I was at a bar the other night and I spent $150 on alcohol, $200 with tip.
For some New Yorkers this is nothing remarkable. The inhabitants of this city are notorious drinkers. I’ve heard the joke plenty of times: a social drinker here is considered an alcoholic any where else. It makes sense, we never have to drive home. A cab will take us right to our door all we have to manage is comprehensible slurring of the address and the stumble up the stairs.
I, however, am not a drinker by New York (or really any other) standards. I’m a notorious light weight. On any night out it’s a given someone will make fun of me for being pretty-much-drunk after 2 beers. It’s great, a huge money saver. Which helps ease the Manhattan Spending Phenomenon. The paradox: New Yorkers spend obscene amounts of money to rent obscenely small apartments which are so so small in fact, you can’t really “hang out” in them. We spend very little time in the spaces we pay so dearly for. We (generally) must “go out” to be social. When it’s cold, going out means quickly going inside. Which involves spending money. On top of our rent. Yes, it’s ridiculous. I’m not telling you anything new. I’m merely emphasizing the joys of having the same effect after 2 drinks that most city dwellers have after four. Problems arise when someone else is buying me alcohol. No one in Manhattan says no to a free drink. If you don’t drink alcohol there’s the Shirley Temple option, if you’re the victim of an eating disorder there’s seltzer, Diet Coke. No one turns down a free drink, the offer comes from someone absolutely repulsive. But my weakness for free-flowing booze is another story…
So how in the hell did I, Miss Moderation, Miss I-Had-One-Beer-I’m-Totes-Trashed!, manage to spend the whopping sum of $150 on cold hard liquor?
Considering yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day, this $150 may not seem too unusual. I easily pass for Irish, but it’s actually other British Isle ancestry coursing through my veins. I did wear green but that’s it. Walking 30 blocks down Broadway, on my way to Trader Joe’s and the Union Square Market, I found myself in a steady stream of revelers. Decked out in tacky felt or sequined green hats and “Kiss Me I’m Irish” and “I Shamrock NY” shirts, all quite intoxicated at 4:30 pm and all more than happy to let EVERYONE know their state of mind. I guess I’m a snob an old soul- I see St. Patrick’s day as a holiday used mostly to drink in excess. That’s fine. It’s the coupling with the extreme proclivity to be obnoxious in excess that I can not stand. I didn’t set foot in a bar yesterday. Nor did I last year. Granted last year I was dumped most unexpectedly on St. Patrick’s Day…which could influence my grumblings about the holiday.
Well you can bet your bottom dollar I didn’t drink $150 of Guinness/Irish Car Bombs/alcohol of any kind myself. Did I buy a round of drinks for everyone at the bar? Am I celebrating my first Law and Order episode? (Cliché: every actor in NY has been on L&O.) No (and therefore I can’t really claim to be a NY actor). So why, how am I spending money on liquor like it’s my job? Because it is my job! Yes, I got a job where I am paid money to buy alcohol and give it to people for free. It’s great. I’ve never felt so appreciated in anything, ever. People love it when you give them free anything, but free alcohol? I make several new bffs every time I work a gig.
I’m promoting a new spirit. It’s from Thailand and sometimes they even dress me up in “traditional Thai garb” for events (I’ve mentioned my 5-year-old glee at “playing” dress up before). That’s why I get to spend hundreds of dollars on booze and then give it to people for $50/hr. Best Job Ever? Well…it doesn’t beat being on Law & Order, but it is pretty great.