Alex Stephenson Drinking by Yourself is Underrated

I woke up this morning with a sloppily scrawled note on the ground next to my bed, a note that said, “Drinking by yourself is underrated.” I don’t remember writing the note, but its existence doesn’t shock me. I think this way pretty much every time I drink by myself. 

Last night I met up with a group of people I know at a kegger and partied with them for a couple of hours. But eventually the party grew to the point that fighting my way from the keg to the rest of my friends was too arduous of a task. I would have rather said complimentary things about Nicole Kidman than cross that room. So, I drank by myself, and the following things happened: 

A person I did not know came up to me and demanded I give him three Jagerbombs, despite the fact that I am not a bartender, had none of the necessary ingredients, and wasn’t even standing near a bar. After a shocking amount of arguing about why I could not deliver what he desired, he loudly called me an asshole and walked away while loudly singing along to Hey Ya. 

I was instructed to take a picture of a sexy nurse, a sexy cholo, and somebody dressed as Jack Nicholson in Chinatown. (This was a costume party.) They were incredibly demanding, to the point where I must have taken over fifteen pictures before they were satisfied. 

I somehow managed to get in an argument with a hipster about the merits of Rolling in the Deep; this person could not accept that it is a glorious (albeit overplayed) pop song. Oddly, this person then called me a Twihard and proceded to make fun of Robert Pattinson, which seems like an insane reaction in retrospect. 

Perhaps most confusingly, I spent a good length of time listening to a wasted middle-aged woman monologue about why Major League Baseball never would have allowed the Toronto Blue Jays and the Montreal Expos face off in the World Series in the 1990s. Her reasoning? The mass war between Toronto and Montreal mafias that she was certain would break out if Jeff Fassero ever had to pitch to Joe Carter. This was as fascinating as it was crazy. 

The term ‘drinking by yourself’ generally leads one to think that you’re drinking alone while watching the fourth season of How I Met Your Mother, taking a sip every time Marshall Erikson reaches for his beer. I support that too, and I tend to get more excited about drinking alone than the prospect of drinking with friends. The thing people like about alcohol is that it makes you care less about how people perceive you (unless you drink too much, in which case you start to care way more), which essentially allows you to be yourself. 

This applies to when you’re by yourself as well; you’ll do what you want, when you want, because you know nobody will see you, and you’re too drunk to give a shit about your own self-respect. You’ll maybe decide to pause the stellar Intervention episode to rock out to Under Cover of Darkness, or you’ll lie on your floor and make imaginary snow angels while Barney Stinson performs his brand of fiery magic. This also applies in a situation where you don’t know anybody. I don’t know these people that were blocking the way to my friends, so I didn’t care what we talked about, or arguing for the merits of an Adele record. The only time you can truly learn about yourself is when you’re alone; the only time you can really be surprised by what you learn is when you’re drinking alone. I know my friends’ opinions on these things, and I think I know my own, but I always tend to learn something new about myself when I drink alone. Which is valuable, probably. 

I know this reads like I’m an alcoholic, and by most definitions of alcoholism, I am. But you probably are too, if only because most definitions of alcoholics are comically conservative. I never had any alcohol before I was 21, which is about seven years later than everybody else I know. In that time, I learned plenty about my friends by hanging out with them while they drank from the keg, and I never forgot any of it. Now I’m just learning about myself, which might mean I’m selfish, but at least alcohol allowed me to realize that. The alcohol might ensure I don’t always remember what I’m learning, but hopefully I take good enough notes that I can at least piece it all together in the morning.

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