LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Every weekend is the same
Every weekend is the same. The whole campus appears in the windows of the houses on the outskirts of the academic buildings, raising red plastic cups to their lips. The deteriorating, crippled houses play host to anywhere between 10 and 100 college students. Well, it’s almost the whole campus. You remain in your dorm room, watching B movies on Netflix. Every weekend is the same.
Thus far, the college life has been downright impossible to adjust to. It’s not like high school, and now you are hours away from the unconditional support of your family. If you’re being completely honest with yourself, you feel utterly lost. College isn’t at all what you expected, hoped, it would be. And now here you are again, another weekend wasted watching Netflix alone in your room.
You tell yourself, “Next weekend will be different, I’ll make sure of it.” So you decide to go to one of the parties in the crippled houses, being put on by one of the clubs you’re in. You walk in the door and are greeted by convincing smiles and drunken shouts. “Hey! It’s…” And you realize that they don’t remember your name. You’ve seen them every Wednesday evening since the first semester, but they still can’t remember your name. But you decide to let it slide this time, because at least you’re out of your room.
You float through the house, trying to be social, but that’s not a skill that comes naturally to you, and so you end up standing against the wall awkwardly, hoping to just go by unnoticed. You begin to wonder why you came out tonight at all. You’re starting to miss the comfort of your lonely little room.
“I noticed you don’t have a drink in your hand, can I get you something?” Shocked that somebody noticed you, even more so that they spoke to you, you don’t say anything right away, but then you release the three fatal words, “No thanks, I don’t drink.”
This shouldn’t be a big deal, right? You are in college and you don’t drink, you should be proud right? Well, this guy certainly doesn’t think so. The look on his face projects that he has been horribly and personally offended by your last statement.
“Oh, well here! Try my drink.” It’s a mix of cheap whiskey, quail and cookie dough-flavored vodka, and pop, or whatever. You laugh awkwardly.
“I don’t drink. Thanks, though.” Again, he is so hurt by these words.
“How about this, I’ll go mix up a <insert alcoholic beverage here> in the kitchen and I’ll be right back.” B movies on Netflix are starting to sound pretty good right about now. He makes his way back to the kitchen, leaving you standing there, debating whether or not you should run for it. You don’t choose quickly enough, though, and he comes back bearing a red cup in each hand.
“It’s a mix of blank, blank, and blank. It’s delicious!” He’s making it awful hard to reject his offer, but you stand your ground.
“You can go ahead and have it, since I’m not going to, thanks.”
All around you can hear slurred words and shouting. People are dancing to the music, bass shaking the walls. People running to and from the bathroom.
Eventually, the guy will give up on his noble quest to cure your sobriety and begin chugging down the drink he made for you — the chosen one that would surely change your mind. He moves on to find someone less “boring,” aka “sober.”
Standing against the wall again, you give yourself a goal time. “I’ll stay for x more minutes before I go home.”
Shortly before you reach your goal time, however, that guy from earlier falls and hits his head on the table on his way down as he passed out. Immediately, you rush over to him. The only other people who saw his fall were laughing in their drunken stupor. You check to make sure that he’s not bleeding, and thankfully he just has a bump on his forehead. You roll him onto his side to make sure that he doesn’t choke on his own vomit.
Then you see someone on the couch starting to retch. You run and grab a trashcan and put it in front of her.
“Can somebody give me a ride home?” you hear someone shout over the music.
“I’m too drunk!” A unanimous response. All except one.
You find the poor, slobbering bloke and tap his arm, “I’m sober and can take you home.”
So you load him into your car (and give him a napkin to wipe away his drool). When you arrive at his house, you help him to his door and tell him to drink some water before he goes to bed. He turns and says, “Hey, I know I see you every week, and I’m sorry that I don’t remember your name — you’re real quiet — but thank you.”
You drive back to your dorm with a sense of accomplishment, and contentment that he made it home safely. And you realize that even though you aren’t into the “party culture,” that you still have a place within it, a role you can play. Furthermore, that in the end, the very people who try to push you to get drunk may be the ones who benefit most from your sobriety.