Recently spent two evenings lurching down memory lane with a college buddy in from the West Coast, no Benadryl or Epi-pens involved. The lurching was due to visiting some of the haunts where we had whiled away a few evenings debating the meaning of life, swapping stories of our latest adventures and dancing off stress. My companion for this time travel was was Ted, gentle readers who know him IRL already know this means a visit to every bar from our salad days. For those of you that are fans of 70’s TV, his blog pseudonym comes from a M*A*S*H episode, enough said*. He took me to my first bar in the States and taught me how to tip for drinks, so this re-visit, complete with new lessons, was particularly apropos. (Point of clarification, I'm not completely without social graces. I'd turned 21 in the Philippines--had been traveling/living in countries w/out the drinking age restrictions or tipping so I missed out on that all-American rite of passage.)
I’ve always preferred caffeine to alcohol, ordering like Radar O’Reilly never botheres me. These days the grape Nehi’s all have corn syrup or other corn derivatives, the only really safe drink is a bottle of natural mineral water; something like a Perrier or San Pellegrino is perfect. Not all bottled water is corn free; I’ve been poisoned by Dasini and Aquafina which makes me leery of any purified municipal water that has minerals added.
I’m great to take out for drinks – as I’ve had pointed out soooooo often by friends and family, the allergy makes me a cheap date. No fancy-shmancy $12 cocktails for this gal. Another point in my favor is happy designated driver status, no worries with me at the wheel. Two points – however, going out for a drink in a college town wipes the board clean. Unless you have someone like Ted along to charm the bartender into grabbing some Perrier from the restaurant next door, it’s a cup of water from the drinks gun (definite cross contamination) in a plastic cup (possible use of corn oil on the cup) with a straw (ditto) and, if you are really lucky, a corn-waxed wedge of lime. I was there for the conversation not a drink, so no problem for me. Happy and laughing is a good day in my book. Great friend + witty conversation, what more could I really want? Ted’s chivalry kept bubbling up, so off we’d go to the next den of iniquity in search of good music (abysmal failure) and the elusive Perrier. In two nights on the town, one bar and one restaurant out of an entire college town managed a corn-free cold drink. Not even the nice gay bar could do better than a glass of water. *shrug*
I can’t say that the lack of options of this bothers or surprises me. Three lessons, I guess. One, I need to get out more (surprise!). Two, you can’t expect to get a grown-up drink in a college bar. Three, if you do want to have something to drink, listen to your Uncle Ted: be prepared; throw a couple of chilled bottles in that big bag with the Epi-pens and Benadryl; smile; show your medical alert tag; explain nicely and ask if you can pay a corkage** fee for bringing your own drink. If they don’t want to charge you, be sure to tip well.
**Yes I know it’s a screw top on the water, humor me.
*It's so difficult to adequately describe a friend in less then a few pages, they come off sounding so mono-dimensional. The best I can do in a small space is to say Ted is a bit of Hawkeye Pierce combined with Captain Sam Vimes and Ocsar Wilde with a soupcon of Ford Prefect. He has a wicked wit covered by a angelic grin that would make Michelangelo weep. Still missing a lot, but for now it will have to do.