Meet Walter!

There’s been a running joke between my friend Zach and I that I am just like the main character from Fleabag and should therefore be the owner of a guinea pig. For those of you unfamiliar with the show, Fleabag is about a girl living in London who co-owns a guinea pig themed cafe with her dead best friend. Her life is a mess. She has a hard time making friends with people because she’s a bit of an acquired taste. Oh and the guinea pig’s name is Hillary. Personally, I think I am the main character’s older sister, who has a professional job, married an art guy (does he sell art? does he look at art? does he make art? TBD.), and has a very nice wardrobe that is mostly neutrals. Needless to say, Zach disagreed and I ended up with a guinea pig to complete the joke.

Walter is your average, run of the mill Petsmart guinea pig. He’s probably five months old. I say probably because the pet store misjudged his gender and he is actually a she but because I’ve already named him and he responds to him better than her, I am going to continue to refer to Walter as a he. And just in case anyone thinks I have offended my guinea pig by misgendering him, it’s okay. I have asked him. He is fine with it so long as I continue to feed him grapes.

Walter enjoys long naps, eating, and burrowing into my clothing so he can nose his way into my armpit and then bite me when I try and pull him out. His favorite foods are grapes, clover, hay, and his own poop. He’s a very classy guy.

He goes in for a second vet visit tomorrow, where I will be confirming his gender and getting him weighed again. So far, he is a chonker (which is perfect by guinea pig standards).

Good lord what do I even call this other than a weird rant

Before turning 21, drinking was this weird thing I considered very grown up, but also youthful. Alcohol was surrounded by a gauze of mysticism. How would it make me feel? Do I want to risk getting into trouble? How much is too much? How does one make a mixed drink? Honestly, before college, I thought a mixed drink was 50% vodka and 50% juice. Thankfully I have learned my lesson, and that lesson only took one “mixed drink” to figure out.

Now, almost all the social situations I find myself in outside of school and work have alcohol involved. Coming to talk at a law school reception? Grab a glass of wine. Going to a birthday dinner? Have a beer. Want to watch a movie with friends at home? Someone bring on the White Claws!

Having a drink in my hand when I’m standing around chatting has become the norm. I spent January making a more conscious choice of when I drank, what I was drinking, and with whom I was sharing a drink. Why was I reaching for a drink in a particular moment? Was it just to feel like a normal person and fit in, or was it because I really wanted a glass of wine? I found that most of the time I drank, I drank because I wanted people to think I was “normal.” Having a drink with friends while chatting about life made me less of a prude, or so I thought think.

While going through the notes on my phone, I stumbled upon a piece from Medium called The Unifying Theory of Alcohol. I remembered reading it about a year ago, and only clicked on the link to read it again because I’d just been to a Super Bowl party where a handful of people peppered me with questions about why I wasn’t drinking, if I wanted a drink, if I was the designated driver, etc. The truth was, I didn’t want to get drunk with them, but I didn’t want to say that because I didn’t want to sound lame. I also didn’t want people to continue to try and get me to drink. So I told them I was driving.

I ended up getting a drink an hour later, after relocating to another party with close friends. But I wasn’t drinking to get drunk or because I felt I had to. I wanted something sweet, so I made myself half a drink and nursed it all night long. The weird thing was that as soon as my group migrated back to the old party, no one there asked me about drinking. As soon as I showed up with a cup in my hand, the questions stopped. It was an eerie moment because it seemed like I had to drink, or get pestered all night.

Reading the article from Medium over again, I wished there was an easier way to say “I’m not drinking” that would get it through other people’s heads. “I’m not drinking” doesn’t mean “ask me again to make sure I’m sure” or “check again in a few minutes.” Alcohol is no longer mystical or weird. Sometimes it’s a burden. No one wants to explain their reasoning for not drinking a thousand times in one night (and by a thousand, I mean more than maybe once).

I guess what I really want is for society to normalize not consuming alcohol as much as it showcases drinking in any and all social situations.

I don’t care if you drink. I don’t care if you want to get drunk every night of the week. But I do care if I get asked about alcohol so many times that I eventually feel pressured to lie about being the designated driver or fill a Solo cup with water so people stop asking.

Perhaps I need more of a backbone. Perhaps I should just drink water and pretend to be doing what everyone else is doing. Perhaps I should just get over myself and have that glass of wine. Who knows. But I do know that The Unifying Theory of Alcohol really hit the nail on the head for me after that party, and it’s definitely something to think about.

What I Read in 2019

I am currently enjoying A Life in the Law: Advice for Your Lawyers, Legal Ethics Stories, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Supplement, Contracts…kidding. I’m definitely not reading those for fun. But I am ~technically~ reading them for school. But that’s not why you’re here. You’re here for the juicy romcom, sci-fi, young adult weirdness that my Goodreads account is usually full of.

I hit my goal of reading 15 books last year. Usually I read close to 30, but there was no way I was going to have free time to read as prolifically as I usually do during law school. I set my goals lower and hit them, with help from a few audiobooks at the tail end of December.

Here’s a list, and rating, of all those books:

And a few I didn’t finish reading:

What’s currently on my nightstand:

And what I’m looking forward to picking up in 2020:

If there’s any book in particular you’d like me to write a full review on, leave a comment with the title below!