Monday, October 18, 2010

For All Ages - Friendly Reminders For Alcohol Consumption

Please bear with me. I'm about to sound like your mother.

A few weeks ago, just days prior to Homecoming, I sat at the Common Ground with a friend, chatting over a cup of tea. At my mention of Homecoming, however, he paused and started to shake his head. He attended Queen's for his undergraduate degree, and he had more than a few stories to share.

He then told me this story. Two years ago, Homecoming festivities were in full swing here at Queen's. Prior to the obligatory Saturday night party on Aberdeen Street, however, he witnessed something he wished he hadn't. He (and his housemates) had stepped out of their house for a few minutes to grab some milk from the convenience store. When they arrived back to their house, they discovered a young girl passed out on their couch. Confused, they asked each other if any of them knew her. None of them did. They tried to wake her, but she didn't stir. Rummaging through her purse, my friend checked her ID and discovered that the girl was 16 years old, from Toronto, and definitely wasn't a Queen's student. Panicked, the boys called the police and an ambulance also arrived. Apparently, piecing the story together once the girl woke up, they concluded that this girl's friends had dumped her at my friend's house, a random house, before moving on the next party they were attending. She was completely drunk, to the point where she couldn't stand up. Shaking his head, my friend concluded his story by adding, "Her friends dumped her in a strange house where was a bunch of guys lived. It was a good thing they left her at my house, at a safe house with myself and my friends. Imagine what would have happened if it wasn't so safe? What would have happened to her?"

That story seriously disturbed me. Really, she was only 16 years old. I don't know what I'm most disturbed about: a young girl getting absolutely trashed by herself or that her friends dumped her at a random house. Some friends, right?

In addition to that story, I have one of my own: walking down Princess Street a few weeks ago, a friend and I watched in horrified fascination as a girl, most likely in her first or second year, walked alone down Princess Street in drunken stupor, asking us where the closest bus stop to downtown Vancouver was. Friend, you're nowhere near Vancouver. Just letting you know. She then attempted to cross the street at a red light and, thanks to the saving grace of slow elderly driving, was saved from getting hit by an oncoming vehicle.

When we choose to engage with alcohol, we should remember that a sense of responsibility has to be exercised. A sense of responsibility over our well-being, and our safety. Hitting the legal drinking age does not mean we leave our brains at the door. We need to act responsibly, exercising caution for our own benefit. And if we choose (which I hope we do), we should also look out for our friends who choose to drunkenly place themselves in undesirable situations.

Serious engagement with alcohol should not be taken lightly. Unfortunately, it often is. I'm not advocating complete abstinence away from alcoholic consumption. Rather, let this blog post serve as a friendly reminder about our own well-being when we choose to go out. Safety matters, friends. And unfortunately, we don't realize how much it does matter until the dangers of a situation actually present itself. Let's all look out for ourselves and for each other, yeah?

/End motherly blog post.

"Most of us can read the writing on the wall; we just assume it's addressed to someone else."
- Ivern Ball