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Monday, October 26, 2009

23-Year-Olds Belong at McTeague's

As I sit in the Eugene airport thinking about my weekend and the time I spent with my sisters, parents, old friends, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandfather, I realize I learned a very valuable lesson: College graduates simply can’t drink as much as current college kids. Yes, some grads are in denial and believe they haven’t changed since their glory days at the campus tavern — but they have. All of them. Grads, consider yourselves warned: Never attempt to go drink-for-drink with a fresh batch of 21-year-olds at your alma mater. If in the future you mindlessly ignore my tip-off, prepare for the worst headache of your life.

“I need Advil,” I moaned in Christyn’s direction when I woke up on Saturday morning. She was still asleep. Her kitten pawed at my face, and I hurt too badly to move.

“Oh-kay,” she replied. Then she popped out of bed with what seemed like enough energy to run a 26-mile marathon — like she’d been training for it all year, eating only healthy meals and drinking eight glasses of water a day — when really she’d downed more beer than I care to reveal the night before. She was as bouncy and peppy as ever. Christyn belongs to the aforementioned batch of freshly turned 21-year-olds, and at that moment I loathed her for it.

“Here ya go,” she tossed a bottle of Advil toward the bed, animated and vigorous. I replied with a grunt. Her chipper grin really pissed me off. Last night we’d visited Taylor’s and then Max’s Tavern, two of the three bars near the University of Oregon campus, but clearly that hadn’t rattled her.

When my throbbing temples weakened, I worked up the energy to get out of bed and brush my teeth. Tangly locks of hairspray-stiff hair clung to my cheeks and neck with perspiration. Ew.

What had happened to me? I was clearly out of practice at the whole college thing. I remember when splitting a pitcher of Bud Light between just two people was a common affair, and last night I stuck my nose up at the idea (but did it anyway). Gone are the days of chugging along to the DGs chanting, “If you can’t f****** drink like a DG can, then you shouldn’t have a drink in your mother f******* hand!” Now one cocktail or a glass of wine is a-okay with me. I mull this over, then quickly decide there’s nothing wrong with being “out of practice.” Hell, I should be glad my beer-intense lifestyle is behind me. If it weren’t, I’d be in trouble. I finished brushing my coffee-stained teeth and flashed a corny smile at my reflection, proud of my epiphany. Although my body still dragged, my mood lifted, and Christyn and I packed our things and drove to the DG house to retrieve our youngest sister, Caitlin (who wasn’t yet 21 and even perkier than Christyn was that morning).

In San Francisco, we have a bar kind of like Max’s Tavern. It’s called McTeague’s. Wooden walls, pool tables, and beer-stained booths line its perimeter, while young(ish) party-ers flock to the middle of the floor to boogie to 1980s music. Since I began frequenting the pub a few months ago, I’d been excited to return to my old stomping grounds. In a way I felt like I was cheating on Max’s. But after this weekend I see that Max’s will always be for fresh 21ers, while I’ll move on as a perfectly happy 23-year-old: a two-beers-is-fine, gotta-work-tomorrow kind of girl. And that’s a-okay with me.


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  1. I feel ya, I do exactly the same thing... I am a 2 drink (who doesn't want to go to work the next day with a terrible headache) kinda girl... much different than my college days :)

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