Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Skills For Drinking Outdoors

Every beer drinker loves cracking a cold one outdoors once in a while. If a seasoned drinker is creative enough, beer can be imbibed outdoors even in sub-arctic-like conditions. This not the ideal situation because it can be unpleasant and lead to premature death resulting from being sliced and diced by massive snow blowers.

For my friends who live in balmy climates like California or Brazil, this is what is used to clean up cities after it snows.

At least once every winter in some northern city, some bum will pass out in a snow bank. One of these monstrous machines will come by and  a little spurt of red snow will come out of the spout. If you feel the need to drink outdoors in winter you should take up ice fishing. Those little wooden shacks are nice and cozy and they have little stoves inside them. There is very little fishing going on in these cabins and the hole in the ice is not for the actual catching of fish, but rather a very convenient place to take a pee.

Another option is to make friends with the guy at the local Chevron and see if he'll let you hang around. It will be nice and warm and nobody would be the wiser if you drank your beer out of a paper coffee cup. There is also a bathroom and an endless supply of porno mags. Or you could just go to the corner bar.

Dealing with the elements in winter is challenging to say the least. There are people of questionable sanity who camp in winter on purpose. There are others who want to go to the North Pole. I'll save you the trip; there is more snow, lower temperatures, no light and when you get there you will find a monumental pile of fuck all. Even polar bears have enough sense to not venture that far north.

That said, let us concentrate of those beautiful balmy days of summer when all the lush foliage and clear blue skies almost literally say " Get beers!"

This is a slightly romanticized view, because the cold hard reality of stupid by-laws will soon put a serious fun-damper on your well laid-out plans. Laws vary from state to state, province or country. I was told that in France, it is perfectly legal to have a bottle of wine in the park. The Gens D'armes won't even hassle you if you light up a Gauloise. Those French, so civilized (just never mind about their cars).

In my neck of the woods, however, it's a completely different story. A quiet day in the park or on the beach could go south real quick. Cops like nothing better than to look for scofflaws such as myself who are committing the heinous crime of chilling with a beer. A beer, a smoke and a quick pee in the bush could quickly result in a fine that would amount to the price of a pretty nice used Chevy. After tourism, the second biggest industry up here is growing pot. This results in an inordinate amount of pot-smokers.   They walk the streets with impunity, brazenly smoking their hippie-crack wherever they please and no one blinks a fucking eye, including the cops ( still highly illegal last time I checked).

These general attitudes of the public and the police are not about to change, and pot smokers are ignored ( and sometimes even admired, albeit  probably by people who ate freaky mushrooms) and outdoor beer drinkers are relegated to the ranks of hobos, people with mental illnesses, crack-whores and people who wear white robes and hoods.

Those who are seriously committed to enjoying a beer outdoors while flagrantly disregarding laws in the process need to be stealthy and cunning. One has to always stay one step ahead of the Federales. Catching hardened criminals is difficult work, catching a couple of dudes on the beach on their tenth beer is like shooting fish in a barrel. Here's a few tips.

1. A few basic skills:

Some people prefer beer in bottles, and some brands still don't have twist-off caps. You must master the skill of opening a beer with anything that you might have on hand. A Bic lighter works well, as do pliers, any chunk of metal or a belt buckle. Might wanna pass on that belt buckle, because a passer by might think that you are taking your pants off. This bottle opening skill will take a while to master but you will have a lot of fun during the endless practice sessions.

You might have seen videos of rednecks trying to open beer bottles with their teeth. This is the main reason a lot of rednecks are missing many teeth. Do not open a beer with your teeth. Other rednecks will attempt to slam the bottle on the edge of a table or a rock. Unless you enjoy shards of broken glass with your beer and perforated bowels, you should probably avoid this technique as well.

Cans are less problematic and easier to transport. You must remember to get rid of the empties as you go along. If a cop shows up, it is hard enough to try and not slur, but it is impossible to deny that you have been drinking when there is a pile of empties the size of a large Rottweiler at your feet.

