Monday, October 31

day 10560: dear chickie

Fcuk. This is one of the hardest things I’ve ever written and probably will ever write. Hell… even after I write this, I don’t know if I’ll send it to you. It is harshly worded, not very pretty, but hopefully, my message will come across and you’ll take to heart what I say.

Let me preface this by saying that while I know that we’ve had our differences over the past year, and while our friendship has suffered as a result, this letter does not stem from any ill-will, misplaced anger, resentment etc or anything else that anyone might project upon it. Rather, I’ve sat back for the past few months, kept my mouth shut, and just observed, hoping that you’d be the one to realize that the choices that you’ve been making are not necessarily the right ones and that changes need to be made. I don’t like confrontation. I tend to leave it to other people, but soft words and quiet suggestions don’t seem to be enough in this situation. I didn’t want to be the bitch. I still don’t want to be the bitch. But things need to be said, and because for some fcuked up reason, I still care about your general well-being, I have one thing to say…

Drinking and driving don’t mix.

I’m not saying that you have a drinking problem. Far be it for me to say something like that. I really couldn’t care less how much you drink. Hell, you could drink until you pass out, and it doesn’t really matter to me… as long as I don’t have to be the one to hold your hair back when you’re puking your guts out all over the bathroom… as long as I don’t have to be the one paying a foot long bar tab… as long as you don’t confront me at yet another bar… AS LONG AS YOU DON’T INTEND ON DRIVING HOME AFTERWARDS… you can drink as much as you want and I really don’t give a flying fcuk.

But the second you put your hand in your purse to pull out your keys, that’s when I get worried. You see, you, my friend, are little. One drink for a 100lb female in one hour will put them at a 0.026% blood alcohol percentage. Two drinks in an hour at 0.067%. Three drinks in an hour at 0.107%... legal limit is 0.08%. Three drinks over two hours puts a 100lb female at 0.092% which is OVER the legal limit. You don’t even weigh 100lb. And when you factor in things like physical health (yes, fitter is better), and the fact that you drank those drinks on a completely empty stomach so the absorption rate of the alcohol into your blood stream was not slowed… do you see what I’m getting at here?

(fyi: the effect of alcohol is the same for a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or a 1.5 oz glass of spirits)

You can argue until you’re blue in the face that you feel fine, or that you have a high tolerance and therefore are capable of driving, but it won’t change my stance on things. Your body can only eliminate 15 mg of alcohol per 100mL of blood per hour. Tolerance doesn’t change your blood alcohol percentage. Tolerance just means that you’re a slightly better actress than anyone thinks, and that you’re able to mask the signs of intoxication. Of course, it doesn’t help that you act increasingly “goofy” with every sip you take whether or not you actually are intoxicated. I’m sorry, girl, but if you act intoxicated, we actually think you are intoxicated. It’s simple.

Did you know that there have been cases where someone’s been charged with DUI the NEXT MORNING because they thought that they had slept it off, but they really hadn’t? Alcohol and its effects can be deceiving.

Part of drinking is knowing yourself – your physical limitations, your judgment capabilities and being responsible for who you are and what you do. When you think about it, legal limits actually don’t make a difference in the big picture. Really, any slight intoxication while driving should be a no-no. I hate to say this, but if you’re not the world’s best driver when sober, what makes you think that you’ll be able to drive when you’re not? What makes any of us think that we have the right to drive when we’re anything but sober? Driving is a privilege that many of us are guilty of abusing.

Friday night, you were probably ok to drive by the time you wanted to leave. Had you not gotten so defensive and started arguing illogically about how everyone else has been drunk at one point or another and how you’ve never been drunk to the point of passing out or puking, I probably would have agreed that you were fine to go. But you couldn’t understand that the situations weren’t the same and that where the rest of us have drank to the point of passing out or puking we have never, ever intended to drive. Most of us, if we know that we plan on drinking will leave our cars at home or arrange for rides… even if it means a $40 cab ride. Yes. I have paid $40 for a taxi before and I would do it again. There is always an alternative to driving, even if it means staying over, or someone driving you home and someone else following with your car. And yes, these options were all being discussed when you and Posie were sitting on the couch.

We’ve all had to make the same decision, and sometimes maybe we haven’t made the right ones either. There are times when I know I’m not over the legal limit, but I know that I probably shouldn’t have driven. There are times when I think I’m stone cold sober, but I’m really not and thank God I didn’t drive on those occasions. I’ve seen you go out with the intent on getting buzzed and then want to drive home afterwards. I’ve seen you do shots with us on top of having drinks with dinner and still drive home afterwards. Friday night, I saw you sitting by yourself giggling to yourself hysterically while running a remote control car back and forth between two chair legs. I can only judge by observation, and that was what we were all doing the other night. Waiting an additional half an hour should not have made such a big difference. We insisted for your own protection and for the sake of the other people on the road. We did not insist on it because we wanted the pleasure of your company (grumpy you is no fun) or because we wanted to prove a point. We definitely did not want to fight with you about it.

I sound like a parent. I don’t want to be condescending. I don’t want to be the one to lay down the law and say that I’m going to take away your keys and shove it into my underwear if you insist on driving. I like to party just as much as anyone else, if not more. The difference is that I know how to do it responsibly and when not to do it. I learned the hard way. I drove once when I obviously shouldn’t have, and I risked not only myself, but someone else I care very much about as well. But I, too, was working on emotion, and somehow managed to fool everyone into thinking that I was ok. Nothing happened that night, and for that I will be eternally grateful, but the thought of what could have happened will stay in my mind forever.

Know this. Life is about action and being responsible for your own actions. You have to understand the consequences of everything you do. What if you got into an accident? What if you didn’t die, and you were only paralyzed for life? What if you hit a pedestrian and killed someone? What if you hit another car and killed a child? Could you live with yourself then? Is it worth it to leave that extra 30 minutes earlier?

I know I run the risk of alienating you because of what I’ve written. But it’s a trade off I think is worth it if you even contemplate what I’ve said. Ultimately, the decision is up to you what you chose to do you with your life, but I know that had we not stopped you on Friday, and if we don’t continue to try to stop you, we wouldn’t be able to call ourselves your friends. And should something ever happen to you, and we didn’t try to stop you, many of us would have a very difficult time dealing with it.

Think about it. Life is too short as it is to do something so stupid. It’s time to stop being selfish and start thinking about everyone else in the world instead of just yourself.

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