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Last weekend I found myself at a friend’s house, presumptively to watch the World Cup. In actuality, I spent an afternoon drinking all the Modelos I could get my hands on and ignoring Ronaldo cry as Portugal was downed by Uruguay. There’s very little that can top a chill Saturday than sitting around an outdoor TV on a warm, albeit very humid, afternoon with a cold beer in hand.
But as the afternoon drew on, I began to notice a bit of an odd pattern. You see, my buddy lives in a house with three other roommates. While he is just a year younger than me, at 28, his roommates are all in their early to mid-20s, with the oldest just eclipsing 26. While my buddy, my girlfriend, and all our mutual friends were gloriously imbibing, I noticed that the younger crowd was not partaking.
“You guys don’t want a drink?” I asked gesturing to the open cooler to my left.
“Nah,” one of the roommates replied, bleary-eyed and dry-throated, “we’re taking it easy recovering from last night.”
Okay, makes sense. They went a bit too hard last night and needed to recover. Happens to all of us at some point. So the roommates and their companions began to excuse themselves to their own rooms for a quick power nap while the rest of us stayed past the game’s conclusion, drinking, eating burgers, and chatting until finally, night fell.
It was about 9 o’clock when things started to wind down. People started yawning, the afternoon buzz was beginning to taper off, and people were looking forward to warm sheets, an episode of Rick and Morty, and some good slumber. But as we remaining crew began to pack it in, the roommates emerged from their hibernation.
No longer looking distraught and tired, the youths were looking spry and dapper, all of them dressed to the nines. It was a complete 180 from earlier that afternoon; now the younger crowd was chomping at the bit and looking fresh, while the 30-ish group was ready to pack it in.
“You guys want to come with us to the Ballroom?” one asked.
For those of you who don’t know, the Ballroom is nothing like its name would suggest. It’s a club that is several floors, playing remixes of today’s pop hits, and slinging watered down vodka sodas, vodka Red Bulls, and rum and cokes. It’s loud, dingy, and usually features a lot of screaming, crying, and random make-outs. It caters mainly to people under the age of 24. It is the exact type of place I try to avoid at all costs.
“No thanks,” was not just my immediate response, but the collective response from the day-drinking group. As if by hive mind, it seemed we all had reached the immediate same conclusion: I’ve been drinking all day, the last thing I want to do is keep drinking while I’m tired and can get ahead of the hangover tomorrow.
It’s fascinating to me, remembering back to my college, law school, and early post-grad years. Day drinking was always seen as sort of a necessary evil for some big event, like a day at the races or pool. Most of the time, you drank through the pain of the hangover from the night before, then grabbed a quick power blackout before rallying to go out later that night. Day drinking was the appetizer, at best. A fun time, sure, but it couldn’t interfere with your night out. That was the main course.
Now, as an adult, viewing a night out partying as the main course is like me looking at Lunchables. How the hell did I ever enjoy that?
There comes a point in every post-grad’s life, usually around 27 when you’re established at your job and/or have settled down with someone, that staying out partying until 2 a.m. loses its appeal. In those days, you have no problem sleeping till 1 p.m., waking up and spending all your time until dinner in bed with the biggest bottle of Gatorade you can find. When you get older, the idea of punting an entire weekend day nursing through a hangover doesn’t sound so appealing, especially when you have things to do. Like errands, relaxation, or day drinking.
Because of course, just because we got older we didn’t stop drinking. We just shifted our drinking to sunlight hours, during Sunday football games, days at the beach, or just hanging with our friends. It’s a perfect fit for the lifestyle of someone who needs to rally the next morning, rather than that night. The hangovers are generally more manageable, and since we’re usually waking up earlier it makes more sense to get to bed right at the peak of our drunken haze, around 10 or 11 p.m.
This isn’t meant to castigate the younger crowd or say that we’re day-drinking and we’re better/smarter than you. There are times I genuinely miss the wild and carefree days of going out all night, coming home hammered to leftover pizza at 3 or 4 a.m. But in an idealized way, like remembering the fun times you had playing Crash Bandicoot. If you booted it up now, you’d throw the controller at how janky and awkward the controls feel. It’s a memory of a simpler time, when you had no cares, no responsibilities, and felt like a superhero.
Enjoy it you guys, because one day it’ll be gone. Not taken from you or lost to circumstance, but by the most dastardly of all time’s tricks, outgrown. Don’t worry, we’ll be here on the porch with a nice cold one for you. .