I took one of my daughter's to a birthday party the other day in a part of town that reminded me of the 80s. The houses were probably built in the 70s, low ceilings, sunk in living room and linoleum.
I lived in a home like that until about 1988 when stucco really became a big deal and track homes and HOAs were the cool kid in town.
So I drop my kid off after introducing myself to the parents. I'll be back in two hours. At a certain age it's okay to just drop your kid off. I don't like small talk.
When I came back, some of the adults were drunk. There were people at this child's birthday party who belonged in a pool hall. I got to wondering if there were two separate events going on, one of them a 7- year -old's birthday party and the other one a beer drinking cigarette party. It wasn't just the drunk dad wearing a tiara, It was also the drunk uncle who introduced himself to everyone while sporting his coolie cup beer holder with the top half of his beer can peeking out. He wore the stench of alcohol like cologne. While the kids gathered around the birthday girl opening gifts, there were 3 adults on either side of the porch smoking cigarettes. They were smoking 4 feet away from where 15 little girls were gathered at a birthday party. It was so bizarre...for 2013.
I had a flash back to the late 70s and 80s where people smoked in restaurants, in cars with kids, and in airplanes. You don't like smoke? Too bad says 1982!
In the 80s I remember going to relatives homes and seeing drunk people, drinking people, loud people, and chain smoking people. It seemed that's what people did. They built low ceiling homes with basements, bought house boats, and hung out on porches grilling food, drinking, and smoking. It was all so normal and casual. No one really made a scene but a lot of people got drunk. It was really exciting when my grandpa got a smokeless ashtray and tried to convince my uncle it was now okay to smoke inside his house.
When I was 18, I smoked with my grandpa inside. We gathered around this contraption like a bonfire. It brought people together.
However, in the70s and 80s people also didn't use seat belts and people died. I remember sitting on the middle seat of my dad's red Oldsmobile right between the driver and passenger. I could literally prop my feet up on the 8 track player. I remember the curtain in airplane smoking sections before someone went and did a bunch of research about second hand smoke and ruined every body's good time. I used to shove gum wrappers in there.
There's My Seat, Right in the Middle. I'm lucky to be alive I suppose. All that smoke and dangerous seating going on for years.
I wrote this post several months ago thinking that maybe I was being judgmental since I don't drink anymore and am not a part of that world. Perhaps I've lost touch or I'm boring or something. But just this weekend I went to another child's party and a woman I met once before ran up to me and hugged me like we were long lost friends. That one time I met her must have been significant because we chatted like school girls for a good 10 minutes. At first I thought she was running open armed towards someone else and almost moved out of the way. She put my number in her phone and called it while I was standing there only to realize she probably inputted it wrong as there was no missed call when I checked my phone later in the car. Drunk people are fun. I'm missing a whole component of birthday parties by being sober and I feel a little left out of the good time. I decline drinks all the time. People might be starting to think I'm Mormon. It doesn't matter though because when I show up people hug me anyway.
More from parenting