I’m beginning to drink like an Old Person. Or at least, an Older person. I discovered this yesterday, on my way home from my friend’s bachelorette. Well, not exactly on my way home, maybe. But I’m pretty positive that the realization must have dawned at some point around then, and I just didn’t notice until today on account of being shamelessly shitfaced. I believe that drinking always makes you wiser, temporarily. It’s a questionable kind of wisdom, I know. The kind that makes you decide it’s okay to wash your face in the toilet or do 2 more shots and so on. But you know what I mean.
Note: Before I go on, I’d like to pause to tell you that I’m a terribly lightweight drinker. Always have been. And when I say things like “my capacity has improved” it still usually means I’m drinking really little.
I’m going to compare how I typically drink now to how I used to drink while I was in college to explain the Old Person Drunk theory.
When I Was Young
- Drinking could happen any day of the week. Usually in the afternoon after college in shady bars full of other college students and jaded middle aged men.
- Drinking was limited to the cheapest girl-friendly bars and the cheapest brands. Old Monk. DSP Black. Blue Riband Duet. This one really sweet and disgusting “wine” that we once bought for 150 bucks. Captain Morgan? What’s that?
- The goal was usually to Get Drunk *hangs head* Because, you know, it’s fun. And conversations are different when you’re not all there. And YOLO. Ugh.
- There was no real game plan and no control. You go somewhere and start drinking and eat peanuts and nobody knows if you’ll leave with a buzz in 2 hours or be throwing up in somebody’s house the next morning. You don’t tell yourself “Two Drinks Only” before you start. You don’t feel guilty when you’re on drink #5. You don’t drink water after you’re done posioning your system with all that cheap liquor. Should you be drinking water? Why? Who says so? Why?
- You throw up too often. There are too many gaps in your memories from all of the times that you were truly, disgustingly drunk. You spent too many Day Afters (the weird grammar is intentional) battling feelings of guilt and shame and self-loathing caused by alcohol induced stupidity.
- You take a train home after everything is done. It’s hot and crowded and you have a second class pass sometimes and you feel sick and you’re worried you’ll throw up and then never be able to take this train again because then they will recognize you and you will be The Girl Who Threw Up and so on.
But you will Take. A. Train.
Yesterday (and other recent episodes)
- Drinking happens on Fridays and Saturdays. On special occasions, Sunday is also allowed. And Thursday if it’s an easy week or a particularly annoying week. But generally, you drink the day before a holiday. Bachelorettes can happen on Monday only if Tuesday happens to be a public holiday. Also, you always start drinking late evening or night. Because hell. You’ve got a job and stuff.
- Drinking is an expensive affair involving expensive alcohol in fancy places. The bill yesterday was appalling. The bill is almost always appalling. But DSP Black? Ugh. I’ll have another Cosmo, please.
- The goal is to Not Get Drunk. The goal is to drink just enough to loosen up and have some fun and be able to dance in public or sing loudly. And then no more. Just stop. Just figure out where that fine line between fun and fucked up lies and spend the whole night trying your hardest not to toe it.
- There is Always A Plan. I always plan to stop at two drinks. Three drinks, max. Three identical drinks. No mixing, because if I wanted to live on the edge I’d have been jumping off a cliff with a parachute or something. (I don’t know if people actually do that. Do they?) I try to stay decently sober. I call for cabs in advance, or pack clothes to sleep over at somebody’s place. I try to remember to Drink A Ton Of Water. Once before I sleep and again every time I wake up.
I don’t always do a good job of it. Yesterday we had 5 different types of alcohol and just too much of everything in general. That always gets messy. But because my goal was to Not Get Drunk I managed to function like a proper adult anyway. I helped out with the casualties. We remembered to carry a plastic bag with us. We got us all safely home. And then, at 3.30 am., after several hours of drinking (on an empty stomach, I forgot to plan for eating) I drank an entire bottle of water, went over all my belongings twice, washed out my lunch box because it’s gross to leave it overnight, and also apparently googled “preventing hangovers”. Because there’s nothing worse than losing a day to hangover. Specially since you’re growing older and have fewer days left, overall.
- I did not throw up yesterday, miraculously. Or today. I didn’t even suffer much, except for some jittery-ness and a slight headache. So while goal #1 – to Not Get Drunk – was a total fail, I managed to meet goal #2 – to Not Get Hungover. And that’s quite commendable too.
- Never. Take. A. Train. It’s stupid. Specially when you’ve been drinking. Bitch please.
So there you go. I drink like an Old Person now. I think the biggest change lies in the fact that these days, post-drinking regret hits immediately, and has nothing to do with the stupid things I’ve done while drinking. I don’t often do stupid things anymore. (I hope this doesn’t jinx anything.) The regret is there because why the hell would I want to drink so much, and because waking up will be a nightmare, and because my whole system feels polluted and my routine and nighttime rituals have all gone out of whack. These days, when the booze begins to wear off, I kick myself for being drunk and having ruined the whole next day for my stomach and my head and my nerves and my pulse when I could have been home, sitting in bed in clean pajamas, watching a sitcom or reading something and drinking camomile tea. And lights out before 12. And waking up feeling not-trashy and well balanced and my-body-is-a-temple-y.
Binge drinking has begun to feel like a chore sometimes.
Crap. I am old. But then I think I’ve always been a little old on the inside. Might as well embrace it.
Next time, I’ll even try to have dinner when I drink. And a glass of water after every drink.