Mark didn't think it was a good idea, going into the ABC store at mid-day, but I thought it was fine. Growing up in New York I remember Mom putting a bottle of scotch or vodka into the cart along with the rest of the groceries--there it was on the shelf, and it was no big deal to buy a bottle now and then. When we lived in LA the Safeway across the street from us sold "Fresh Fish" and "Liquor," according to the signs outside--to us it always looked like they were advertising "Fresh Fish Liquor" and we used to refer to our occasional booze purchases as such. Buying booze at the grocery store seems so wholesome and normal.
The ABC store, though, with its haze of stale cigarette smoke and even staler regrets, does feel a little seedy, especially at mid-day. But I wanted bourbon for a marinade (really! 1/4 cup each bourbon and low-sodium soy sauce, 2 tbl. brown sugar--a great marinade for two one-pound pork tenderloins) and I braved the atmosphere. There was a well-dressed guy in a bow tie picking up some good gin, and I brought my bourbon to the counter proudly, ignoring the tiny bottles of schnapps that sit next to the counter, like packs of gum in the grocery store. Does anyone just throw a couple into the cart at the last minute, as they might the gum? I don't know.
So all was well until I went to sign the electronic signature pad, and my signature came out looking like I had the shakes. I tried to laugh it off: "my signature always looks terrible on these things" and the clerk said "everyone's does" with a mixture of condescension and, um, was it derision? Did he think "everyone" had the shakes? Doesn't he know my signature looks just like that at the grocery store, too? (Where, sadly, they don't even sell beer and wine, let alone bourbon or fish liquor...)
But even that would have been ok. I know, after all, that my signature always comes out weird on those things. Backing out of the narrow parking lot--really, just keeping my foot on the clutch and rolling--I was thinking more about my signature than the telephone pole which I, therefore, bumped. Rather gently, but still. It's pretty scarred up, that telephone pole.
I guess a lot of people are buying bourbon at mid-day.