Mind Not the Mocking

“Do you have anything N/A?” I asked my server while waiting for my parents to arrive.

This wasn’t the first time I asked this question, and it won’t be the last. I’m working on identifying triggers for some icky health stuff, and reducing alcohol is an obvious choice. Plus it’s a lot easier to deal with holiday stress when you have your full wits about you.

“Sure, we have an N/A beer, or I think you can pick one of the cocktails on the list and we can make it non-alcoholic.”

It’s not always so easy, I thought to myself. I’ve experienced a lot of places where they just give you a vacant stare, because who orders a drink for the sugar water? This girl, I tell them, not exactly out loud. Plus a lot of others. It’s just that you don’t notice the folks who aren’t drinking.

As so eloquently said at an event I attended to support musicians in recovery, someone at a bar who doesn’t drink looks a lot like someone at a bar who is in between drinks.

But not this time, I marveled. Maybe this is becoming more of a thing, the sober-curious, the mindful drinkers, and me. (Yes, I’m writing that to the tune of The Rainbow Connection. You got me.)

“Excellent. Can you combine the ingredients in this one,” I pointed out what I was talking about, “and add some ginger beer?”

“Certainly, I’ll let the bartender know.”

Five minutes passed, then ten. He finally came back around the corner. Already boyish-looking, he now resembled a six year-old coming back inside from playing basketball with his older brother and not making a single shot.

Or in my case, a single non-alcoholic shot.

Turns out, while they could definitely add the ginger beer (he said this as though it was a stunning revelation), there was no way to take the alcohol out of the rum.

“Yeah, you just make the drink without … never mind.” I took a deep breath in, picked another drink, and walked him through the recipe. “So you just mix this, this, and this, and a splash of that. I think I’ll like that better.”

I smiled, thanked him for enduring my inner Sally (pretty confident that joke didn’t land), and got a wonderful cherry-flavored delight not two minutes later.

And I realized, we still have a long way to go. But we’re getting there.

Shot on Pixel 6 Pro.

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