November 8th, 2006


Another post-election post


I voted in person last night, something I have not done since 1998. I hate voting in person and usually do it absentee, but was too disorganised this year to apply for my absentee ballot. And last night, I was reminded why I hate voting in person.

I had to stand in line to vote. And then, I had to stand in line again to deposit my ballot. But Steve let me leave work early to go do all that standing in line, so hey...

I am very happy with all the results. Particularly Question 1, about selling wine in grocery stores. I was against this, and it was with some of the fervor of a born-again; because I grew up in California, in which state you can not only buy beer and wine from grocery stores, but also real booze, like vodka and whiskey. When I moved eastward, it took some getting used to, this having to go to liquor stores.

No one really does that in California, because the liquor stores usually are more expensive. The big chains undercut their prices, and the little guys can't compete.

But in Massachusetts, the liquor stores are ubiquitous, and, in fact, are far more convenient and easy to get to than supermarkets. And their prices aren't bad; unless they're having a sale, the prices are all pretty much about the same.

But the small liquor stores have something the supermarkets don't have: character. I have grown to love the local packies. The one near my house, where I've been going for 6½ years, and they know me (the woman remembers when I moved in!), the shop on Mass Ave., where until recently Dixie the cat lived, the shop in Southie with the autographed photo of Bobby Orr in midair (and a story to go with it), the store across from the Star Market on Beacon in Somerville that's a shrine to firefighters...every time I go into one, it's not just to get booze, it's to connect with the neighbourhood and have a conversation.

You can't do that in the supermarket. And now that you can buy liquor on Sundays, there's really no need to.

The other night, I was in Liquor World in Porter Square, waiting to buy wine, and a guy from the Radio Shack next door dashed in and asked for one of those little airport bottles of booze. He had his cash all ready, and he was obviously trying to be dicreet. I said enviously, "Dude...if I worked next to a liquor store, I'd be over here all the time!" which got a laugh from everyone withing earshot.

There's something about alcohol that's communal. Why else would people sit in bars and spend as much on 3 beers as they would on a 12-pack at the corner store? You want to share the experience. Obviously, if you're buying it and taking it home to consume, you're going to miss that aspect of getting to interact with other drinkers while buying it will have to suffice.

That's why I voted "No" on Question 1. And that's why I'm pleased to see I was in the majority.
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