Letter From a 20.9-Year-Old

Today marks the one-week countdown to the day I’ve been dreaming of since I was an 18-year-old playing “Hey Mister” in the Safeway parking lot of my hometown. (Also, I highly discourage asking strangers for alcohol—very risky. Don’t do it, kids!) On the eve of this momentous occasion, there are some memories of my past life that I am more than eager to leave behind.

No more walking confidently up to the counter of an unnamed grocery store on Jefferson, praying that the dreaded, laser-beam question doesn’t escape the cashier’s lips: “ID please?” I liken that feeling to the embarrassment of calling your teacher “mom” in the third grade: irredeemable.

And say goodbye to my shoddy response to the cashier’s ID request, in which I stumble out of the store, mumbling about leaving everything besides my money at home. “I’ll just run home really quick to grab it,” I say. We both shake our heads; we both know it’s untrue.

Farewell to the days of indebtedness to my 21-and-up pals, or those with the holy commodity known as a fake ID. “Fake” is a bit of a misnomer here; these IDs have been some of the truest of friends in times of crisis.

No longer shall I watch my 24-year-old sister indulge in a glass of merlot with her pasta primavera at a local Italian restaurant. I want merlot with my pasta primavera, too. Instead, I stare longingly, yearning to feel like an adult as I slurp my way to the bottom of a Shirley Temple. At least my drink has free refills.

Sure, this idolatry of legal drinking will probably lead to some let-downs. A lifetime of access to bars, pubs and clubs might lose its luster after a few years. But I just want some wine with my pasta—and I’m not talking about it as a side to my Top Ramen. Today, I am 20.981-years-old. In one week, I will be 21. I’ll saunter right into the nearby bar and order myself a Shirley Temple—with a shot of vodka. I may even feign surprise when the bartender asks for my ID—just for gigs. Watch out, world, and please drink responsibly.

Tess Riski, News Editor