Warning: Drink at Home at Your Own Risk

Photo by Baynam Goredema

Who doesn’t enjoy a healthy glass of wine now and again? And if you’re over 21 years-old drinking responsibly, even the law is on your side. But your parents’ law? Completely different story!

It seems my boyfriend and I have hit the first real snag with my folks.  As fully grown adults who pay bills and work 40+ hours a week, we’ve earned the right to vote, drink and die for our country (although we prefer the former two of the three).  It’s the American way and few in this country would have a problem with this. Unfortunately, the Indian perspective does and will take issue with consumption, whether they have good reason to do so or not.

In the last month or so, my boyfriend and I have continued to enjoy life as we always have. This has included a vintage bike tour in the North Fork of Long Island (I highly recommend!) and an impromptu trip to Trader Joe’s Wine Shop on 14th Street (we made out like bandits with the $3 wine bottles!) Additionally, we have had reason to both commiserate and celebrate with being disgruntled with work and going through the ups and downs of apartment hunting. All great reasons to share a glass of wine (if one was needed).

Three bottles of wine later, I amassed a collection of glassware in my studio section of the house that I kept forgetting to put out for recycling. (I’ll return to this point later).  My parents rarely traverse to my part of the house so instead of seeing a gradual build up over time, my mother only bothered to pay attention after a pile formed. She inquired how they got there (in case they walked themselves through the front door) and was shocked, no, flabbergasted when we confirmed they were indeed ours.

Of course, she shared this news with my father and he confronted me about them after the last Presidential Debate for 2012. He “happened” to go upstairs and saw all those “disgusting” bottles. I was ordered to “get rid of them” and then he told me to “not encourage people to drink” (read: stop forcing my boyfriend to consume alcohol).

I was furious. The load of assumptions and hypocrisy in his words just hit me like a wall:

Idiocy 1: Alcohol was bad and I could not have it in my possession – even though Budweiser, Blue Moon, Taj Mahal and Kingfisher are regulars in his fridge that he consumes often outside of social gatherings. In fact, at parties in our own home, wine is always present.

Idiocy 2: I was the type of person who would pressure other people to drink and was in fact doing so.

Idiocy 3: I must be irresponsible.

Listen, I get where they are coming from. My mother was the child of an alcoholic and India, especially the state of Kerala where they are from, has a high rate of alcoholism.  They’ve seen a lot. But it is both insulting and hurtful that after walking such a straight line my entire life they chose to assume the worst in me. Without fail, they let their anxiety get the best of them. Every. Single. Time.

Some might blame me for being “foolish” enough to not get rid of the evidence sooner. To those I say, I shouldn’t have to hide. I’m not doing anything harmful, illegal, irresponsible, immoral or unethical. I have as much right as the next human being to drink responsibly.

Knowing my dad, this issue is not resolved and there’s another, more in-depth lecture to follow. Here’s what I plan to say to him:

“Dad, we haven’t done anything wrong. It is both hurtful and insulting that you would assume the worst in me after I have been a responsible adult my entire life. I’m tired of having to hear this nonsense from you and I won’t do it anymore.”

If he continues to argue his point, I’ll say, “It’s interesting that you see it that way,” then walk away. My dad’s a difficult person, he will talk his head off for hours without giving you a chance to get a word in edgewise unless you physically leave. Nothing else works with him.

If you have a normal parent, I’d suggest trying to change the subject.

How would you handle my situation? Post your suggestions below!

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