Drinking in the Streets

La Voz de Galicia – July 24, 2020 →

Cristina PatoI was born and raised in the oldest part of Ourense, in the heart of the wine district. As a girl, we would return from our small village at nightfall, the car’s trunk full of collard greens, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, or peppers; arriving on the street where I grew up was like joining the procession of the brotherhood of sad excesses. Most of the time I closed my eyes because the crowds of drunken people in my neighborhood’s narrow streets were like an internal ticking time bomb. Suddenly, all possible misfortunes appeared before me: And if they climb on the hood? And if they break the car window? And if my father’s foot slips from the brake? As time went by, I grew fearful of crowds until it was not even possible for me to work in places where I knew there would be crowds. At 22, I became an abstainer due to my beliefs, and I began to avoid the nightlife.

When I read this week that due to the pandemic, drinking in the streets would be banned in Galicia, I thought that perhaps this could be one of the positive consequences of the present time. I confess I did not know to what extent this was constitutional nor the reasons for its acceptance. The normalization of drinking in the streets is a well studied sociological phenomenon, and it is a consequence of our social existence. But in the parks of my neighborhood one can witness the constant process of initiation into adolescence through the massive consumption of alcohol, as well as the sad and permanent consequences of the same.

In any event, this ban is only symbolic because it is not applicable at parties or open-air dances…so, on a holiday weekend such as this one, we will remain as we were. But it was the thought that counted.

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