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Friday, October 2, 2009

Writing on a Friday

So here it is, 4:46 p.m. on a Friday afternoon. I'm a college student. Every time I leave my room, I hear people talking about the parties they're planning on going to. I even looked over the shoulder of the girl standing ahead of me in line at the coffeeshop, hoping to learn something interesting. I found out that Travis told her about a four-kegger somewhere tonight. Considering it's raining, 55 degrees and yucky out, I hope Travis and his four kegs are inside somewhere.

I'm currently writing my eighth article of the day, with no plans to stop or even leave my building again for perhaps as much as 24 hours (although I'll definitely need to get milk and coffee asap).

I don't understand the culture of drinking that pervades college life. I have a friend who parties pretty regularly upwards of 4 days a week -parties, in this case, means getting absolutely trashed. He's not 21. He and his roommate (who is also not 21) built a bar in their room (I am not kidding). He's reached a point where he can drink about 10 beers and not feel them. He's started drinking as early as 10 in the morning.

That looks, to me, a LOT like alcoholism. His excuse? "I'm not an alcoholic, I'm a college student."
And I wonder how that makes it okay.

Drinking to excess isn't something that I imagine being fun, or cool, or exciting. It's certainly not healthy or safe. Wandering around a college campus at night while intoxicated, especially alone, and especially for women, is sometimes very dangerous, as the recent spate of sexual assault reports on campus have proven. I've dealt with enough drinking/drunk/hungover people my age to realize that it's not as cool or as fun as the media or other people make it out to be.

I've been made fun of more than once for staying in on weekends (this is not me boo-hooing, by the way. I can't remember the last time I actually was upset by someone who made fun of me). Mostly, I think it stems from people not understanding what I do all alone up here in my room (and wouldn't they like to know! That sounds so much dirtier when you don't know I'm about to tell you exactly what I do).

I write. I'm making money. I'm making good money, as it happens. Not enough to buy me a Porsche anytime soon, but enough to keep me fed, caffeinated and in school. I'm working. This, people, is my job. And I enjoy it. I would rather stay in my room all weekend getting eyestrain from staring at a computer screen and writing so much that I can't identify a red pepper (I kept calling it a banana). That, to me, sounds like SO much more fun than getting shitfaced, making a fool of myself and not remembering any of it the next day.

Writing is my passion, though. It's my excuse for being anti-social, and more often than not, also my excuse for being social. I don't know how people who don't write occupy their time in many cases, but that's just because it's such a huge part of my life. I guess I should modify that -I don't know what people who don't have a passion do with their days. Maybe that's why kids go out and drink on weekends, because they don't know what else to do with themselves or where to look.

Personally, I think that's sad.
Right now, I am surrounded by people who are preparing to go kill off brain cells, injure themselves and spend the next 2-3 days feeling like they're going to die. In some cases, this is because they just don't know what else to do. How depressing is that?

Granted, I go to the #4 (or are we #5?) party school in the nation, so the whole culture of drinking is much bigger here.

That doesn't mean it's excusable or should be encouraged.

I've had people try to convince me to drink by saying, "All writers are drunks or druggies. You have to give in sometime." My only response to that is to shake my head and sigh, and think of Stephen King (one of my favorite quotes of his deals with treating alcohol like a road to creativity -to him, that's just an excuse to be a drunk. I agree). I've got better things to do with my time.

I wish other people did, too.

Some books on this and similar subjects:
Dying to Drink
College Drinking

I know I presented a brief (well, actually it's pretty long. Mostly it's rambling) and unspecific look at college drinking, but it's my blog. I'll do whatever I want. Seriously, though; this is just a glimpse at some of the things I've seen and experienced as someone who is within the college culture and yet looking at it from a pair of eyes that isn't seeing things quite the same way a lot of other 20somethings are.
What do you think of all of this? Am I too hard on other people?


  1. They make fun of you for not drinking, you make fun of them for drinking and being hungover, seems like a fair trade, but perhaps a waste of time. ;) Just be you, as you always are. Ya make me proud kiddo!