The bane of my senior year existence
That would be my Driver’s License, which boldly proclaims me “Under 21 until 3/2/11.” Yeah, I’m 20. I’m a senior in college (grad student, technically), I’m underage, and it is terrible.
I’m also sick of the reaction. I’m tired of being gaped at: “What? You’re not 21?” And I’m tired of then being asked when my birthday is. “No, it’s not coming up soon, so don’t ask. I don’t want to talk about it.”
Last week, I got kicked out of a bar at 9:12. The place starts carding at the door at 9. I was totally sober, I had been there since dinner, and I was helping a friend celebrate her birthday. But once the bouncer came around to check IDs, I was immediately shuffled out the door. In fact, he wouldn’t even allow me the time to call for a ride. “Can’t you do that outside?” was his response when I asked for a few minutes.
But do not get the wrong impression of me. I really don’t care about alcohol. I don’t care about buying it, and I don’t care about drinking it. Besides, all my friends and roommates are 21, so if I wanted to drink, it wouldn’t be very difficult.
The problem is I can’t go anywhere. Well, at least not anywhere exciting. I’m sick of the pub-style bars that are basically just restaurants with lousy food. I want to go out, but all the fun places in Columbia card at the door. So I can’t get in, and that’s really no fun when everyone I know can — and does. I don’t mean to sound super whiny, because my friends like to do a lot of other things too, so it’s not like I have nothing to do on weekends.
But on principle, it’s really, really frustrating. I understand a place not wanting a bunch of high schoolers hanging around — that would be lame — but why not find another way? At the University of Illinois, the bars require you to be 19, so pretty much all the college students can get in, but they have to be 21 if they want to drink. That would be a good plan. Besides, if you really want to stop underage drinking, carding to get the alcohol would be a lot more effective than carding to get in.
I would be totally fine with whatever branding is deemed necessary. Give me a wristband, mark both my hands with Xs, write “Underage” on my forehead. I don’t care. Just let me in so I can hang out with my friends and enjoy college nightlife — and not just for the last three months of my four years.