It’s summer and everyone is having fun. This is great, but summer leads to parties. Parties lead to drunk people. And drunk people are generally kind of annoying.
Drunk people are annoying because they’re loud. The louder they get the more they use drunken words, which all seem to start with the letter F.
Most annoying of the annoying drunk people are those who congregate in the street at 2 am while they wait for their taxi. They mill around the neighbourhood with their roaring and their swearing and their cackling and their accidental smashing of bottles until finally the taxi arrives a whole annoying hour later.
I should note here that I have nothing against alcohol or the F word. I just don’t want to listen to it in the middle of the night.
When it comes to noisy summer parties I’m a classic NIMBY: not in my back yard. Please pollute someone else’s personal space with the sound of your merrymaking.
So where to put the drunk people? A Tauranga camp ground decided to host as many under 25 drinkers as they could over new year’s eve, which raised a few eyebrows. Not being a policeman or an A&E nurse, I’m unqualified to make any judgement about the social risks of packing drunken youths into one spot.
As a NIMBY resident though, I say the further away from me, the better.
I realise I’m talking about drunk people as though I’ve never been one of them, as though they are a kind of zombie sub-species that need to be quarantined.
That would be unfair. Some of my best friends are drunk people.
I was 32 the first time I got properly drunk. My friends couldn’t believe it and neither could I. We were at a pub where pints kept appearing in front of me. Every time I looked down at my glass it was empty and apparently I was the person who had emptied it.
Suddenly, without being able to pinpoint when anything had actually changed, I observed that I was engulfed in a golden wave of euphoria that was completely foreign to my hitherto untampered-with brain.
Time began to pulse in peculiar ways. Conversations warped and tumbled around me. I was invincible and I was the funniest person I’d ever met.
So, this was drunkenness. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t feel just a little bit glorious.
That’s not an advert for getting drunk, by the way, because it’s never worth it.
Nursing my first ever hangover, I was prodded awake by a particularly evil friend who whispered the words “warm fish milkshake” in my ear. I think I spent the next few hours in the bathroom.
As fun as drinking might be on the night, the economics don’t add up. Hangovers are a waste of valuable time and alcohol eventually catches up with your waistline.
After experimenting with some reclaimed youth I’m back to preferring a sensible tipple. I’m far happier to wake clear headed in the morning and go for a run. The alternative is to be loud, then hung over, and later, chubby.
There are occasions when it is fun to be swept along with the raucous ride, so I do feel like a bit of a grinch begrudging other people their parties.
I guess this reflects a tension we might wrestle with when stewing grumpily over other people’s noisy festivities. We’d prefer them to shut up but we know that once upon a time we might have been part of something that kept someone else awake.
It seems the only time drunk people are not annoying is when you’re getting drunk alongside them. Unfortunately that’s not a particularly sustainable solution. Nor a sensible one for the community.
First published in Bay of Plenty Times 10 January 2014. Reproduced with permission.