We’ve all seen those television programmes where real police are dealing with drunk drivers, party goers too inebriated to find their way home, fights in the street watched by a collection of drunken revellers egging them on and women party goers lying in the gutter too sloshed to get up even with the support of friends. I suppose from the comfort of our sofas, we watch it all wondering is society going to pot altogether.
Did my baby boomer generation behave like this? I certainly remember nights way back when I had too much to drink dreading the wrath of my mother who would have been waiting up half the night for me to come home.
I also remember one office party held in a hotel with the editor threatening to leave us in the street if we didn’t take the lifts home he had organised for us. Yet, we were not big drinkers in the Sixties; we simply didn’t have the money to go over the top. A couple of Babychams (with cherry on a stick) went a long way then and maybe we imagined we were more tipsy than we were. Certainly we didn’t pick fights with police.
For young people today it’s a different story. Money appears to be no object on those nights out and being lippy with the cops is applauded. A night in the cells is regarded as a badge of honour.
Too many drivers, drunk at the wheel, are killing others – the coroners’ hearings make grim reading – and youngsters, too under-aged to be allowed into a bar or off-licence appear to be able to rule the streets at night high on drink and other substances leaving too many of us afraid to venture out for a late night walk.
Window shopping at night in any city or town is risky and as Halloween and Christmas approach, when we would traditionally admire the window displays, we can only manage it if the local Council is running a big family night-out.
Yet, a report this week, suggests that clean-living young people are turning their noses up at over-indulgence at the bar ‘because it’s the kind of thing their parents did’.
Alcohol, it seems is no longer the `in’ thing, being something the ‘older generation’ did. Only one in 10, according to a research by Evenbrite, see getting drunk as being ‘cool, or pathetic or embarrassing’ with four in 10 having an overall negative view of someone who is drunk. You could have fooled me. The suggestion from those who have studied the data suggests young people are more comfortable talking about problems now, rather than drinking to forget them. Only one in 10 confessed to have passed out drunk while partying. They must have done their research in the quite shires of England.
Given what I’ve written in the first couple of paragraphs I’m wondering if my memory is playing tricks about the past or are those cops-in-action programmes on television not real, with people just hamming it up for the cameras?
Were those children of the baby boomer generation really embarrassed by parents drinking too much? My children certainly remind me now and then of the odd incident when they thought I had too much. I challenge what was ‘too much’ to them given that while they were growing up all spare money was spent on them. Goodness, I even resorted to making my own wine one year because it was cheaper except I never got to drink it because the demi-johns it was in blew their corks and I was left with a wardrobe of ruined clothes. It would have cheaper to go to the off-licence. These days the only alcoholic drink I make is sloe-gin for Christmas (presents mostly) and the children are not at all slow in demanding their share.
I’m not going to have nightmares worrying if my children thought me uncool all those years ago nor should parents remind their offspring that the occasional bottle of wine back then helped us face all those household bills and the expensive Christmas presents they thought they couldn’t live without. I’m certain life’s too short to lie awake at night wondering what our children think of us. I’ll say cheers to that.