I don\'t really drink. I have a bit of a sweet tooth, so beer has never appealed to me as it has with many of my colleagues. Honestly, I\'m not much fun in a party where everybody\'s tipsy, friendly and chatty from all the alcohol that\'s been imbibed while I\'m sitting there nursing a Coke.
But there have been exceptions: Christmas season being the one period of the year when I have an \"anything goes\" philosophy when it comes to diet and schedule. And we all know what happens when a non-drinker gets exposed to more alcohol in one night than he\'s drunk in an entire year.
Strange things happen. I get more sociable. I suddenly have the urge to grab the microphone for the inevitable rockeoke contest. I lose count of how many glasses I\'ve downed. I feel the urge to mooch a cigarette from anyone and get a few shots of nicotine (I quit cold turkey four years ago). Time slows down, and then I realize it\'s time to go home. Not normally a problem for anyone with a car, but a pretty serious chore for anyone who\'s exceeded his personal threshold for blood alcohol. Screw the embarrassment of sounding like a pig being gutted while singing \"Every Breath You Take.\" I just want to get home alive and in one piece.
Fortunately, I have a plan for these contingencies: a driver. She is also known as my wife. It\'s not a job that she relishes because it means she can\'t have any fun and must stick to Coke. This is actually a rather expensive option for me, because it involves taking her out to dinner and a movie the next day--or as soon as I shake off the massive hangover. Balance must be maintained. One of these days, I may just try calling Lifeline Ambulance Rescue for their drive-you-home service.
Of course, the alternative is a lot worse. I remember, back in my young and dumb days, the ordeal of trying to stay in my lane--nerves all shot to hell--as I drove home from a party that only served vodka. Then there was that night when I simply had to pull over and doze off for a few minutes (which turned into an hour), until a wild dream of being carjacked somewhere in Malate snapped me awake. Never again. To this day, I thank God nothing untoward happened to me or to other innocent people.
I\'ve also been a victim of drunk driving, being rammed from behind by a Lancer at a stoplight. I heard the screech of tires behind me, then a massive jolt from behind as the car ate the rear bumper of the AUV I was riding shotgun in. The driver was in a daze as we got out to check if he was all right. Surprisingly, our Toyota Tamaraw FX only suffered minor damage. Hurrah for old reliable ladder-frame chassis!
Three of my friends have been victims of drunk driving. By coincidence, all of them were hit while running. Two of them--a married couple--were minding their own business when they got the shock of their lives as they found themselves flying all over the road. The driver claimed to have fallen asleep, but anybody within five feet of him at the police station could smell the reek of alcohol about him. Miraculously, neither of the two victims suffered more than a few scrapes and bruises.
The third victim was also bowled over by a drunk driver in a running race, and he suffered an Achilles tendon tear plus nerve damage. Now on his sixth week in the hospital, I can only imagine how depressing it must feel to be stuck in bed, unable to use the gift of his legs, all because of a selfish, careless, irresponsible driver.
The sad part is, in the big scheme of things, he\'s probably still one of the luckier guys. Who knows how many innocent people have perished because of drunk drivers in this country?
So I have high hopes for the Anti Drunk and Drugged Driving Act. There are still many questions to be answered as to its implementation and enforcement, but it\'s high time we had a law to punish irresponsible behavior. In a macho culture that puts few--if any--restrictions on alcohol intake in public places like restaurants, bars and social gatherings, it\'s not enough to preach the mantra that \"Drunk Driving Kills.\"
Nothing sobers up like the prospect of jail time or a seriously hefty fine.