Some people cleverly disguise their beers with a home-made cover made out of a sliced Pepsi can that they wrap around a beer can. Cops are fully aware that nobody can drink twelve cans of Pepsi in a row. There would be sugar convulsions, instant diabetes liquefying of bowels.

2. Power Boozer or Lightweight Loser.

Choose your drinking companions well should you decide to drink outdoors with other people. Some people can handle their booze and others can't. Allegedly, there are signs inside the clubhouses of certain...uh... fraternal organizations that say " Don't let this be the place where you can't handle your liquor". If someone were to be foolish enough to heed their advice they will soon end up in an alley with many teeth missing and non-functioning limbs. The reasoning is simple, bad drinkers are a heat score for cops.

Most aficionados of outdoor beer consumption are seasoned drinkers and are able to have reasonably sane conversations. They can often be overheard discussing the merits of various beer brands, talking about whether Ford or Chevy is better, some bands that they saw or who's turn it is to make another beer run, all the while keeping an eye out for cops.

Others just can't be cool when they are drinking and their behavior can be the equivalent of calling the police precinct to give them your GPS coordinates. There are a few tell tale signs that someone can't handle their booze and it's time for you to high-tail it out of there:

A) Anyone who drops their pants for no apparent reason.
B) Anyone that says "Woo-Hoo" even once.
C) Anyone that says : "Whut are yew lookin' at?"
D) Anyone who yells " Skynyrd" ( you should leave immediately).
E) Someone starts to puke.
F) Someone starts fighting a tree
G) Anyone who happens to have bongos with them and suddenly feels the urge to "play" them. (Note: smash bongos before leaving).

3. Be Cool.

As previously stated, the key to enjoying a few drinks in the park on the beach is to not bring attention upon yourself. In order to do so there are other skills that you will need to master. With a little practice and self-determination you should be fine.

Chances are that you have reached a point in your life when you no longer fall down when you are drinking. There are still chances you might hit some wet leaves, an errant banana peel (this actually happened to me, so the cartoons of my childhood were accurate) or a passed out hippie. If you do happen to fall you must spring up as quickly as possible as if it never happened. This requires practice but it can easily be mastered. Remember, it's not that falling down hurts, it's the fact that a bunch of strangers saw you. The quicker you get up, the fewer people will see you.

You're probably not going to want to drive your car if you are planning to spend some time in a park with a bunch of beers. One alternative is to take a bicycle. Even if you are weaving and wobbling on your way home, the cops will simply think that you are a spaz who is incapable of mastering a task as simple as riding a bike and will leave you alone. This is more complicated than it seems and you will require quite a bit of practice to get it it right. If you are a novice beer-rider bring along a drunk helmet on your first few forays.

You should probably choose a cruiser bike as your means of hammered transportation. The upright position has far fewer negative gravity interactions. On a mountain bike, your weight is directly over the front axle. this guarantees that, even after only one beer, you will look like a chimpanzee riding a tiny clown bike at the circus.

Last but not least, the needs of your bladder will have to be addressed . It's one of the basic laws physics; 3 beers = 1 pee. As I once found out in New York, public toilets can be rare and even non-existant. Hell, even a McDonald's in the East Village didn't have a bathroom ( thank you, crackheads). One thing that most parks have in common, however, is plenty of bushes. Peeing and bushes seems like a natural combination that probably dates back to pre-historic times. Caveman see bush, caveman pee on it. See, pure genetic evolution. Cavemen did not have cops keeping an eye on them, so they could pee on bushes with reckless abandon. You're gonna have to learn to stealth-pee.

Once a suitable bush has been located one must still be vigilant in case someone should sneak up on you. One must appear as nonchalant as possible. ( This for dudes only; sorry ladies, I have no idea, you're on your own). Try to look like one of those louts that just came from a hockey game after drinking twenty of those nine dollar beers in a plastic cup. I think we've all seen these dudes at one time or another. One nanosecond after leaving the arena, they need to pee. The can hardly stand and can barely concentrate on the task at hand. Once done, they stagger as they struggle to zip up, too hammered to realize  that they have pissed on their shoes, on a cop car or on the white line in the middle of a highway.

