My house is located near a main road. The road leads directly to the town center where most of the local shops and pubs are situated. I can usually hear the drunken youth stumbling home after a night of challenging their liver. Something about 03:00 really helps the sound travel. It bothers me, not because it wakes me up, but because it sounds intimidating.
Last night, I went out for a few drinks with my friends. Now, neither myself or my friends really drink. It used to be because we’re all so very poor and think drunk people are somewhat annoying. But last night we made an exception and all my friends proceeded to get well and truly wasted. I watched as the people who I’ve come to perceive as emphatic, kind and considerate turned into general assholes. In saying that, they didn’t necessarily harm anyone but they did seem less respectful. They started to prioritise their own entertainment over, well, everything else.
It seemed that they couldn’t make a joke without mocking one another. It’s possible that I’m just being overly sensitive but we’re already a pretty sarcastic group and have no problem laughing at one another. But this time, I got the sense that there was a definite division between laughing with and laughing at. I watched as they made jokes at people’s expense, pointing out their flaws and using it to fuel their conversation. I watched as they threw stolen glasses onto an empty car park and as they laughed manically at their own behaviour. Their odd behaviour seemed to escalate quickly because they were all trying to outdo one another.
I’ve seen drunk people before, I’ve been there. In fact, I was fairly wasted last night too. But it really bothered me how quickly my friend’s attitudes and actions changed. It was as if they used the fact that they drank copious amounts of alcohol to excuse their behaviour. As if it was okay to yell and scream as they walked through residential estates at 04:00 because they’d had a few drinks and that’s what drunk people do. In fact, one of them actually pointed out that it was not only expected but accepted. Which it is, he had a point. But people tend to accept a lot of stupid shit, it doesn’t make shit okay. By that logic, littering is okay because you expect people to litter and accept that they do. Yet, it doesn’t make me want to litter and I still get annoyed when people do.
Funnily enough, we’re usually those people who look down on that sort of behaviour. It’s so fucking easy to be a respectable human being in the area which we live. There’s no real clash between political, ethical or religious beliefs so there’s very little to fuel a mob mentality. There’s no us against them, so to speak, there are just people. Most of the time, anyway. So why act in a way which disrupts others, when we can have just as much fun by acting sensibly. We’ve done it before, countless times, so it can be done.
What I saw last night bothers me because I really care about my friends. I’ve worked really hard to surround myself with genuine, good people. I’ve become really conscious of how I treat others and I try to have good healthy relationships built on mutual respect and trust. But last night, I didn’t recognise my friends. They reminded me a lot of who I used to be before I gave myself a kick up the arse.
I think alcohol does the same thing to a lot of people. It’s a numbing sort of a drug. It dulls your awareness and diminishes your ability to truly empathise with others. And the worst part is, your mind and senses are so blurred that you can’t even recognise your mistakes the next day. You remember laughing and that’s it. You’re oblivious to what actually happened and so that makes it all the harder for you to take responsibility for your actions.
So to conclude, we decided to go get wasted and waste the night we did.