The gift we give today is pretty serious – it’s making sure that others are healthy, happy and safe to enjoy their holidays by making sure we responsibly enjoy our own.
Firstly. We are SO LUCKY to have a white blanket of snow covering Maine, even in the South! Of course with your snow tires (or four season tires) your Maine car is equipped with the necessary precautions to prevent skidding, bumping, crashing. But that guy coming down the straightaway that you’re turning on to…does he? Tuesday evening brought a beautiful (heavy!) snowfall to the Portland area that resulted in a 17-car-pile-up near Deering Oaks and countless other accidents. Personally, as I was driving home in my equipped, yet somewhat finicky sedan, a zippy motorist crossed the straightaway with only 15 or so feet between me and him – my antilock brakes take at least 20 feet to be effective! And pedestrians, use CAUTION. Just because someone could potentially brake from the distance you’re planning on crossing at, just assume that the car will slide and swerve and may not do what you’re thinking it will. Remember snow? It’s slippery.
In my mind, there is absolutely no excuse for excessive drinking and driving. It’s taken way too big of a price for me to really, truly know this. So if you’re going to parties between now and the New Year and want to enjoy beverages, here are a few ground rules your mother, teachers and friends probably already told you but if you don’t listen I will personally break your knee caps so you can’t get in your car. (Not actually true, but I’ll definitely take your keys).
#1. Designated driver. I personally think this rule of thumb is a sham. DDs always end up getting persuaded to ‘have a drink!’ by their increasingly sauced friends and, who wants to go to a party with a large group of people they may or may not know and not taste a little liquid courage? Sometimes this works. I have friends who don’t drink but like going to parties. This works. Couples who can actually stick to this plan have some success. This works. But if this seems like kind of a bummer, please see Rule #2 + #3.
#2. Taxi cab! Sure, you may have to wait awhile and hey, it may cost $20 to get across town but stop being such a miser, Scrooge, it’s Christmas! Leave the house with cash so you are not in a bind later when you’re contemplating a hackney driver and also leave a nice tip for the fellow or lady working on the holiday. Split the cab with people who live close so it’s not such a pain in the wallet. $20 is totally worth avoiding thousands in lawyer fees, losing your license or killing yourself or, worse, one of your friends.
#3. Stay awhile! Eat something! If you’re planning on leaving the party at 1am after the big toast and a little dancing, stop your intake and start your snacking a few hours before. You’ll still have good bubbly champagne feelings but when it’s time to drive you’ll be in much better working order.
#4. Be nice to the dry. If someone doesn’t want a drink, don’t get all excited because you are and think it’s the best thing in the world. Some people don’t! As someone who ‘takes it easy’ at parties and usually switches to tea after 2 drinks, tops, I just want to let you all know that you *don’t* get more and more awesome as the night wears on…it’s actually the opposite.
Have fun, but above all, be safe!