Grandma & Grandpa's Farm

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Grumpy Old Man -- Drinking Problems

More Than DUI or Alcoholism

There is more to a "Drinking Problem" than driving drunk or under the influence; or issues of alcoholism to my mind — or at least not what I think people might traditionally consider.

Now I am not 100% prudish. If someone were to take a "nip" from a flask on public transit during rush hour or at a sporting event I'd look the other way — especially if they did so discretely and they were not bothering others. You must of course remember that for the most part here in Canada, drinking in public is frowned on. Meaning you aren't really allowed to drink in public unless at a licensed establishment. Of course, now many stadiums do sell alcohol, however they frown — legally — on BYOB¹. Public drunkenness is right out!

Getting back to public transit... I had the pleasure — displeasure — of sharing my bus-ride with two "gentlemen" who were travelling home from some job or practical job training which involved scaling poles or trees. They had their climbing belts and gear with them. That included rather nasty hammers, spikes, and husky ropes. I noted later that it also included some "belts". The one fellow really reminded me of my upstairs neighbour who more often than not would spend his recreational time "boozed up". It was only a short while later where I realized the resemblance -- though I admit I could be wrong and greatly biased. Here too was a man who drank whenever he was not working or at least he drank at any time he could do so. This included the time he might be commuting on the bus. I am going to assume that didn't include the time commuting to work as he likely had to be somewhat sober for work.

Granted he needn't be staggering drunk, but drunk enough that anyone around would note it and many would find themselves uncomfortable around him. His travelling partner, another fellow pole climber — who probably also worked very hard at work — was snorting back a few on the bus with him. The two of them weren't making a huge scene, but — and here is where the "drinking problems I am referring to come into play — were making the young woman (24-25) and young man (14-16) sitting by them very uncomfortable. The young man nearly jumped out of his skin when the empty "mickey²" flew past him to land on the shelf at the back of the bus.

Perhaps the high school student and the young college student should not have been upset by two hard drinking, hard working men enjoying their leisure time in their company... but we aren't talking about a pub or bar, nor even a restaurant or BBQ. We are talking about public transit just at the beginning of the rush hour. Somehow I think that people should be able to take advantage of public transit without being forced to face hard drinking.

The drinking problem is people being made uncomfortable... if I seem out of line consider this. The two men are incapable of restraining themselves from drinking for their trip home -- or even the 20 minutes the bus ride lasts. Twenty minutes is the entire duration of that bus route from start to finish. Perhaps they had had to endure a previous bus ride, but even so... if they could not wait to start drinking until the got where they were getting to, it shows that even sober they had issues of controlling their actions. These also were men carrying piked hammers and hatchets in addition to climbing spurs and ropes. They were rough looking customers who I think would take more than equal numbers of police to subdue if it ever came down to it.

So we have two fellows who "might" have problems controlling their impulses when sober, drinking on the bus while armed.

I think that this is in reality a "drinking problem" and not meaning their drinking problem but that of everyone around them.

I still haven't mentioned them talking about how they always liked to have a bottle in their pocket. That was in case someone came up behind them, so that they would always have something they could hit them across the face with, and how they never liked people who approached them from behind or who might talk behind their back... and when I heard them talking about it, I got the impression that people might pick fights with them half-way regularly. I wondered if their actions brought any of this onto themselves?

But that is the "Drinking Problem" I am referring to... that of making everyone around them uncomfortable without regard.

For that matter — yours truly even felt uncomfortable around them, not knowing what they might do — or not do — and I am not a small person.

~ Darrell


¹ BYOB -- Bring Your Own Bottle.

² A 375-ml (13.2 imperial fluid oz - 12.7 US fl oz) bottle of liquor such as whiskey.

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