I’m not from around here: A Southerner in San Francisco


I’m not from around here. I come from a far off place. The extreme distance between my former home and my new home, San Francisco, is not just geographic in nature, but also in weather, personality, and societal norms. You see, I am from a far off land called South Carolina. You may know it for our politicians who either “walk the Appalachian Trail (Sanford),” call Obama a liar (Wilson), or are unabashed racists (Thermond… ok, all of them). You also may know it for our terrible school systems, our fantastic food, beautiful women, repulsive bigotry, top-notch beaches, rebel flags, and long history. If you can’t tell, I have a bit of a love hate relationship that ebbs and flows from that perfect Publix fried chicken and mashed sweat potatoes to annoying pastel Oxfords and gratuitous use of the pronoun “Bo.” Read more »


My First Time


Before I recount the tale of my first time, let me first provide a little back-story. You may not be aware of this, but I was born and raised in Eastern Europe: the land of accordions, iron curtains, and vodka. The Double E is also a land that doesn’t simultaneously glorify and vilify drinking like America has a tendency to do. In the old country, enthusing is a part of normal day-to-day life. It’s simply in our blood. And as such I feel I should have some leeway when it comes to that pesky BAC limit—but I digress. Sure we have our problems with overly enthusiastic relatives and dangerously inebriated soccer hooligans, but there isn’t a big social stigma against drinking itself, and certainly not against enthusing at “disturbingly young” ages. I don’t remember there being an official drinking age, and if there was, it was certainly never enforced.

Asking me to recall my first time trying an alcoholic beverage is like me asking you to recall your first birthday party. I was simply too young to remember the very first time that the sweet nectar-of-the-gods touched my lips. I do recall my father/priest/grandma/doctor letting me try some of whatever they were drinking on multiple occasions in my extreme youth, so let’s just say it first happened when I was 4 and wrap up this part of the flashback.

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Diaries of a cigarette girl: Part 2


Guest writer Chelsea regales us with her first forays into the wild world of booze in this multipart series.

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My First Time


For some of us, our first time tanked did come at what some bloggers refer to as “a disturbingly young age.” Maybe it was the disturbingness of that awkward stage that lead this Enthusiast to her first bottle, or maybe it was the feverish anticipation of fourteen years and freshman year and the thrill of the unknown. It was July and one of my best friends at the time had returned recently from France, arriving triumphantly at SFO, her suitcase brimming with legally-bought bottles. Five of us girls schemed a sleepover at the victor’s home, waiting for parents to doze off before breaking fifths of tequila and rum from under piles of tucked-away clothes in a bedroom closet.

Less experienced than my companions, I was especially eager to pull the small round limes from my backpack and salt my thumb’s webbing. “It burns,” they explained. “Drink it fast.” Salt taste, then sharp, wet scent as I raised her parents’ shotglass. Acrid effervescence met at mouth with sour. “Oh shit,” I thought to myself. “This is great.”

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My First Time


Everyone remembers the first time they got drunk (at least the fact that it happened, anyway). I’m not talking about the 13 years-old time you had a couple ounces of something with your friend in your room after your parents went to bed. I am talking about the first time you get bona-fide, rip-roaringly, falling-down drunk. For some people this doesn’t happen until freshman year of college, for others it comes at a disturbingly young age. I was more in the middle of the age spectrum when I first let my enthusiasm get the best of me.

It was actually a pretty epic experience, in retrospect. A family friend invited a bright eyed and bushy-tailed, 15 year-old version of yours truly to go with them on a chartered bus trip to a gig his band was playing out at Hampton Beach in New Hampshire. There was one “responsible” parent that came along with a bus full of underaged enthusiasts-in-training (although, to be fair, some of them already had full-blown enthusiasm issues), who, rather than being a draconian chaperone, ended up buying us booze after the show.
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