Mariecar Mendoza

I recently turned 22 and as I reflect back on my first year of legally being allowed to drink, I can’t help but feel guilty as I try to estimate the amount of money I have spent downtown.

One night at the bars can cost more than what some people make from a whole day’s worth of work – if they work, that is – yet we still hop from bar to bar without a care in the world about how much money we are spending. But let’s face it: The bars are an expensive place to be.

For the minority of Cal Poly students who actually do have to work to support themselves, being over 21 leads to a predicament. On one hand, you want to go out with your friends at every occasion no matter how much money you lose. But on the other hand, who really wants to go to work with a hangover the next day and end up broke at the end of the month?

The balance between the two isn’t as easy as one would think.

I like to go out with the intentions that I will only spend a certain amount of money and will be home at a reasonable hour. But before you know it, 2 a.m. rolls around and you have no money left in your wallet for a cab ride, so you start your trek home with a few friends in tow.

When you wake up the next morning with that throbbing headache and dehydrated mouth, things appear much worse as you check your online bank statement. Not only is all your cash gone from your wallet, but apparently you opened up a tab at the bar last night and surely must have bought many rounds of drinks for a bill that much.

This is the dilemma I seem to face quite often. Why do I continually go out week-after-week only to complain about how much the bars are costing me?

The solution is complex. I could either A: Find a rich mommy and daddy to hand over their credit cards and not care how much money I’m spending (Hey, as long as I’m having fun, right?), or B: Drink alcohol at home for a much cheaper price (limiting myself at the bars wouldn’t work; self-control is not an option when drunk).

Considering that I wouldn’t trade my parents for any amount of money, my only option seems to be drinking at home. But where is the fun in that?

It’s so easy to create your own bar with an array of alcohol in the comfort of your own home. No stresses over what to wear, how you’ll be getting home or if you’re spending too much money come into mind. Yet, no matter how much booze is in the cabinets, it will never be as fun as socializing with your favorite drunks downtown.

My conclusion is that I’m addicted to downtown. No, not just to the alcohol, but to the atmosphere. It can’t be explained why the bars are so fun, they just are. No matter how much more I complain about being too poor to go out, I still go.

So in the words of Huey Lewis, “We’re not here for a long time, we’re here for a good time.” See you downtown!

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