Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Awww Geez...

Dammitall, now I'm pissed again. This time it is for a far more pedestrian reason. Have you seen this article? One of those " is this in the paper of record?" mail-it-in, lazy ass, New York Times summer break puff pieces, it delves into the phenomenon of public drinking in New York City.

Fine. They can't all be peaches, as Laree Love likes to say.

Except it does not describe Public Drinking in New York City. It describes Public Drinking in the New York City of the Writers of the New York Times. You may have seen this New York on your map. It shares a border with the New York City of Public Radio. There is an interesting photo from this area at the top of the article, showing Young Educateds waving bottles of white wine around Bryant Park, in front of the New York Public Library, prepping for a free viewing of "Breakfast at Tiffany's" or "Jules and Jim". Charming.

Later, we are transported by the article to the soul-scrapingly hip neighborhood of Williamsburg for a lesson in what the freshly minted (and muddled?) writing class are drinking while they take in their craft sales and noise bands at McCarren Pool. Here, white wine is for those stuffy Brown grads in Bryant park. We went to Bard...Pabst Blue Ribbon, bitch!

And you know, I have no problem with any of that. True, my keyboard seems to sift all my thoughts through some sort of USB-enabled class warfare filter I don't remember installing, but hey, as a veteran public drinker, even the stratospheric levels of hypocrisy I allow myself would not allow the denigration of public consumption on this blog.

My problem is with the-here comes the filter-huge class issue this reporter was too chablised to see staring them in the face. The one thing all the gatherings in the article have in common.?

White people. Seas of white people. Not exclusively, no. But seriously, come on...90% white.

So what? Well let me tell you a story...

Two years ago I had to go to court. Penny Ante Court. The kind where you sit with a hundred other people and they call out your Class "Are-You-Kidding-Me?" misdemeanors, you walk up front and they give you your $25 fine. This was unpleasant. It did, however, have its moments, most of which were the Public Drinking tickets, which were read out loud, just like every other ticket. The kicker is the drink in question is an official part of the complaint and must also be read aloud:

"Number 34602, Public Consumption: Miller Lite."
"Number 58875, Public Consumption: King Cobra."
"Number 14453, Public Consumption: Budweiser."

And so it went. I learned a few things that day-and the three other days it took, over 4 months, to get a dismissal-as one will in any place they are thrown in with a large group of people they didn't self-select somehow. I learned that Hispanic men who drink on the street, selected for indiscretion, prefer Coors Lite. I learned that police actually do pull over a lot of gypsy cabs for picking people up at bus stops. I learned yet again that it is expensive to be poor, as time and again the judge heard stories from people who missed a half day of work to be there in court to request another extension regarding the payment of $50, $75, $100 fines.

I also learned that one never, ever hears:

"Number 67643, Public Consumption: Iron Horse Vineyards 2005 Rued Clone Chardonnay"

I'm just sayin....

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