The United States of Alcohol

The USA – like every place in the world – has a strange relationship with booze. Sites like Texts From Last Night (one of my favourite websites ever) couldn’t exist without gems like this: (952):Fuck winter. I had to scrape my windshield, shoeless, after the walk of shame so I could go home.”, and (in Cali at least) you can buy Jack Daniels in three sizes at 2am in the Pharmacy. That’s if you don’t prefer to just admit you’re buying booze at 2am and go to a liquor store.

I was in there with a friend, buying tequila. I won't lie.

Yet the people I seem to know don’t seem to drink all that much.

Whoever decorated this bar room bathroom was drinking

Who is drinking all this booze? I swear, it’s not me. A bit of Napa Valley cabernet, a bit of Chilian Sauvignon Blanc, and this one Semillon from Trader Joe’s… and I’m too busy.

More of the same... actually I'm not sure that's booze. Looks more like the painter was high on Zoloft.

I’ll tell you where a lot of it is being drunk: That’s the dive bars, like Paul’s Cocktails, and The Cherry Pit. And there’s one near me that is so divey it doesn’t even really have a name… or a draft beer option apart from Bud Lite. I just see the smokers spilling out when I stop by the Fresh & Easy for an avocado or a microwave meal after class. By 10pm, I can tell you, they don’t look fresh. Easy? I guess. I remember when easy used to be such a nice word.

A picture in the toilet of The Cherry Pit. Gives the term "arty farty" a whole new meaning.

Like standing on one leg while drinking a beer to show you're sober, this is not something anyone will ever do while sober. Ever.

America’s dive bars are wonderful. They’re the best – they’re all about drinking – and talking. But they’re not overdressed, or overly clever. They’re good at what they do. I’ve never had a bad martini. In fact, I wish they weren’t so damn good. If they weren’t so damn good, I wouldn’t always have two of them. And then my life would be so, so much simpler.

This just in
: The latest item of concern on campus is over caffeinated booze. The administration sent out a mail detailing the advantages dangers of mixing stimulants and liquor. Details in this story.

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2 Responses to “The United States of Alcohol”

  1. Shannon Says:

    Delightful. The best thing about dive bars is becoming a regular at one. This was particularly important to me in college, when being at an all-women’s school meant that the local dive bar, frequented by the townies, was a break from pretentiously intellectual conversation and, well, women.

    Liquor laws vary state to state. One of the things I love about Texas is you can buy beer in the gas station, despite laws about drinking and driving. This flummoxes my best friend from Massachusetts, where it’s much more tightly regulated (only sold at liquor stores, not on Sundays, etc).

  2. jeanbarker Says:

    Glad you like it. Yep, someone was telling me about Texas. The way America’s laws change from state to state still really confuses me. It confuses Americans, too, I think. Also wonder if it makes everyone less likely to leave, because the world within one country really does feel true – even if only because it’s confusing enough to be a whole world. Also explains how they could think Africa is a kind of united states… never realised any of this stuff until I lived here.

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