I didn't have to turn 18 to finally taste what some people have and want to do in secret; I believe I wasn't even a teenager yet when I had my first sip of beer. If you count shandy, then I think I was still in kindy when I had that first sip.

So in a way, I'm a sip-'veteran' when it comes to drinking alcohol.
But bingeing, now, I'm barely gonna even go there.
It. Is. Bad.
Almost as bad as smoking, with more short-term ills, but perhaps not as damaging long-term.

While some people's tolerance to alcohol is sky-high, there are those who can barely get past half a pint before they start becoming a different person. Sometimes it can be a comedic spectacle, but at other times, it's not so funny.

Now, for the former group of people, it takes a lot more than half a pint to get them excited; maybe a gallon before they start acting differently. But surely, everyone gets a little giddy and uninhibited with some alcohol.

I think my threshold is 2 pints.
**
My father prefers wine over beer. He likes to have a beer or some wine with me over TV with some tidbits when the opportunity presents itself.

I can't remember a time when my father ever drank himself to euphoria; he has much better self-control than that, I'd like to believe. Or maybe it's because he has to drive (responsibly) us all home too.

Last night, he and I had some white wine. I don't know whether it was the wine or whether it's because I'm leaving back for Oz in a few days or what, but what he said wasn't something I'd hear every so often.

Let's digress a little and come back to the point in a bit.

I don't know about you but my parents don't normally tell me stories at length about their childhood or how much times have changed that some things were definitely much better in the past. I'd hear bits and pieces about old(ancient) technology, about how toilets were rudimentary and detached from their homes, of New Villages, the resettlement and how 1Malaysia was evident then without having to have a slogan and logo plastered everywhere, about doing outdoor activities without having to worry about the dangers of kidnappers, murderers and thieves.
I'd get fragments of life back then from them, but they wouldn't talk about it like how they would when they lecture me about what I should and shouldn't do, among other things. Bummer.
So here's the dish. I didn't need their old stories to feel that maybe, just maybe, our 'Life Satisfaction' would be higher if we'd lived in the past. I'm sure a lot of people would disagree with me when I say that; exclamations such as "I can't do without my computer games", or "I can't live without the internet" or "What will I do without Facebook/Twitter?!??" are bound to be voiced.
But if they(our parents and forefathers) lived then, and if we never knew about these things then, then we can't miss them if we never knew about them in the first place, right? Besides, it's not the ice age I'm suggesting. Maybe 30-40 years ago. During our parents' teenage years.

But yes, once you're given a luxury, it slowly becomes a necessity and letting it go would cause mayhem.

So back to our wine-drinking yesterday, my father started telling me stories of his boyhood days of cycling miles from home to the nearest beach (about three hours away) with some of his friends and going camping. They weren't out of high school and were without any parental or adult guidance.
Now this is what I call "hitting the road."
They'd buy plenty of canned food, pitch a tent from canvas and sticks (not those with the flick of the arm and it transforms into a pretty tent), and if that wasn't enough for some days of heavy rain, they'd find shelter under the wooden sheds used by peddlers at the beach.
I presume this is one of those things that topped the list of "Things to Do during the holidays" for them. It sounded idyllic. So easy, so carefree.

In the middle of his story-telling, I wondered to myself and eventually voiced out "So what do you do when you're there? Do you play cards, play ball... how do you fill the time?"

It was then I realised that I've been living in the 20th-21st century long enough such that physical outdoor activity is perplexing when it is done all day. This is what I've become. And a whole lot of people around my age too, I believe.

After a pause, my father said that now, you can't just let your kids out on the road, much less a camping trip by themselves. The days when one can hitchhike from town to Port Dickson, times have certainly changed in the present.
That those camping days of old, were his 'some of the most wonderful times.'

I felt very happy but poignant all the same at those words.

There is no way for things to go back to the way they were. I know that I'm not that old nor am I dying of some terminal illness, and that I still have years ahead of me, but I can't help wondering how life would be like if I had lived in the 60's or 70's.
Now, we're driven by the rush to the top, of material things, where sharing comes with some hidden mistrust, where being simple sometimes is thought of as being feeble, where money is a coveted object, where status is measured by wealth of tangible things. Life isn't complex, but we have made it so by what we have become.

The booze isn't doing the talking now, in this afternoon. I'd like a little more stories to hear, to bring me back as though I had lived those years, maybe for a while, like an escape.
Here's to you. Cheers*

Wealth without work,
Pleasure without conscience,
Knowledge without character,
Commerce without morality,
Science without humanity,
Worship without sacrifice,
Politics without principles

-Mahatma Gandhi-