I live in Utah, so it nearly goes without saying that people assume I'm also a Mormon. The assumption is correct: I am LDS. But what is harder to explain is what that really means, being a Mormon who lives in Utah. And not just Utah, but Utah County, which is perhaps the Mormoniest places in Utah. I don't really think about what it means, in fact, until I travel, and then I am reminded of just how different we Mormons are to the world.
Namely what I mean is this: we don't drink alcohol.
Being in Mexico for the past seven days has showed me that the non-drinking thing really is fairly strange. Everywhere we went seemed to be soaked in booze. A large amount of people at the pool and the beach were drunk. When we took our horseback ride on the beach (an amazing day I will blog about later once I can download my pictures), Nathan's horse was named Borracho (the Spanish word for drunk). And when we ordered our margaritas and daiquiris sin alcohol the bartenders and waiters looked at us like we were insane.
This is not me passing judgement. I'm on the liberal side of my Mormon beliefs, and part of that is the knowledge that the world in general isn't going to bend around my opinions. Plus I there's that long adolescent rebellious streak I had, and I could tell you some stories.
But I also couldn't help that my thoughts were influenced by all the drinking around me. I thought of my own wild days and I couldn't connect that part of myself with the groups of adults slurring words and tripping into the pool. I understand drinking as a form of breaking limits and pushing boundaries; I confess that I don't get it when it's just for fun. And I definitely couldn't parse the bunches of happy drunks with my sister, who is an alcoholic and has emptied her life because of it. When does the line get crossed? Why doesn't everyone cross it? Is life happier or easier with alcohol in it?
I don't know.
Because honestly, the drinking doesn't shock me. It doesn't bother me if someone else chooses to do it. This is just my very own confession to the world: I don't understand it. Probably just like the waiter at the little taco shop who asked what kind of beer I wanted and then was perplexed by my answer: no beer, solo agua. We are all of us strange, I suppose, in our own little ways, but is it odd that I'm grateful my strangeness includes not drinking?
Because there's also this: I think I'm too cheap to be a drinker anyway.