To Drink, Perchance to Dream

I can’t remember when I first tasted alcohol. Perhaps it was as a child in Greece, sipping watered wine with dinner, or being served wine at Communion.Maybe it was when we went to Berlin and I had beer and sausage with my father. I know that when I was baptized, my lips were brushed with ouzo, but I don’t remember it so I’m not sure it counts.

The long and short of it is that alcohol has always been a part of my life. For me, it was never a forbidden fruit, shrouded in mystery. I drank half glasses of wine at dinner, and was educated about wines and beers. It meant that I could avoid the drinking to extreme states of intoxication stage in high school, because alcohol held no magical appeal for me. Being raised that way by my father was, I think, very beneficial. Sadly, the alcohol laws in this country are so bizzarre and draconian, and our perceptions about alcohol so twisted, that few children have the luxury of being raised in an environment where alcohol is used responsibly by all members of the family, with the greater goal of a flavour experience rather than drunkeness.

Thus it was with amusement that I read a note in the Chronicle discussing the mayor’s new girlfriend, who is not of legal age to consume alcohol, yet was spotted with a glass of wine at a major social event.

Several things occurred to me while reading the article. The first was that she might not have been carrying a glass of wine, per say. A number of events like that pour the nonalcoholic drinks in nice glasses so that they blend in with the crowd and photograph well. Therefore, a glass of pale yellow liquid, for example, may or may not be wine. Unless the reporter actually verified the presence of wine, it’s probably best to not jump to conclusions.

The second thing was: who cares? San Francisco has much bigger problems than whether the mayor’s underage little girlfriend is drinking wine. Like homelessness, which Newsom seems to think he can fix by hiding the homeless people from view. Or our underfunded transit system. Filth in the streets. Sex slaves. All sorts of things, which the Chronicle actually covers on a regular basis. I’m rather surprised to see such a fuss being made over a 20 year old fuck toy who may or may not have been drinking a glass of wine.

The third: if it was, in fact, wine, who is to say it was hers? Maybe she was holding it for someone else, carrying it to another guest, or was picking it up to move it. I realize that in the eyes of the law, holding something indicates ownership, but it seems like there are many perfectly reasonable explanations for a 20 year old holding a glass of wine at a party.

Fourthly, I pondered why everyone is so upset about this. It’s not like she was caught snorting coke off a cocktail tray, for Pete’s sake. She was drinking a harmless glass of wine or two, caught up in the moment of the event, and who’s to blame her? She’s probably relishing the feeling of social power, wants to test the boundaries of propriety, so snags a glass from a passing waitress. And who, really, is going to card the mayor’s girlfriend? Alcohol is not inherently harmful, although people do harm themselves and others with it. In a rational, responsible society, it doesn’t need to be the cause of a huge production. If we were all raised with enlightened attitudes toward alcohol, including a healthy sense of respect, I doubt that drinking would be such a huge problem.

Presumably she conducted herself well at the social event in question, because I read no reports to the contrary. So clearly her alleged consumption of wine wasn’t a cause of distress to herself or others. The Chronicle is welcome to return to actual news at any time.