Dear Tell All: I work on the Square and live about two miles east of there. It's very convenient for commuting, shopping and nightlife.
Whenever I stick around for happy hours with friends and strangers, I find it wonderful to be able to walk home afterward. The fresh air and the exercise are a tonic to go with the gin (or bourbon or vodka or all three) I have consumed.
The problem is that my friends don't ever want to walk with me, even when I tell them how delightful it is to dance down the sidewalk after happy hour. Even when I describe the heady sense of accomplishment at making it to one's front door without an altercation with a tree or light pole.
They aren't buying it. Instead, they tell me that walking home drunk every night is dangerous and ask if my five DUIs might be indicative of some sort of problem.
"Pfffft," I say. What do you think?
Tripping on the Light. Fantastic!
Dear Tripping (on something): I have to say that I agree with your friends - you do have a problem. I also have my doubts as to your dancing skills.
Statistics show that it is more dangerous to a binge-drinker's life to walk a mile than to drive a mile. I am certainly not advocating drunk driving, and it's true that an intoxicated walker cannot put others at risk like a motorist in the same condition can. But according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in 2007, 37% of fatally injured pedestrians had blood alcohol levels at or above 0.08 percent. Of those killed at night, 54% had high blood alcohol levels. The trouble comes when drunk walkers lurch into the road unexpectedly, sleep on the side of the road and, probably, find the gutter somewhat comforting.
You're also at higher risk of being mugged by marauding gangs who are looking for people like you. Ever hear the phrase "rolling a drunk"?
Take the advice your friends have given you. Don't drive, stop walking and get some help.