About a year ago, I concluded that I’ve become a social drinker. Not regarding alcohol per say, but in regards to consumption of liquids in the company of others. I’m pretty sure this habit developed partly due to the collective awkwardness of my early years. I’d grab a beverage and join a conversation; only I hardly talked in these conversations. I’d listen and observe, sipping away at my cup. Within a matter of minutes, the liquid would disappear and I’d feel the need to be doing something while listening to these conversations, so back to the drinking hole I’d go.
Now, it should be noted that these conversations were not particularly interesting or stimulating. I was mostly surrounded by young adolescent teenagers. Still, I felt the urge to interact with my classmates somewhere else besides the school. Unfortunately, I was bored out of my mind and eventually settled on becoming a recluse for the better part of my freshman year.
The root of the social drinker had been rooted in me though. And while the consumption went down during the recluse stage of my life, I still nursed the habit, whether it was at a holiday party or some family gathering.
I also believe that this habit was heavily influenced by my parents. Up to this day, they severely monitor the various liquids I consume, constantly rationing. So, naturally, if they weren’t with me, I was entitled to as many drinks the host would give me. This might seem a bit disrespectful or even distasteful. I completely agree, but it’s just what has become of my parents considerations.
Much to my own relief, I finally blossomed in the social aspect of my life. I actually started going out on Friday nights and, much to my astonishment, fulfilling conversations were had. People really liked me. Interesting and remarkable friends were gained. I had epiphanies of all sorts. But the cup stayed in my hand and it’s staying there until I die.
The main concern I have is what will happen I turn twenty-one. I’ll be free to have whatever beverage I like at whatever time I like. But, I’ll burn that bridge when it gets here.
Joel Samson Berntsen (Steve Earle-Billy and Bonnie)