Have A Drink.

A taxi parked in front of a liquor store. I guess he’s the designated driver.

I have a thing about drinking and driving and that thing is that I don’t. There have been times when I probably could—the other night my wife and I met some friends after work and since I was driving I just had iced tea, and we ended up hanging out long enough that I could have had a beer and passed even the most sensitive breathalyzer, but hindsight never wears beer goggles. And it’s just a personal thing—most people, I assume, are responsible and know their limits, although my own wariness of mixing a drink and a drive mostly comes from a night that my wife and I were driving home. Well, she was driving and I was riding. It was a dark and stormy night and as we approached a hill we could see a car coming toward us. Then it swerved into our lane.

“He doesn’t see us,” my wife said.

She stopped. He swerved again and drove off the yard into someone’s front yard.

We got out and talked to him a bit. He was a young guy and he admitted he’d been drinking. He worked at a bar and had a few during his shift and probably a few more before he got in his car to drive to a friend’s house. He may have even been underage: in these parts you have to be twenty-one to drink alcohol but only eighteen to sell it, which is why whenever I buy beer at the grocery store I always head to the oldest-looking cashier I can find, but that’s another story.

It also came out in our brief conversation that my wife was right: he hadn’t seen us. He thought we’d come up behind him and only stopped to see if he was okay. He didn’t realize that, if we’d kept going, he would have hit us at full speed and the odds were pretty good I wouldn’t be around to tell you this story.

Anyway that’s why this ad campaign for the Nashville bus promoting a beer route tickles me so much. There are twenty small breweries in Nashville by my count, and eighteen of them listed on this bus tour promotion—and most of those are right on a bus route, although Yazoo, which is currently within walking distance of where I work, is moving to nearby Madison, Tennessee because it’s expanding.

Nashville’s buses are notoriously irregular and for some reason they haven’t put any of this information online—the local MTA ain’t exactly what I’d call tech savvy even though they’ve added wifi to pretty much all buses now. Also does it strike anyone else as weird that you have to be twenty-one to visit most brewery web sites? Check out the Jackalope Brewing site–because it’s got a cool story and they make really good beer, but it’s not like you’re going to drink any of it from the website. Or if you know a way to get beer through a website please share it because it’ll make my afternoon commute a lot more interesting. Anyway it’s just weird to me that you can pick up this flier advertising local breweries on a bus regardless of your age, but visiting the Black Abbey Brewery web site requires you to be at least twenty-one.

The important thing here, though is that the idea of letting someone else do the driving is something I’ll drink to.

12 Comments

  1. Ann Koplow

    I’m just glad you’re still around to tell these stories, Chris.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Stories are one of the things that keep us all going, and I’m glad you’re part of this story.

      Reply
  2. The Huntress915

    I”m with Ann, I’m happy that you are still here, thanks to your sober (no pun intended) and mature sense of right when it comes to drinking and driving!

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I’ve made it a strict policy to only get behind the wheel in the backseat after I’ve been drinking, which makes it hard to reach the pedals. And it is amazing how much a brush with death will mature you.

      Reply
  3. Arionis

    Ah beer. I miss it. Think they would let me go on the tour and just smell the beer or would that creep people out?
    Arionis recently posted…Humor In UniformMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      It would not creep people out if you just smelled the beer. Or if you really want to you could tour the Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg where they’ll only let you smell it and it’s against the law to sample it. And their big vats of mash smell like beer.

      Reply
  4. Moonwatcher51

    Good advice and you are a great ambassador for Nashville. I know when I finally visit your city it will feel very comfortable and I’ll look at it with a clear perspective.
    Moonwatcher51 recently posted…Hello world!My Profile

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I hope you visit Nashville sometime soon and enjoy it here.

      Reply
  5. Allison

    That is brilliant. I have to say, I know a handful of people in Nashville who got DUIs – that was in the pre-Uber/Lyft era.

    Like you, I’m careful. When I was dating my husband, we went to a party in his honor at Blackstone. I got there, had a beer. Finished it, and four hours later, I drove us – so, I felt pretty comfortable with my sobriety.

    I got pulled over at a mass checkpoint stop on West End – in my case, going 47 in a 35. They asked if I had been drinking and I answered honestly. I got pulled into the parking lot of what at the time was an Electronics Express, and got the field sobriety test. I passed.

    The officer administering it had a wicked stutter, which was memorable. When he saw my Georgia plates and DL, and we had a good time chatting about the Braves. He cited me for not having my most recent insurance card, and I paid the $12 admin fee, gave proper proof of insurance, and that was that.

    Now, I won’t drink AT ALL if I’m driving. Typically, I just don’t drink, but I do like a beer from time to time.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Now I want Georgia plates because I could totally talk to a cop about the Braves–and especially how great Freddie Freeman is. I may not have to worry about being pulled over for a DUI but I might be pulled over for something else.

      Reply
  6. Grace

    I wish I could tell you that I never drove after drinking. In my defense though it was something I did in the young dumb phase. (not a defense but you get my point) I am happy that I managed to be a better influence to my children…air mattresses everywhere for anyone that opens a drink

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      We all do stupid things we regret when we’re young, and I probably would have driven after drinking if I hadn’t gotten my license at the age of 37. It bothers me that the kid who was drunk and driving almost hit us, but I also hope he learned an important lesson from that experience. And it’s really cool that you’re prepared to prevent your own kids from drinking and driving.

      Reply

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