Bite-sized Musings: Drinking in the Afternoon

The other day I was sitting outside during my lunch break (around 12:30pm) near where my workplace's parking lot exits out into the street. A car pulled out of the parking lot and stopped before driving into the street. In the car were two men - both of them with cans of beer in their hands.

I was appalled. Some people drink and drive. It's not a crime to have one beer or so and then hop in your car, right (or is it? One beer wouldn't put me over the legal limit...)? But drinking while driving seems ludicrous (they were drinking tall cans of Steel Reserve, too - the equivalent of two crappy beers in one) . In the middle of the day! They were asking for trouble.

I was so flabbergasted that I didn't have time to get the license plate number and report them to the police (which I should have done, right? I don't want dudes drinking while driving around my neighborhood. I ride my bike through this neighborhood). But it got me thinking - part of the reason I was so surprised to see this was that it was at lunchtime.

Whenever I'm at or near the gas station in my neighborhood in the afternoon I see people (usually scruffy-looking men) buying and/or drinking beer in the middle of the day. Go to a city park on a normal afternoon and you will see people (again, usually scruffy-looking men) drinking and/or passed out drunk in the park. This is both illegal and almost universally looked down upon.

The questions are:
  • Why is drinking in the early afternoon, even if just a beer or two, unacceptable while getting smashed at a party or the bar at 10pm is fine?
  • Does it matter whether it's a well-dressed businessman having a drinking lunch in a restaurant vs. a scruffy dude buying a beer from the gas station and drinking in the park?
  • Why is driving after having had a couple beers sometimes OK but driving while drinking not OK?


  1. you last point reminds me of karan's theory: if you pass your license test drunk you should be able to drive drunk

  2. I don't really think that either options in scenario/question 1 are appropriate/ok. Both are pretty embarrassing in my book, and to be avoided.

    I'm guessing that you're referring to social norms as opposed to the legality of the activities you are describing, since drinking and driving and public space drinking/drunkenness are illegal.

    I am opposed to drinking while driving because you get less sober as the time behind the wheel goes on, rather than more sober. Also, I think the matter here is social aspect of it...Rarely do I drink a beer right before getting in the car- it's a social activity, much like having a glass of wine at lunch with a friend. I usually complete my drinking a good half hour before I go anywhere else, and if I am just stopping in somewhere, I won't have a drink, because I don't like to just throw back drinks, I drink to savor and enjoy.

  3. @allen haha

    @afishh I hear you but I think getting drunk in the company of friends in a safe space isn't always inappropriate. I guess it's tough to really debate that point, but I enjoy knocking a few back from time to time. So...

    And yeah definitely social norms not legality. It's illegal to drink in the park/in public in general. It's illegal to drink while driving (WHAT THE HECK AGAIN).

    I never thought about it that way though. If you drink first then drive (well, if you give it a few minutes to sink in, I guess) then you have nowhere to go but sober from there.

    And the social aspect angle is legit but what if a bunch of bros are being social in the park drinking? :) Yeah, that line of logic doesn't really work because of all the other issues related to drinking in public... but what if a bunch of people are in a safe space, like someone's house or a bar, at 2pm drinking, socially? Savoring and enjoying? It still seems pretty unsavory right?