Ernest Hemingway, This is Risky.

 

This is risky. There is a chance of misspelling. There is a chance of grammatical errors and most importantly, there is a chance that I will discuss an issue that I cannot readily conclude.

Ernest Hemingway, a brilliant author, once stated ‘Write drunk; Edit sober’.

So, like the true experimentalist that I am, I thought why not give it a go. Therefore, I have been out tonight for a friend’s birthday and had a couple of drinks (Jägerbombs, Sambuca shots, double Vodka’s, you name it…), and now I have returned home I am frantically typing into my laptop praying genius will come out of my hazy state.

Let me tell you about my night.

I saw three people declined from the club for intoxication. I saw people buy shots that could barely stand, and I saw an infinite number of people (myself included) embarrass themselves from over-confidence on the dance floor. We will never learn that regardless of who you are, it is near impossible to look attractive dancing having consumed an unholy amount of alcohol. Apart from Beyoncé, did you see her at the Superbowl?

So if the outcome is public humiliation converged with blistered feet and pneumonia caused by a desperate lack of clothing, why is it that we (generalising the student community) drink until we ‘chunder?’

Well, this is how my all-female household justify it.

  1. In these cold winter months, our favourite accessory to take out is our ‘alcohol-blanket’. This is a make-believe cloak and the product of many alcoholic drinks, that protects us from the evils of the icy wind-chill of winter and keeps us warm and safe whilst wearing it. The theory being that if you can make yourself warm enough to walk home, you can save money on a taxi.
  2. The phrase ‘if you can feel your feet, then you have not drunk enough’ is a common, practically ‘biblical’ commandment for a female student. It is chanted in reference to the completely impractical and painful act of wearing killer heels on a night out. Any girl will know there comes that point in the night when all you need to do is sit down and rub your feet better. Hence, you numb the pain with countless drinks and continue the night as if you are wearing slippers.
  3. Finally, Social pressures. Everybody has that crazy, drunk friend. The one that gets arrested for drunk and disorderly. The one that gets all the attention the morning after because smashing that window last night was SO COOL; or throwing up on the curb outside the club was SO REBELLIOUS; and getting in that strangers car for a free lift home was SO BRAVE. And so, some drink so they can attempt to reach that sort of free-spirited ‘coolness’ that their friends are so impressed by.

It’s not very ‘cool’ though is it? I know somebody that got so drunk they destroyed a couple of cars. Yes, they paid for it, a night in the cells and an amount of money that I dared not ask how much, but do you not think they woke up in the morning with that awful sinking feeling upon remembering what they had done?

Student culture is renown for its over-excitable drinking habits. Fresher’s week is popularised for the crazy memories and alcohol induced friendships. University, for some, is a blur of forgotten nights out. Do not get me wrong, I am not suggesting a drinking ban, in fact this blog is turning pretty hypocritical taking into account the difficultly I just had making it up the stairs. I am just purely pondering or musing into why we attack ourselves with alcohol like this. Is the expensive and potentially dangerous night out worth losing a whole day which you will spend praying to God to make you feel better?

No, logic would suggest it is not. However, should the age of alcoholic consumption be increased like the USA to 21? No, definitely not. If you like it, then drinking, arguably, is a contemporary ‘rite of passage’. Drinking, drinking too much and then learning your limits is a process of maturation; you need to embarrass yourself, you need to be get a little ill and you need to forget some nights to learn to control yourself.

In summary, I may not remember tonight’s events when I wake up tomorrow and I may feel a little unstable and not move for a good couple of hours, but if this happens very sporadically, then why not? As long as you and your friends look out for one another and you are aware and safe in your surroundings, then go and spend your money on 5 shots for £5, go and buy a bottle of champagne in the club and go make memories that you will probably forget. After all, ‘you’re only young once’.

The morning after…

It is 11.25am and I have just stood vertical for the first time this morning. I did not post this blog at 4am when it was written last night for fear of what I had written in it, but it seems spell checker has aided me in grammatical writing. I have not changed anything I have written and although I am clutching water like it is a magical cure, I do not disagree with any of it.

I do understand that this blog is generalising student culture being derived mainly from the stereotype of a student lifestyle, however it is also my truthful experience. I also know people who choose  not to drink at University and have just as much fun and are most probably a damn sight healthier.

So Ernest, this probably is not what you had in mind, but I hope you approve.

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Raising Mum…

“How do you cook leeks mum?” I yelled down the phone from my hectic university kitchen last week, (as I am certainly not a natural cook). After ascertaining that there are many ways to cook a leek and deciding I’ll leave that project for another day, I escaped the smoke ridden fire hazard that is my kitchen and continued my conversation.

“The irony” my Mother proclaimed in a melodramatic lament.

It turns out my Grandma, her mother, had just been on the phone asking for a similar culinary solution: “Do I make toast in the microwave?”

My Grandma is a beautiful woman; she was bright, witty and undeniably active. She was that sort of person who was firm but fair; she employed tough love and could be quite stubborn. As a child, I would never eat my vegetables (an amusing coincidence now that I am a vegetarian) and one of my most vivid memories is her being the nagging persistent voice across the dinner table that would force me to eat every last carrot and every last sprout until my plate was clear. “You should not leave a saucy dish” She would declare on repeat.

She had so many wonderful characteristics and quirks to her personality, that it seems unfair to have added Alzheimer’s disease to this list. Arguably, maybe it’s not right, for the last six years to categorise Alzheimer’s as a characteristic of my Grandma. Maybe it should not fall into the same sentence as funny, kind and intelligent. Maybe the hurtful disease should not function as an adjective of which to describe my relation. Yet, I cannot see how it could be detached from this occupation.

Alzheimer’s is this demon-like shadow that stalks its prey. As time progresses, it moves closer and closer to its victim, slowly consuming them and simultaneously feeding off of their personality. It becomes a part of them. As a family, you must watch the inventory of characteristics you previously associated with them, diminish rapidly; until it is the only one left.

The biggest confusion I am currently facing when describing my grandma is which tense to use. ‘She was bright and witty’ or ‘She is bright and witty’. I think this is synonymous with one of the toughest challenges a family faces in these circumstances. Obviously, families will handle the affliction of this degenerate disease discordantly, but for my family, the only way to protect ourselves was to acknowledge that my Grandma is not the same person she used to be. She is no longer the bright, witty, vegetable-loving woman we knew. For that reason, I’ll have to describe her in the past tense.

A friend told me recently that 1 in 4 people in the UK are affected by Alzheimer’s, either directly or indirectly. I suppose that’s why I wrote this blog. Before she disappears entirely, I want a place where I can intermittently record my memories of her as she was and my experiences caring for an Alzheimer’s sufferer. Whether it’s recalling her meeting with the Queen, or the time she walked to France (both of which are a fictional product of her memory confusion), I want people to see an honest view of how a normal family deals with the stresses and troubles that the disease creates.

“It is funny” my Mum said finishing our conversation, “at the same time I am raising you and your brother Tess, I am also raising my mum.”

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