Wednesday, May 06, 2009

I do not know why gas stations advertise beer for sale.

Driving home from trivia last night (we lost again, dang it -- I knew I should have looked up the altitude of Mexico City before heading out), I passed a gas station -- won't say which, to protect the guilty, but if you're local you know it -- with a sign in front that reads, "Thirsty? Coors Light on Sale."

Leaving aside the fact that no price for Coors Light is a bargain (if I want to drink skunky water I can get it for free in the woods), something about this struck me as bizarre and even wrong, and I wonder why it's legal.

Maine has strict drunk driving laws, although -- as I learned from that link -- the law against drinking while driving dates back only to 1987. Alcohol-vehicle offenses make up a high percentage of cases in the Maine court system.

So why are gas stations suggesting that drivers pull over to pick up some cheap beer?

Yes, I know it's really no different from any convenience store selling beer, and in fact, Cumberland Farms stores (what New England has instead of 7-11s, for you southerners) generally have gas pumps. But advertising it to drivers still strikes me as weird. Not to say irresponsible.

Of course, I'm in the middle of a book set during Prohibition, so perhaps I'm overly sensitive to this stuff ...

Five Random Songs

"Scoop," The Notwist. This CD (Neon Golden) was a gift from a friend who said, "If you don't like this, we can't be friends anymore." When I listened to it, I understood that: it is not only beautiful, it's such a unique sound that it changed some of my ideas about popular music. I've since given other people this CD, with similar warnings. This track is an instrumental, the only one on the album.

"Space Invader," The Pretenders. Wow, another instrumental, and my iTunes isn't even set on "Genius." I'd put this in a list of five all-time best debut albums. It is -- erk -- 29 years old this year.

"Better Version of Me," Fiona Apple. I never heard the original version of this album (Extraordinary Machine), the Jon Brion-produced version that circulated on the Internet, and always feel curious when I listen to this track in particular.

"Islands in the Stream," Constantines and Feist. I'm always looking for unusual covers, and this is one of the most unusual you'll find: yes, it's an art-rock remake of the Kenny Rogers-Dolly Parton classic, and it's gorgeous. Dreamy, intense, irony-free -- which of course makes it hilarious, even though that in no way lessens my appreciation of it.

"I Believe," Chris Isaak. One of the saddest breakup songs ever, set to a bouncy swing tune. "I believe it's gonna work out okay -- but not for me, and not for you." Aggh, I associate this with a painful time in my own life, and believe I'll hit the "next" button...

9 comments:

Tom Ehrenfeld said...

By the way, Feist is collaborating with Wilco next--she's singing a song on the next album (titled Wilco, and featuring a song called Wilco by the way) due out in June!

(Wanna come down to Lowell in July and see them at the Lowell Spinner ball park by the way? Coner Obersts who annoys me is opening.)

AnswerGirl said...

Yes! Send me details by email -- someone else I want to see is coming to Lowell, too, but I can't remember who. And I LIKE Conor Oberst, so there.

Ed Lamb said...

The real irony problem is not that gas stations sell beer, but that liquor brands sponsor Nascar teams. Now there are some mixed messages for you.

Claire said...

That's still not nearly as bad as the Brew-Thrus that they have in the Outer Banks (and, I believe, other parts of the country?). Those infuriate me.

AnswerGirl said...

Good point about the Brew-Thrus, which were icons of my own Virginia Beach adolescence. Not that I ever went to one -- seriously...

Anonymous said...

You get up into Western and Northern Maine and there are "mom and Pop" convenience stores that sell gas, beer, and hunting supplies. A triplely bad combination.

RBo

Larry said...

Having grown up in Arkansas, I was, and continue to be, amazed the state allows drive through liquor stores.

Would you like fries with your pint of Jack?

lawlis42 said...

What is even worse, IMO, are places like Lubbock, TX where the city itself is dry so you have to drive out of town to this bizarre, mini-Las Vegas like area where all the liquor stores are. They also have a strange law that says the building itself closes to the public at 9 pm, but you can still purchase alcohol until midnight (if memory serves) from the parking lot via runners who fetch what you want and you pay them for your purchase.
As for the Brew Thrus, which we call Beer Barns, I found them to be unsettlingly convenient as a teenager. Ah, youth.

norby said...

Ohio has drive through places, most of them in the area I lived in are owned by one family so I've always called those places Maggiore's. It's a little odd to me that you can buy alcohol without ever leaving your car.