I have a pretty good relationship with alcohol, I’m proud to say.
There have been times in my life where I have indulged too often, too much, and at inappropriate times -- either in times of celebration or sorrow. Those times are always short-lived, as my Adult ADHD seems to protect me from wanting to do anything too many times in a row.
After a short while, I get bored of drinking, and find something else to be obsessed with.This is really the case with everything in my life, and can sometimes be an issue (Read more about this in my upcoming memoir: Why I’ll Probably Never Get Married) (Not a real memoir.)
In the case of substance use, though, my short attention span serves as a nice little barrier against developing any sort of habitual behavior. It also ensures that I always have something fun and new and exciting happening in my life!
This study by Shadow Public Health Minister, Diane Abott (I thought her title was “Shadow Puppet Health Minister” when I first read this, which was a delightful coming misunderstanding) seems a bit inflammatory, in its claim that there is a silent, middle-class epidemic going on in the world of professional women.
At first, it is sort of an alarming claim, until you read that she defines “epidemic” as a bottle of wine a week. While a bottle of wine a week seems completely reasonable to me, and not just because wine, unlike vodka, goes bad if you let it sit for too long, I get that some of us are more frugal with the booze. Respect.
Her point, though, that that women are drinking more to relieve stress, socialize, network, etc. is pretty spot-on, except it isn’t specific to professional women. She just knows a lot of professional women.
I am talking about the very large group of people who are not alcoholics, but are drinking by default, because they are too lazy to think of something else to do. It’s easy to go to a bar, where all you are required to do is show up and buy drinks, sit still, and eventually people will start laughing and maybe you will even get laid. All from sitting!
Sometimes I go to a bar because it is what everyone else is doing, and I don’t want to go at all. I sort of hate bars, unless they have at least one of these things: free drinks, free chicken wings, outside seating, karaoke, or very old friendly men. I’ve never been to a bar that has all of those things, because that is called “Heaven,” and I am still alive.
The reason why I steer away from drinking is that I get scared that I’ll become boring. I get scared of that a lot. That I’ll wake up one morning all bloated and lazy, and forget that I used to have hobbies. I’ll be somehow instantly married to a banker, and have moved to a suburb of the NJ Coastline, but I’ll never actually go to the beach. I’ll go to HomeGoods and DSW on beautiful sunny days, and complain about humidity a lot, and I’ll buy people NOW! That’s What I Call Music! Compilation CDs for their birthday from Costco.
I’m scared that one day I’ll like cruises.
During the year that I lived in Vermont, I could argue that there was “nothing else to do” on a freezing cold, February night, and that was why I ended up at the bar. My town had two late-night establishments, total, and nothing else in a 15-mile radius was open past 10 pm. Nothing. If you wanted to be outside of your apartment, you went to the bar or the gas station.
Now that I’m back in Brooklyn I have absolutely no excuse to ever be bored, and I have reunited with dozens of the most amazing, talented, hilarious friends in the world. So why do we still end up sitting on stools drinking our paychecks, sometimes?
No one I know is boring! Why are we doing boring things?! Sometimes it’s just a matter of being the one willing to suggest something new. I’m good at finding weird adventures to drag people on, and also have little to no shame about the strange things I am interested in, even if no one else cares.
Like Dead Horse Bay, the Brooklyn waterfront named because it was at one time surrounded by “horse processing plants,” and horse bones would regularly wash up on shore. After that repulsive stitch in time, it was a landfill, until it was capped in the 1930s. In the 50’s it overflowed, and vintage garbage is still flowing onto the shores every day. I had to bring an accountability partner with me, to keep me from trying to bring home too much pretty garbage.
Finding weirdo stuff to do is easy, and a lot of times it is also free. You just sort of have to be willing to be rejected, if your idea of a good time doesn’t line up with anyone elses’.
I sent out a text message the other day about having free tickets to a Chamber Orchestra concert at Carnegie Hall, and was concerned that too many people would want to go, and I would have to pick someone, which would be mean. SURPRISE, I couldn’t give that ticket away with an accompanying HJ. (Offer expired.)
It’s summer dammit, I demand an end to this nonsense! I hate sitting! Here’s a manic list of things that you can do this summer that are awesome and don’t involve barstools, though you could drink WHILE doing them, should you choose:
Roadtrips! Flea Markets! Join a kickball team! Find a river to swim in! Start a band! Have a clothing swap! Sit around in your living room in the AC and watch every episode of "Girls" while perfecting liquid eyeliner! (What I did tonight, maybe.) Answer a craigslist ad! Have a yard sale! Go to other people’s yard sales! Write a letter to someone and send it in the REAL MAIL! Learn how to surf! Take a class in something fun with your friends! Do Yoga! Make something and sell it! Watch summer blockbusters! Go duckpin bowling! Go to museums! Ride your bicycle all over every inch of your town until the sun is setting and then eat a gyro! Get a best friend tattoo! Record a podcast! LISTEN TO ROBYN EVERYWHERE YOU GO!
Alright, I’m getting too excited. Add to my list in the comments below -- what are you doing this summer, besides drinking?