My resolution for this week (and only this week) has been to de-tox… Holidays were a blur of celebration and intoxication, nights spent on couches and overly long drinking sessions. I’m not a professional partier, I may as well state that now – I suppose it’s all relative, but let’s face it, I’m a lightweight. It’s okay with me. I don’t have the kind of dedication needed to become a serious party girl, however much the idea might appeal to me. My liver cannot hold a candle to the livers of truly melancholic, dissolute artists. Although I enjoy scotch, I will never settle into my worn leather armchair with a cigar and a bottle of glenlivet, and spend the night emptying it while staring into the dregs of a dying fire.
I have drunk absinthe, but I only wish I didn’t give a shit.
I didn’t drink until I was 18. Again, it’s a relative thing – to some, it’s shockingly old. Your second year of college?? Are you kidding me?! WERE YOU LIVING IN A BOX?? To others, it’s young. You weren’t even legal?! Not even in (BC) Canada?!! Admittedly, I get far more of the former response, but the latter has cropped up a number of times. I was adamant that I didn’t want to drink until I actually wanted to drink. And until the beginning of my sophomore year, I never did. I went to a lot of parties sober – an activity I still enjoy – and had a good time. I didn’t feel the need for a few drinks before talking to people. I wasn’t overly impressed by the antics of my drunken friends. So I didn’t drink. Not a moral stance, not a fear of the unknown, not an irritating judgment on those around me. I just didn’t want to.
Early in sophomore year, I decided to try getting drunk. As with many things in my life, I just decided – ok, it’s time. Do it.
I was at a friend’s birthday party. She had been a residential advisor when I was a freshman, and had since graduated and moved to a little apartment in Harlem. She’d invited a bunch of her still-at-Princeton friends up to the city for her birthday, and I went with my friend IP. There, in a cramped living room on The Bad Side of Town, I quietly made friends with a box of Franzia sangria. I remember sitting on the carpet near the television, eavesdropping on countless gossipy conversations, giggling to myself and enjoying my moment fully. Hours later, I found myself cavorting down the street towards the last train of the night, ranting and raving about the gentrification of Harlem with an equally-drunk friend. The still-sober IP glanced nervously from side to side, certain that we were going to be mugged. In the subway station there were a bunch of men doing construction work on one of the platforms, and their bright yellow uniforms seemed like the most delightful costumes to me. I whipped out my camera (film, an old silver Canon) and started taking pictures of everything around me, laughing madly while IP tried desperately to get me to simmer down.
We made the train without incident, and clack-clacked back to Princeton in the autumn cool, bouncing on the plastic covered New Jersey Transit train seats.
I never looked back.