Thursday, February 5, 2009


I'm not pulling your leg.

Of course, I would never do that.

The first time I [ever] came in contact with the scent of booze-on-breath was three years ago while out of town at my initial training for my current job. I was 23.

Grow up in Happy Valley, Utah, and They (who are They anyway?) will say that you had yourself a sheltered childhood.

Oh, what a stereotype.

Oh, what truth.

I was sheltered. And I was happy. And I'm happy about it.

(And the way that I know that my childhood was happy is that the scent of the last bit of smoke from a snuffed candle calls to mind birthdays and cake. Even if I'm sprawled in Savasana in Yoga and one of the ambiance-candles snuffs itself. So there I am on my back, eyes closed, doing my bestest to clear my mind (yeah, right) and a memory makes its way up my nose and suddenly, my clarifying Savasana has become chocolate frosting and cheap wax.)

I'm 26 years old and I don't know what an adult beverage tastes like.

Friends at work know I'm a Mormon and won't choose liquor over water when the waiter inquires (again--why would you drink your calories when you can eat them instead?), and they have never pressured me or even suggested that I take a taste.

(Believe it or not, your Young Women's leaders were lying to you when they said that you would most certainly be pressured to drink, so it's awfully important to practice your adamant No! It's against my religion! right now. Experience tells me that a simple, No thanks, I'll have water is suitable and polite in that it doesn't make your dinner companions feel unnecessarily uncomfortable.)

They don't care if I don't drink and I don't care if they do, so long as they're not driving.
Agency, friends. Agency. Respect it.

But these coworkers have told me that if ever I do decide to give Something Stronger a go, to please, please, please call them for the show. Sure. No problem.

Don't wait by the phone.

Since that first whiff three years ago (at first one might think the emanating stench is a result of scarfing crap rather than sipping Cosmopolitans), I have learned what makes a martini dirty, what people look like when rip-roaring drunk and why being in such a state in public is a bad idea.

I've learned that though vodka stinks, it's red wine on someone's breath that makes me gag; I've learned that it's very tough to discuss the merits of your drug when you're doing your best not to vomit into the doctor's glass of bloody liquid.

Since my associates know that I don't drink and am thus naive to the whole concept, I'm not bashful about using questions to learn all I can. My learnin' even comes in handy at times. Like when I'm at dinner with a doctor and he begins rambling about his hobby: collecting rare Tequila (huh?), and I'm able to sip my water and follow the conversation and even contribute when the discussion turns to the slow demise of the blue agave. (A sad thing indeed.)

One coworker in particular is a great resource for my questions. Why that beer instead of this one? A "head" is the foam, right? Do you like champagne? Why not? What does "proof" mean? What does a hangover actually feel like? Why in the world do you have a two-thousand-dollar bottle of wine in your house? Are you going to drink it? And just what does a single hundred-dollar sip do for you?

My very own Boozipedia, answering every question in depth and without condescension, curing my childlike ignorance.

So for me: join the world of pharmaceutical sales and learn about intoxicants. Drugs and alcohol, baby.


Whitney said...

I'm with you--age 27 now and never had a taste, but I can sure talk about it (I do disagree, however, with the peer pressure thing--as an adult there is none--but in high school outside of Utah I faced a LOT of pressure to drink--it is funny how people feel uncomfortable if they are doing wrong and you won't join them). Funny thing is, before my husband and I married, he worked for a beer distributor and coke and rum was his drink of choice. Now, he is a Word of Wisdom keeper, we are temple sealed, and his co workers (fellow Army officers) think he is the biggest waste of alcohol knowledge on the planet. I say our knowledge keeps us from being freaks that can't talk nor relate with people who are not of our faith AKA a good missionary tool.

rookie cookie said...

I think white wine smells the worst. Hate the stench.

Yeah, I have been offered a drink COUNTLESS times and each time, I was respected. I was never interrogated about my reasons. No was enough. I might have been asked why and I when told I was Mormon, they got it. I never sensed any real pressure because I was secure in my decision to not drink and they knew that.

Off the subject, when I was pregnant with Jack, I was given far more respect from dirty, smoking car mechanics at work than I was ever given by Priesthood holders at church. Out in the world, there are good people and they even drink and smoke. Imagine that.

Anonymous said...

Being 18 I have already had many experiences with alcohol. My family is full of wine-y's and beer drinkers and of course who doesn't enjoy a hefty rum and coke?

I would love to say I have never tasted of any of it, and that I have steered clear of it having an influence in my life. But when my aunt told me kaluha tasted like lemonade i had to try. no really my own decision...

there are AMAZING people in this world that partake. and you know what would make them a million times better? if they didn't.

keep being naive, sometimes it's healthy.

HBC said...

I enjoyed this post. I also hate hate hate the smell of booze on the breath. Makes me want to gag.
p.s. Your blog is refreshing and i like it.

Andrea said...

You are so funny! Be proud of your innocence! Why can't I spell anymore???