The Catholic will talk to you.
Or so the joke goes.
I don’t drink anymore. I had to give it up for health reasons. I think I miss it most on these brisk fall days. Sitting on the patio with a cold beer just sounds so much better than sitting on the patio with my big glass of not-beer-in-any-way-shape-or-form. But I love to get other people drunk for my entertainment. It’s my consolation prize.
Since I am the main errand runner in my family, I am still the one who goes to The Liquor Store, even though I don’t partake in any of my purchases. So I procure but do not deplete the supply. Another great bonus to my being One Who Does Not Drink, is that there is always a sober person to drive back to the liquor store if ever our libations dwindle too low. *gasp* I am a great asset in social drinking situations. It’s like having an EMT parent at your kid’s ballgame. Yep, practically the same thing.
But I will let you in on a little secret. There is something I have to confess: this is my favorite errand. I love going to The Liquor Store. I was so glad when Gwinnett County ended its reign of dryness and then even gladder when we got our first local liquor store, the Beverage Superstore of Grayson. It makes me so happy for some weird reason. It puts me in a great mood. Even the name suggests greatness. I get giddy when I pull into the parking lot. There are cars that have just been detailed to waxy perfection and cars that might not even make it to their next destination. The Liquor Store is a great equalizer.
As the automatic doors slide open, I feel like Charlie entering the Wonka gates. I have a Golden Ticket. My favorite time to go to the get my brown-bagged treasures is as early as possible in the morning. I am in good company during this time. I always wonder if my fellow perusers are just riding their caffeine high and trying to get as much done as possible on this java wave or if they are desperately groping for the hair of the dog. I have seen both. And each can be equally entertaining.
On this particular trip, and true to the irony of life, the man desperate for the hair of the dog is short on hair atop his head. He shuffles defeatedly toward the whiskey. He hesitates and then reaches familiarly. I’m guessing there is an empty wagon rolling around somewhere with his name on it. A couple aisles over, I hear one of the employees describe a bottle of wine to a patron, “….this is my favorite right now. It is a 2007 which makes it amazing… It is unfiltered, so you will have some sediment. But that also means it is more pure… This wine is truly magical….”
And sold. I mean, who wouldn’t want to try a “magical” wine?
The Liquor Store is also the place I gather the building blocks to construct my loved one’s drink-of-choice. Knowing someone’s preferred drink is important information. It is kind of like knowing how to make their eggs. Or knowing what kind of pillow they like to sleep with. Or knowing how they fold their towels. It’s part of “getting” who they are.
As I continue to roam the neatly stocked aisles, enjoying the bottled scenery, I make my way to today’s desired section. I try to notice as many of the labels as I can. I admire the wit of some of these creative craftsmen. Red wines, especially, seem to have a leg up on creative names and labels. I think I could write a whole article on just red wine labels. A few of my favorites: Zin-Phomaniac, Sofa King Bueno, The Immortal Zin, Red Right Hand, and if you see kay. I just had to laugh at all of them.
Once I have my items, I make my way toward the checkout. A couple other of my fellow patrons funnel toward the cashier with me. I notice the locked glass cabinet, and I see the Hennessy Paradis with its $999.99 price tag. Then I just have to wonder: what would have to happen in my life for me to want to celebrate by strolling in and dropping a big $K on rare cognac….
As I wonder this point, I stand in line behind the trailer park mom with her cigarette pack bulging in her back pocket and Mr. Mercedes whose cologne might be more intoxicating than the high end gin he has tucked under his arm. I would love to pick each of their brain. I bet there is an interesting story about that tattoo I see peeking out under this matriarch’s thinning ponytail. And I would love to know what this man wants to hide about himself with the distraction of his flashy pinky ring. And then there is me: just about the middlest of the road as you can get. But here we are, together for a moment.
Here in the Liquor Store, there is the promise of memories made. Or of memories forgotten. Either way, there is so much potential. Here, in The Liquor Store, is where great stories begin. Funny stories, heartbreaking stories. This true beginning of the story might not be included when your yarning friend captivates his listeners about infamous parties of yore. But it is the assumed beginning.
I’m sure I have a captivating story whose fundamental beginning is, “It all started when I ran inside Kroger and picked up a six-pack of Fiji water…..” but I’m having trouble remembering it. But just wait…when I do figure out that story, I will entertain the pants off of you.
***Please drink responsibly. Or don’t. I’m just writing about a place I enjoy. Your experiences there and your choices thereafter are your own. ****