You’d be surprised how fast a pachyderm can appear in one’s living quarters. You’re hosting a party for some friends, sipping drinks, feeling no pain, and then one of your cohort stands up and says, “Got to be going.” And there’s the elephant in the room.
Your guest is clearly drunk. But you don’t want to be a dreary spoilsport by insisting on calling a taxi, or asking for the keys and risking an argument. So you smile, say “Thanks for coming,” and ignore the grey beast that is now crowding the living room.
A friend is about to drive drunk. And you are letting it happen.
The Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) is aware of the social pressure that sometimes leads people to condone decisions they know to be bad. The agency has a website called Deflate the Elephant, designed to help people be great hosts and not enable drunk driving.
Deflate the Elephant offers hosting tips that go far beyond the usual tips about designating drivers and having non-alcoholic drinks available. The site reminds hosts to organize sporting fun before drinking starts (much safer) and to prepare a guest room before the party, to make it easier for friends to stay over.
There are also profiles of specific hosts whose methods are worth emulating. One, who has parties on his lake cottage, doesn’t bring out alcohol until the boating is done for the day. Another couple, who are farmers, almost turn their house into a bed-and-breakfast. So enticing is their food and hospitality that one would be foolish not just to drive home impaired on a country road at night, but to skip out on the next morning’s fresh Portobello burgers.
While the site offers very comprehensive advice on responsible hosting, the message is not preachy or smug. Rather, it promotes a healthy view of entertaining, one that makes responsible choices very appealing. It just might be the best anti-drunk-driving site out there.