As a nineteen-year old male in the United States I am very limited to the places I can socialize and drink beers with friends the same age as myself. This angers me, and it confuses me. I am old enough to have a full-time job, pay taxes, go to war, serve, fight, and die for my country. But drink a sip of alcohol or even enter a bar that serves alcohol... NO WAY IN HELL.
Of course there are loopholes like there is with anything in this crazy world. I could buy a fake ID or pay a bouncer outside to let me enter. That will certainly make my wallet lighter, which is not at all my objective before I even take a sip of beer. The system is severely flawed and shows no signs of fixing itself.
That is why to me, London is freedom. Real freedom, not the garbage my government back in America constantly shoves down its people throats every day. Here I can do as I please, have a casual drink with friends in a relaxing bar setting with a few waitresses dress in black with some 1990’s music in the background. Or I can get entirely pissed, steamed up, with a couple guys during an Arsenal football match in a pub right outside the teams’ home stadium.
I love all kinds of beer. Pale ales, bitter Lagers, dark beer served at room temperature, blonde beer served “Extra Cold” for us cranky Americans. Everyone has a distinct quality that makes it unique and special.
The feeling I get as I walk up to a bartender and order a beer is indescribable to me, mostly because I had never really had the opportunity back home. I finally can have the customer and bartender rapport that has thus far eluded me my entire life. I can ask him what he recommends, without him looking back at me with a stare that tells me I am about to get shut down. Rather just the opposite, he smiles, takes a second to consider his favourite beer, then reconsider because there has to be so many running through his mind, before finally sharing his deepest thoughts. “That sounds great, I’ll have one of those,” I would say as obviously I wouldn’t be dumb enough to go against a professional’s opinion.
Still, I know that the freedom I feel now in London is ticking to an end each day. Soon I will be back in America, where I am not of legal age, and consequently go back to being an equal to an infant at the bars. When I leave London in 11 days I will be relinquishing my freedom to consume alcohol legally, and I am not happy about it.