Drunk By 10
I recently visited a Chinese restaurant to pick up some take-out. It was early afternoon, and I was surprised to see their bar full with customers drinking as though their lives depended on it. To me, drinking in the afternoon is something that goes far beyond recreation. It’s a sign of a problem.
I am not speaking as someone who is puritanical and as one who has never done it in the past. I have done it, and it always seemed to feel like I was descending down twelve steps into low life. No, I'm not nor ever have been in AA. I don't even like the organization and all their higher power bullshit. To me it just seems totally foreign to be in a bar during daylight hours.
My personal favorite event of my debauchery was when a friend who lived near me in New Jersey was building a house on a lake-front lot in the Adirondacks. I was going through the area on my way to Canada and he asked if I would go to the house and take some photographs for him. I had to find his brother who lived in town by the lake. His brother had the key and would let me in. The warning was that his brother never answered his phone, but I would be able to find him usually at 8am at this bar where he had breakfast every morning.
I arrived there the night before and stayed in a motel. I got up early and drove to the bar to get the key from Roland. I was expecting an up scale place that had a lounge that served breakfast and meals until an appropriate drinking hour came about. This is not what I found. It was instead what people of my parents’ generation would call a gin mill. It was one of those hard core bars with dark and dank lighting. Any lighting was covered by this colored plastic imitation glass. There were no windows, and one couldn‘t see daylight because of the way the inner and outer doors were situated. There was a film of cigarette smoke on everything.
When my eyes adjusted I saw six locals with bellies up to the bar drinking shots and beers at 8am. I thought to my self, “What a sheltered life I’ve been living.” I was just going to get the key and leave, but then I figured, maybe I’d stay for an Adirondack breakfast myself.
I had two or three beers before my breakfast order came out. I must admit the flavor of those eggs and bacon and toast were enhanced with a slight buzz. Then I had another and another, and by 10am I was too shit faced to do anything but to return to the motel. Yes, I was driving while impaired, but I made it and slept until 4pm. I spent another night, but the next morning I was able to go to the house, take the photos, and return the key to Roland at the bar on my way out of town. I was invited to stay for breakfast, but I told my new bar fly friends that I really had to get on my way. I’ve never been back.
I wonder how people who drink that early in the day ever get anything done. Maybe it’s the motivation one needs to never accomplish anything. For some doing nothing is a full-time occupation. I only flirted with that flame.