As you approach said bush, stand up straight. Very discreetly whip it out and pretend that you are very interested in what variety this bush is. Or you can pretend to be looking for somebody. A cel phone works great for this purpose. Put your cel phone up to your ear and have a fake conversation ( this also works well for getting rid of hobos trying to have some random conversation with you). No cop could ever imagine someone peeing and talking on a cel phone simultaneously. This is why you should avoid  button-fly jeans. Dogs can often be found in and around bushes. Do not be alarmed if a dog happens upon you: just pee on the dog. Dogs smell pee all the time, and this will send a signal to the dog that you are the alpha male dog and he will leave you alone. If the owner of the dog confronts you, just tell him that you saw his dog pee on himself. It's a freakin' dog, it's plausible.

These were just a few survival tips for me and my fellow outdoor drinkers. Keep these in mind on your next outing and I hope it makes your boozy park adventure a little more enjoyable. Always be vigilant and on the lookout for cops. If a security guard starts harassing you, just tell that rent-a-cop to piss off, as it were. I feel a little bike ride coming on, so I will hit the beer store and in no time at all , I will be breaking three laws simultaneously.


  1. Ok, Serge, as you have erase your last post, let me apologise for being rude, you know; I'm just patriotic and can't stand clichés about France, even if I know this isn't the best place to live in the world. You often spotted right, us greasers, with your remarks about the need to depomp when you go to court, the fact that if you wear a leather jacket, the cops automatically think you're the worst delinquent in the world (even at my age), the fact that we put grease everywhere in the house and get yelled at for this, and the numerous problems caused by the key chain. In fact, I love your stories and your writings. My invitation for the next Béthune retro was real. You can see great bands for free, you can camp for free, the showers are free (unfortunatly, not the beer...). I can introduce to all the rockabilly gangs of the north of France, like the"international teddy boys", the"cruisers" who owned a bar and organise numerous rockabilly gigs, the"rockers klan", right wing rockers but cool guys (with their friends), you also have the psychobilly wreckin' crew, the blood and honor skinheads and some one percenters club. The first festivals were not as big as it become now, because the major of our town, who hated us at the beginning, was forced to reconnize that rockabilly is a popular culture, so he gives us a budget to hire great bands as well as pionners...Last years, despite of the bad weather (it often rains here), we gathered more than 8000 people, without Professional security men Everybody makes the security and almost everybody act well and respect the others gangs. Psychobillies talking to hardore teddy boys, Young rockers drinking with older ones etc... Il's not like that everywhere. Enough talk about us. Once again, I apologise for some stupid things I wrote (yes, sometimes, I'm a sale con) and hope you'll continue your blog. Rockabilly yours, Eric from France.

  2. Hello Serge, it's Eric ze frenchy. Hope you're going well. I don't want to take much of your time, but I have a funny story to tell you, let's call it "Rockabilly encounters of the third kind". A few weeks ago, I was hanging at the "Cruisers" bar to see Miss Gina Haley (Bill's daughter) play with with Phil Haley and the Comments, when I spotted two rockabilly guys that I had never seen. As usual, some of my mates were given them a bad look , so I decided to break the ice and come over their table to test (peacefully) the newcomers. After a few questions in an approximative English, it seems that these guys knew their affair about rockabilly and were not just posers. I was very surprised when they told me they came from Ukraine (an ex-soviet country), that they were going to London to buy records and clothes, and that they had stop on their way to see the gig.I was sure that those guys were surely an exception in their country and in my head i thought, yeah, rockabilly in Ukraine... sure...why not about sun tan in antartica, or an intelligent government in France... One of the guys took is digital camera and show me pictures of his ukrainian mates and a festival called " Ukrabilly". Man, I was blasted. It was like the Rockabilly rave in Uk, A lot of male and female rockers, hot rods, american cars from the 50's, cool ukranian bands. Unbelievable. They also told me that the rockabilly scene was going very strong in Russia, Hungary, and as their scene is relatively new, most of these people are young and full of energy. We had a great party with them and whished them all the best for the future. I couldn't have imagine a second that they love rock'n'roll in those ex-communist country ! That was the story ! Excuse me for my bad English, stay true, Eric.