Two weeks ago James and I spent an evening at Olbrich Botanical Gardens. The event was GLEAM, an annual exhibit featuring local, national, and international artists creating light-based installations. Throughout Olbrich’s 16-acre outdoor gardens we were able to amble about in dimly lit pathways, encountering strange and surprising forms that pulsed and shimmered in the night around every corner.
It was really a most extraordinary event. A great time. At least for us.
The event the night we attended had a place for a small band and, of course, the ever-present staple for any Wisconsin event, alcohol sales. We were eager to see the pathways and show in the spacious gardens. Many, it seemed, were not aware there was even a grand set of exhibits beyond their ice cubes and cocktails. As the evening continued some of the tanked-up ones were walking the dimly lit paths and proved to be examples of performance art. It was embarrassing.
Last weekend we drove to the new Farm and Fleet store in Sun Prairie and was really taken aback to see that it has a full stockpile of booze of every kind for sale. The store–though new–left me cold. I prefer the one on Stoughton Road in Madison where they are still more interested in selling the old-fashioned candies than a bottle of gin.
Today in my email was a long discourse from a member of the local Marquette Neighborhood Association extolling the virtues of a “bar crawl” through a section of Madison. He mentioned the places they stopped and on and on. If one were perhaps 19 the object of such a night would be the hunt for a quickie. But in his case the object was simply to drink. That WAS the activity.
He ended his email with these words. “I encourage others who find it appealing to make a Saturday night of this…”
Really? Is that what a responsible member of a local neighborhood association should be espousing? How about taking a look at the number of drinking problems in the area before proposing to drain a few more pints!
I am age 56, and my partner is 45–and not one single time in either of our lives has a “bar crawl” ever been considered as a way to spend time. And we both know what a good time looks like, too. It is not at the bottom of a beer glass.
We can also say never once has ‘the activity’ for an evening been drinking.
Exactly how bored with life does one need to be, or how depressing must one’s situation need to become, for drinking to be the uplift and reliever for what is wrong? How much money does the average person spend on alcohol in the average week? Perhaps spending that money on a psychologist would be the real tonic that is needed.
What passes for ‘the norm’ in society alerts me daily to everything that I have no desire to be a part of. Give me a good book, cup of coffee, James at my side–some birds and the lake.