June BBQs and why I’d ban alcohol

Drinking alcohol is one of the most selfish activities of the modern day. For something that is bigged-up as an aid to social interaction and networking, alcohol can be the most anti-social of substances out. Why is it STILL considered such a social aid when bodies and relationships can be totally destroyed by it?

We had a party recently for my husband’s ‘special birthday’ with around 30 family members and friends. A great deal of time and effort had been invested into making the house clean and organised for their comfort. Money had been outlayed on food and drink. A gazebo had been erected in case we had rain, and chairs were arranged underneath it with the view of the manicured to perfection garden, in the event of sunshine.

Invites had gone out months earlier and details of parking arrangements, plus camping arrangements for anyone who wanted to stay overnight in the garden were spelled out.

Of course we expected those who could, would have a tipple too many; we’ve done this kind of thing before. But what I wasn’t expecting was having two (unrelated) friends involuntarily relieving the content of their stomachs whilst still seated in their chairs. The offence happened in the gazebo within a few minutes of each other yet within close proximity to food left on the table; and other guests.

What was even more unsettling was the way my step-daughter cleaned it up like it was something she did every day. I didn’t see the offence as it was happening and bless her I appreciated someone organising the sweep-up operation but I arrived back from circulating to see my kitchen broom with bits of sick on it being washed out in my sink. It turned my stomach.

One of the guests decided he’d had enough and took himself to bed. Too out of it to put his tent up, he lay down on our garage floor in his sleeping bag having switched the light off. The drinks were also in the garage. Hence then we had to do a raid to retrieve some drink for other guests so they didn’t have to keep putting the light on and disturbing our first guest in a comatose state.

The first of the vomitees (or is it vomitors?) decided he’d also sleep in the garage but wasn’t capable of anything, not even opening his eyelids it would seem. My husband and I ended up trying to get a 6ft 3inch man into his sleeping bag because we didn’t want him to die from hypothermia on the concrete floor. That was enough to nearly put our backs out. It was also wasted effort because during the night the first garage sleeper woke up wearing the other’s sleeping bag, and some more of the other’s stomach contents…

The second of the sick duo was a young woman who’d recently lost a grand-parent. She’d drunk aggressively and was all over the place early on (in front of children I hasten to mention). So her boyfriend had to look after her. He was embarrassed as he kept an eye on her but now because of her selfishness he was on care-duty and couldn’t enjoy himself.

And this is my point. Not only does drinking potentially put yourself in danger, it transfers responsibility to other people. That is unacceptably selfish. The whole gesture of vomiting on someone else’s property through self-inflicted excess is the biggest insult to the host and shows a total lack of respect for yourself. The ultimate in self-abuse and selfishness all in one sick-bag.

The next morning there were a couple of muffled apologies. A brave person even asked if I would put the vomit-soiled clothing through my washing machine! Not likely my face said, as I pointed out there was still a patch of vomit to clear up from the night before. And they shuffled off not wanting to revisit what actually took place. The offending pieces of regurgitated food disappeared shortly afterwards so I’m assuming they did at least remove the remaining evidence from the scene of the crime.

Many of the guests who had stayed overnight then helped the big tidy-up operation and cleared the garden of debris, before taking down the gazebo. Interestingly one of the guests had brought a breathalyser which he was sharing around and was able to tell the drunk lady she was 5 times over the limit to drive as indeed was he. Quite a few guests delayed their departure having taken part in the test. Meanwhile I was itching to get the disinfectant out on internal floors visualising all the shoes carrying gross unmentionables from the garden into my home.

I’m done with parties. Or if I do throw another one, as a social experiment I’m going to do a TT party – Teetotallers Party – and there are some who won’t get an invite. Surely as a race we are sufficiently intelligent and capable of amusing ourselves and each other without being drugged by alcohol? Or are we?  Apparently not. Many are a slave to it and we justify it in all manner of excuses and denial strategies.

I was so grateful to see the heavens open later in the day and have the feeling of cleanliness return as the sins of the night were washed away and I could enjoy my garden again. I’ve also been out and bought a new kitchen broom…

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