East Meets West: Sipping on Sunshine and lots o’ Booze
19; It’s a special time in a Canadian kid’s life (cept in Quebec, because our French friends do things differently). We’ve made it past the teaser year of 18 where we get to buy lotto tickets and porn and reached the milestone we yearned for so deeply- legal drinking age baby. Sure, someone always had an older brother who would by 2-4 of Keith’s for a party, and we’d participate in our own Super Bad-esque shenanigans to acquire booze (I never drank beer from a Tide container, but some of the premade tequila concoctions I consumed certainly were just as toxic), but the graduation into adulthood of buying your own booze really upped the ante for dog days of summer.
When Ontario gets its right, it really gets it right, weather-wise, I mean. Some years that beautiful province would be blessed with balmy March days that would extend all the way to golden October afternoons. You know what that means? Extra long patio season!! (Or as my editor taught me a “Day Boil”. As the kids say “I stan it”).
Pass me an extra spicy, extra muddy double gin Caesar, please! Laughing and talking and getting a buzz in the sunshine was always a favourite of mine. It highlighted a feeling of being carefree and joyful. Drinking overpriced cup after cup of Bud Light Lime (shiver) at a Jay’s Game on a Saturday afternoon held the same effect; happiness. I’ve never had an alter ego from drinking, never became a cruel drunk- a good time was made better.
You’d think hailing from Kitchener and its epic Oktoberfest and being a crazy theatre kid who went to the pub every Thursday would prep me for the imbibing culture of Newfoundland. It didn’t. My darling Newfoundlanders are champions having a rousing time with a pint. When I first came into St. John’s, I marveled how three generations were all swilling their Quidi Vidi Honey Brown’s (my FAVE) while tapping their feet along to "Dirty Ole Town" at O'Reilly's on any given night like it was the Sunday night of a long weekend. Nah uh, these people knew how to make the most out of moments. Didn’t matter if it was a banger of a snowstorm that would shut down lesser cities or coveted warm day, they were there.
As already noted, summer punctuates revelry, and there are two events that punctuate the season in Newfoundland. Exhibit A- George Street Fest. I’d like to thank my lucky stars that disposable cameras were still a thing and there are no pictures of me splashed over Snap Chat or Instagram stories doing my best Beyonce impersonation or shorty getting low, low, low, low, low. Without a doubt, the aftermath was one of my top three hangovers no question. Couldn’t be helped, my older brother was in town and I had to show him/upstage him since I was the younger sibling who moved to da Rock. And Jesus Christ on a cracker, don’t even get me started on Exhibit B; playing Regatta Roulette. I mean, I won, it was a gorgeous day of the Regatta, but I took it in right hung over, so, maybe I really was the loser?
I’ve long maintained this position since being in Vancouver; this city’s patio game is weak, probably because of how expensive real estate is. But what it lacks in patios it abundantly makes up in parks and beaches. With a plethora of craft breweries and more constantly on the rise, the accessibility of filling your growlers and making it back to your patch of grass is easily accessible. I’ve even had a friend order pizza to a park (bawler). Now that’s a picnic I’d want to be part of.
I’ve stopped drinking 97 % of the time (Which directly relates as to why I have so little to say about my sunshine dranking in Vancity). Special occasions like weddings still warrant some bubbly, but for the most part, it just doesn’t feel good. This is new territory, especially while drinking season, I mean summer, is upon us. I’ve long relied on booze as “social lubricant” or as a “pressure release valve”. It doesn’t work for me. I’m not shaming anyone who has a great relationship with alcohol. I’m actually envious, I can’t sip Bacardi like it’s my birthday, though I was always more of a vodka or gin gal, and coming from a society where going for drinks is the go-to social engagement, I’m the odd duck out. Yet, I’m lucky, I don’t have friends who pressure me to drink or shun me for not drinking. That being said, I’ll still dance on a bar with you like it's Coyote Ugly; I never needed booze to do that.