Local drinking rules

Nova Scotians seem to treat alcohol with all the dedication and gusto it gets from 15-year-old boys throwing a party when the rents are away from the weekend.  An English woman I know once remarked: “It’s as if they can’t close an open bottle.  They have a huge bottle of rum but throw away the cork and then insist it all has to be finished in a go.”

They talk about hangovers, plan for hangovers, as though that state is the expected outcome of socializing. “So what are you doing tomorrow?” “Well, I’ll have a massive hangover so I’ll go lie on the beach.” This is at nine in the morning when the speaker has just told me her mother’s in town for the weekend and they’re going to dinner this evening. The speaker is at least 30, not 12 or even 19.  And she thinks the drinking age here (19) is way too high. “You can get a driver’s license at 16 but you can’t drink!  What a mixed up thing!”

The evening of drinking here seems to start earlier, too, than in other places I’ve lived: by six, there are lines at the bars and some people are already stumbling on their way from one to the next. As someone who walks on downtown sidewalks by seven most mornings, I’m familiar with the stomach contents that wind up voided there virtually every evening. It doesn’t seem that these folks are particularly fastidious drinkers or have hollow legs.

The Provincially operated liquor stores sell gift cards in 10, 25 and 50 dollar denominations and even host wine and liqueur tastings.  “Beer tents” appear at every public function.

This may be the one place I can live where I appear abstemious in contrast, mostly because I tend to pace myself, not carry on in public and keep stoppers when opening fresh bottles.


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