San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

I Voted Booze and Missed the Super Bowl

Costa Ricans just saw the back of one of their occasional dry periods.

I might be talking about the weather but for the meteorological reports and my cat’s hairstyle that demonstrate the contrary.

When I say dry period, I’m referring to the ban on selling alcohol over the weekend of Election Day voting. Allegedly the official line is that the ban ensures placid, lucidthinking voters by weakening the impact of alcohol’s mind-altering properties.

My sources argue that denying the population its raison d’être might actually be a little counterproductive. You take away my dog’s old, chewed-up toy Miss Piggy and she’ll start running around like a headless pigeon. Take the beer away from the man and you will not get well-thunk-through thoughts.

Having said that, I could care less about Costa Rica’s prohibition-style posturing, if it weren’t for its direct impact on me and my fellow foreign folk. My conversations this past week (on the few occasions they have been lucid) have shown me that I am not alone in my disgust at the way this law affects the lost, innocent and helpless lamb as much as it does the native, sure-footed, vote-giving lion.

We (those unable to vote) should be entitled to drink. The dry law is an infringement of our human rights, and it was made worse this year by the Murphy-esque twist of fate in which Election Day coincided with the Super Bowl. Could they have chosen a worse day to hold what at the end of the day is no more than a ceremonial affair of figurehead choosing, considering that a far more serious event was taking place a few thousand miles north?

Which is the bigger problem: who to vote for or where to buy booze?

I was prepared; I had been given advance warning of the upcoming drought. I stocked up. I hoarded supplies as I readied myself for what I feared could go on longer than expected.

What if for some reason the initial result was deemed ineffectual? What if Perimercados never again sold Clos at ¢1,500 a box? I admit I became paranoid, distrustful and calculating.

Others weren’t so lucky. Newcomer to the country Jane Farmer informed me that she had been told she’d be able to find some place that would sell her a drink. She got her hopes up and on Sunday evening stepped bravely onto the street in search of a bar at which to watch the Super Bowl. After wandering around for a couple hours, all she found was a small, darkly lit drinking hole with several guys happy to watch her super bowls, but no TV.

The friend she was with, noticing the interest, ushered her out and then home, in time to see Hines Ward grab a 43-yard touchdown pass thrown by fellow receiver Antwaan Randle El, followed by a very nice ad for Pepsi. After enjoying the moment, they found half a bottle of rum in a kitchen cupboard and fell to talking about the sexual incompetence of men.

I, on the other hand, missed the entire game. At 6 o’clock on Sunday evening, I was still sleeping soundly on my front lawn. My girlfriend had thrown me out of the house for some trivial reason that I’m sure I’ll remember soon. Somebody had stolen my pants. Waking up on Monday, I couldn’t see very well; there may have been some kind of pepper remaining in my eyes. I have vague recollections of chasing a girl down a street.

Maybe I shouldn’t have drunk so much; I don’t always make very good decisions when I’ve been knocking back beer and wine (never mix your drinks). But the Steelers won the Super Bowl, so I’m happy. And who won the election? I have no idea.


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