Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Three Safety Tips for a Good Night Out

I live in Boston's Allston neighborhood. It's an area known for its diversity, its large student population, and its concentration of drinking establishments. If you've been keeping up with the Allston-Brighton Tab in recent weeks, like me, you've noticed a disturbing increase in the number of violent incidents occurring outside local bars, particularly between the hours of 1:00 and 2:00 AM. There have been small fights and minor assaults resulting in hospitalization and fines for business owners, but more recently there was a 150-person brawl at the corner of Harvard Terrace and Harvard Ave.

Allston certainly isn't a combat zone — It's a vibrant place to live with a wonderful sense of community — but if you're on the streets after 1:00 AM when the bars let out, you need to be on your guard.

Woody Allen once said that "80 percent of success is just showing up." Well, I say that at least 80% of self-defense is NOT showing up. That is, 80% of self-defense is simply keeping yourself out of the kinds of places that are likely to get you into trouble, and that includes bars full of inebriated twenty-somethings at 1:00 AM. Practicing good self-defense includes increasing your awareness, reducing your vulnerability, and avoiding bad situations altogether.

I love a cold beer and good food as much as the next guy or gal. There's plenty of it to be found in Allston. But from a self-defense standpoint, if you're going to go out for a drink in Allston, here are a few basic safety tips:

1. Drink, but don't get DRUNK. By all means, enjoy your adult beverage. But, consuming alcohol impairs your judgment, awareness, and physical ability. So, if you can't drink your adult beverage like an adult, please consider sticking to ginger ale.

2. Don't drink alone. Use the buddy system and socialize with friends who have your best interests in mind. By "friends," I do not mean your "drinking buddies." (Those are the people who might egg you on when if you get to the point in your drinking that your beer muscles need a-flexin', and they are not really your friends!)

3. Call it a night at least an hour before Last Call. One or two o'clock in the morning is no time to be at a bar. At that time of the night, you're not likely to find the guy or girl of your dreams. You're also not going to solve the world's problems, discover the cure for cancer, or be discovered by a Hollywood producer. Just go home before the trouble starts, and enjoy an extra hour of sleep.


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