DC and alcohol
One thing I never realized before I came here was the fact that Washington D.C. is in a state of drunken stupor, especially on the weekends.
This town may be conservative (in its DRESS), but it is very liberal when it comes to its alcohol. There is always booze to find in this town, if you know where to go. For example, many of my friends who have been to Capitol Hill for parties have told me all about how there is so much booze that you'd go nuts. My roommate Cecily had $200 worth of fine wine for free at a wine bar last night (I have heard that they're getting more common). Drinking at the Nationals game on Saturday night was very much encouraged, and I have never seen so much beer offered around in all my life. For a cocktail party my mentor is throwing, the invitation read "OPEN BAR! OPEN BAR! OPEN BAR! Now that I got your attention, D.C.-style." And as for Georgetown University itself? There are the local bars, the club scenes, and the fact that I have seen more keggers here than I have seen anywhere in California. Drinking is a staple.
Now, any of my friends who have talked to me have probably heard me talking about my mother's infamous alcoholism lecture ("Your great-grandfather was a drunk, and women are more likely to become alcoholics," etc.). I think the entire city of Washington D.C. should hear this one. Drunkenness is a common state of mind here. Some people haven't even shown up for class because they're too busy getting drunk. I took my ethics midterm (where I helped in pioneering an interesting form of ethical stream-of-consciousness writing style), and I can honestly tell you I haven't seen half of them since I have come here. Some I had, but I didn't recognize them sober.
Alcohol seems to be a thing in youth culture that seems to be encouraged through peer pressure, especially in college. It gives us liberty to act crazy and hook up with random people (not me, of course). Alcohol seems to be an excuse, a draw, a way to get people in the door. It's so interesting here to see how relaxed people are about it, and people who are being rowdy while drunk are kind of passed by as nothing big.
One of the girls I was studying with last night, Elizabeth, was in the same mood as me when it came to alcohol: what is the big deal? When I started drinking, alcohol tasted nasty (still does, although I have come to realize the value of an ice-cold beer on a humid evening), and it gives permission to be stupid, especially in clubs. I don't see the fascination with being drunk, especially when I had a guy staying in our apartment Saturday night who spent half the evening puking.
Mind you, I love to go dancing, I love to mingle and talk, and occasionally a drink is nice to take up. But doing it to extremes seems to be a little bit too much. I see the allure to do it for college students; everyone's doing it, it lets you loosen up and do things that you would never do sober, but then you're dependent on someone to help you around, and make sure nothing happens to you while you're wandering around wasted. You give up your reason and logic to a drink. Now, how brilliant is that, especially when it comes to hooking up with people?
Sometimes, you just have to buckle down and get down to business. Maybe if Washington D.C. sobered up a little bit, things could get done.