A few groups of us playing golf, at the Brooke yesterday, were caught stranded by an extremely heavy downpour as we were putting out on the 12th green – it always happens when you are at the furthest point from the clubhouse! So we had to all huddle together in the little cabin there for about 20 minutes. Most of the conversation revolved around the Zimbabwean drinking Culture (sic) interspersed with the driving that happens immediately thereafter. Our Scandinavian counterpart told us all how there is zero tolerance for drink driving in his part of the world and that you will definitely end up in prison if you were stopped by police on the way home.
We do, I believe, need to relook (yet again!) at how we as a community view the consumption of alcohol. It would seem that kids start talking about drinking soon after they enter high school. They overhear older pupils conversing at break time “bragging” about how blotto they were at Saturday night’s party – “Don’t know how I got home but, hey, did I have a hangover the next day!” – as if they had just been awarded their colours for drinking.
The one aspect of drinking that I never participate in is “Shooters” – I see no rhyme or reason for throwing these vile drinks down one’s throat trying to impress our peers.
In Australia, many folks pop into their local “RSL” Clubs (ex-Military) where they meet others for a drink or ten. Every RSL has their own “Drinks Kombi” that will collect you from your home and take you back as a group whenever you have finished drinking. They are, apparently, loads of fun with music being played amid lots of late night humour. All for free! Most of these type of pubs actually have a breathalyser stuck to the wall as you leave – it is mandatory to blow into this as you depart with a loud noise ringing out if you are above the limit. I was once given a lift home, during the day, by a past drink driving offender who had had a special lock placed by police on his steering wheel that was linked to a breathalyser – the car wouldn’t start if he was over a certain limit!
There are more and more venues opening up around town that we all know people visit clearly intending to drink an excessive amount of alcohol. Surely the time has come for the more profitable ones to buy one or two “Drinks Kombis” – part of their Corporate Social Responsibility? Maybe Zimra can introduce a tax credit for the costs involved? The Kombi could be painted with loud company colours so that all know that its services are available.
In summary, I feel that we all need to engage in a conversation about what is an acceptable level of alcohol consumption – we don’t want to remove it completely from our realms but we don’t want excess – everything in moderation including what constitutes drink driving – I would like to see limits of say 4 beers with heavy penalties if exceeded – a warning maybe if just under that limit?
Just food for thought. Cheers. Mike G.