According to My Mother, I’m a Developing Alcoholic

I was one of those typical Asian students in high school: an overachiever who never did anything crazy. Which is why it puzzled me that upon coming back from my first college semester that my mother suddenly thought I was this overindulgent, alcoholic-in-training slob.

Ok, I have a 12-pack of Blue Moon and a bottle of Kahlua in my fridge right now, but there’s no reason for her to suspect that I’m the first person who’s ever been like this.

Her delusion only made itself worse during our vacation in Europe, where it’s customary to enjoy a beer for lunch every day and where I took full advantage of being legal.

“You’re drinking again?” she would exclaim, eyeing my first and only small can of beer with distaste. “Why do you like to drink so much? You have problems.”

God forbid that I had a second beer later that evening during dinner.

Not only would she be astonished that I found myself a drink, she would also assume that I would become drunk whenever my lips touched any form of alcohol.

Funny story, she bought a bottle of champagne to celebrate on New Year’s Eve, which I ended up drinking the most of. Upon seeing the Asian Glow in full effect, she gasped comically.

“Michelle! You can’t drink—you’re allergic to alcohol!”

I gave her a strange look. “Mom… this is natural. It happens to all asians.”

“No, it doesn’t happen to me!” she says, holding up her one and only glass of champagne.

End of conversation.

I would always ignore her, knowing that such cultural barriers could never be overcome. Her idea of when it’s appropriate to drink include only holidays, and even then, only one or two fingers of wine.

What made the situation laughable was that she didn’t oppose to my 16-year-old brother partaking in some beer every now and then. I guess his distaste for every type of alcohol except for cherry beer made that logical.

Let me say again: cherry beer. 

That day, my dad also discovered his alcohol preferences.

My dad took the bottle away from him and took a small sip.

“Hey! This doesn’t taste too bad! I think I could live with this.” A few moments later, it kicked in.

“Hey mom,” he called to my mother walking ahead of us, “my legs are getting a bit wobbly.”

So, for the duration of the trip, I tried to limit my alcohol intake; more so for the sake of my small bladder than anything else. The number of bathrooms accessible by the public is laughable in Europe. And once I drank anything, I would be guaranteed a minimum of 3 bathroom trips within the next hour.


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