by Tom Molloy
Imagine waking up at 9am on a Sunday during a global pandemic. Someone is rattling some dishes in the kitchen downstairs, a lawnmower gently whirrs in the distance, your throat is ticklish, and your head is pounding. You’ve definitely got Covid. Nothing to do with the eleven bottles of Peroni you drank throughout the course of your Zoom meeting last night.
They say every cloud has a silver lining so perhaps we could try to learn a thing or two during this most unprecedented of unprecedented times. For a country famous for drinking, we really have a woefully unhealthy relationship with alcohol. Every occasion warrants a drink, birthdays, weddings, funerals, christenings, the local GAA team winning, the local GAA team losing, your brother-in-law getting a new job, your brother-in-law getting fired from his new job, your brother-in-law getting initiated into a cult, the list goes on. Before 2020, the pub was the heartbeat of the community. Nothing can happen without it being dissected and analysed by the town elders. When the Taoiseach announced we were going into lockdown back in March the question on the lips of many was “what about the pub?”
The off licenses must be profiting massively from this pandemic and that’s only considering the business they’ve taken from the pub. They’re doing even better if people are in fact drinking more because we’re in a pandemic. That’s the real question.
thejournal.ie published research done by the Global Drugs Survey back in September that found that over half of people were drinking more frequently since the onset of the pandemic. Perhaps more worryingly, there has also been an increase in the number of people drinking alone since March and, yes, drinking whilst on a Zoom call is still drinking alone.
So, what can we as a society learn from this pandemic that might help us in the future? Perhaps that we should re-evaluate our relationship with alcohol. Start by learning better coping skills. Wasting away the days by drinking a bottle of wine every evening won’t make Covid go away. It’s a very stupid, yet very human, thing to do to make yourself unhealthier whilst in the middle of a pandemic. Also, when things return to normal, participate in more non-alcohol-centric social events. Is this pandemic making anyone else really miss simple things like the cinema?
So where will we all be the night after this pandemic is declared over? That’s right, the pub. But the night after that? I don’t know, powerwalking or something.