Dad got me when I was sixteen-there is a certain amount of mystique to it. You think you’re infallible, impossible to inebriate and immune to hangover. The first time I got drunk was with my excellent friend back home over two Jackass films, when I realized I had had far too much to drink after I woke up with both my foot and my hair in a small pile of my own sick on his floor. My head was furious at me, my eyes thick with blergh, and my friend wasn’t impressed that I’d been sick down his Busted Tour T-shirt (sorry Cameron). But there was a kind of righteous, swaggering dignity to that hangover; like bills or unwanted pregnancy, I had a problem that was exclusive to the quasi-adult world. In my ironic t-shirt and crusty hair, I’d permanently joined the world of the grown-ups for a grim, miserable morning.
The first term of university is best glossed over; while I didn’t drink myself into a coma every night, being away from home and forced at fucking gunpoint by everyone in the world to MAKE FRIENDS FOR LIFE because it’s PART OF THE UNIVERSITY EXPERIENCE was simply aided by a generous dollop of social lubricant. It was also around this time that I began to see nothing wrong with indulging in a good movie, a bottle of wine and no humans cluttering up the proceedings because sometimes, people just can’t live up to inebriated fiction.
(On a side note, drinking alone is curiously maligned; I wouldn’t encourage sitting at home weepily downing a bottle of whisky as the night draws in evening after evening, but simply peppering around a bunch of people to make it seem more legitimate is ridiculous. I had a cheeky few glasses of wine over a Heston Blumenthal marathon last week and it was heaven; other people would have just laughed at me for getting weepy when he made the sick kids at that hospital happy).
I realised earlier this evening that I’m a real grown-up/ponce when I made and enjoyed a Fancy Drink (rum, coke and a squeeze of lime. Alright, so my standards are low). I sat with a great friend, gossiped, chatted about real life, American Horror Story and ate junk food as the night wore on-and that’s the best part. The moment at which alcohol becomes, not a quick way to avoid an arse-clenchingly awkward lack of conversation, or a cheap sleeping pill with added hangover, but simply a tasty addition to an already wonderful evening, is when I consider it to be a part of my grown-up life in the real world. I’ll drink to that.