Charles Bukowski is my favourite author; he was also an alcoholic. He was a lot of other things too; an atheist, a pacifist, an addict and someone who spent a long time homeless, living out of food scrap bins. Tribulation makes great writers unless you’re a born genius. In this case, he had a little of both. He published over 60 books, most of which were poetry but not the Rupi Kaur type (and that isn’t really poetry, Kaur doesn’t hit like Bukowski does). He needed a drink all hours of the day. Almost everyone does, only they don’t know it.
You are that everyone. I am too, just not as devoted as the rest. Strange how my favourite writer is so far from who I am yet I reconcile with everything he wrote. He drank when something bad happened, he drank to forget, he drank to celebrate; and if nothing happened he drank to make something happen. While I do not keep a shot of Absolut Vodka in my fanny pack, you might. I know people who did, but I spent my formative years in Italy.
While living overseas at the ripe age of 16, I took full advantage of the European drinking age. It’s a lot different over there and forgive me for being mildly pretentious, but I prefer it. On Saturdays, (because school finished on Saturdays) stores would close at midday so everyone could go home and have a heavy carbonated lunch with their family. Then, you would nap or a ‘siesta’ as the neighbouring Spaniards would call it. After napping, you were expected to study well into the evening and as a reward for your self-discipline, the nightlife would embrace you.
Cobbled streets were filled with thousands of people and parked Vespas. The smell of cigarettes and aromas alike filled the air. The hot spot for students in my city, Lecce, was called Convitto Palmieri- a baroque public library with an extravagant exterior. I would slink around the roman columns in awe. Drinks and nicotine were offered, accepted, along with other interventions forcing me to speak a language I had no prior knowledge of. To Federica, Gulia and Nicole, vi ringrazio. It was the most laid-back drinking culture I have ever experienced and I loved it.
Here, drinking is different. It’s hardcore, binged and acclaimed. Honestly, I’ve taken a big step back from it. That isn’t because of my mildly pretentious drinking attitudes but because I find it can be overwhelming at times. I’m a soaker after all. To drink or not to drink? A question you students may ask yourselves many times at uni. Just don’t follow it up with another Shakespeare quote otherwise you will get bullied at the next piss-up (speaking from experience).