There is something wrong in a society which demands that you explain why you don’t drink alcohol. This is the case in Australia, unfortunately.
It has been the case ever since we came to Australia in 1951. If you didn’t drink then you had better explain yourself. Are you ill, or are you an alcoholic, perhaps? Do you follow some strange religion which forbids you from touching a drop?
You were made to feel uncomfortable and unsociable if you said, “I don’t drink.”
Every occasion was accompanied by drinking alcohol. In fact, if you weren’t allowed to drink then you wouldn’t be able to enjoy watching sport or weddings or graduations or births or even wakes. Shades of Ireland really.
It was and still is the Aussie way of life. Friday night is for “getting pissed” as it is called and a hangover is proof that you had a good time, even if you hardly remember it yourself.
What has struck me since arriving in Melbourne is the number of liquor outlets in every suburb here. There are people drinking in the morning by themselves in many coffee lounges. The solitary drinkers ore often lonely women of a certain age.
What exacerbates the problem is that many of these people are driving after they drink. And to make matters worse, we have a big drug problem in Melbourne. It is cause for concern when you don’t know who is driving in front of you. We have been advised not to look at drivers if we drive alongside them on the road. Who knows what they are on?
The drivers here are very aggressive, competitive and rather frightening. They are obsessed with playing with their phones as they drive and even women have been caught under the influence when they try to park outside a school to pick up their children.
I did comment once in a previous blog that the most polite drivers I have ever encountered are Texans.
I really cannot understand why Melbourne is supposed to be “the most livable city in the world”. For druggies and alcoholics, maybe…