Thursday, August 13, 2009

Beer Busted, Part 1

So here’s the deal: We live in a “dry” area of Dallas, meaning nobody up in this here hood (except restaurants) can legally sell alcohol. It is not possible to run down to the corner convenience store and grab a six-pack of beer. You have to drive to other parts of the country to do so. Totally sucks.

How, one might ask, is it possible that different parts of the same city can have conflicting regulations concerning adult beverages? Good question. It seems that when one city (Dallas) swallows up another city (Oak Cliff, our hood), existing laws in the swallowed territory CAN remain in effect even though they do not apply to the rest of the Mother Ship city.

Okay, I get that. It’s irritating, but I get it. Trouble is, when Dallas sucked up Oak Cliff back in the early 1900’s, there WEREN’T any laws prohibiting alcohol sales. You could buy whatever the hell you wanted, thanks and come again.

What gives? Turns out that, in the 1950’s, some bored former Oak Cliffites (Cliffians?) decided that communism and demon alcohol were on the verge of destroying our country. So they rallied together and somehow passed a local ban on the vending of alcohol. (How this was also supposed to halt the communist invasion, I don’t know. Maybe they originally just wanted to stop the importation of Russian vodka and things just got out of hand.)

Bottom line, if you visit our house and would like to enjoy a nice glass of wine, you better bring the vino with you, or we’ll have to load up the truck and head to a more progressive part of town.

Just south of our humble dwelling, there lies the smaller town of Duncanville. This little burgh also used to be “dry” back in the day. But several years ago, there was a change of heart by city officials. (We can make money off the drunkards through sales tax. Hurray!) The laws were changed.

Which means that, almost overnight, tons of mom-and-pop convenience stores sprang up along the city limits between Duncanville and Oak Cliff, with the sole purpose of providing quick relief for the parched and sober Cliffers. There was rejoicing and singing.

Trouble is “mom-and-pop” means “not part of a decent corporate chain and therefore there’s no professionalism whatsoever”. The properties are poorly designed, the employees apparently were recruited under the nearest interstate bridge, and banjo music plays continuously. No one has a full set of teeth.

The closest of these shacks is a structure with the soothing name of “Cool Breeze”. Sounds relaxing, right? Visions of walking along the beach during a beautiful sunset. Wrong. This place is proof that hell is full and the dead are walking the earth.

First off, it’s a challenge even getting into the parking lot. There’s only one main entrance, which is also the main exit, so you have to fight upstream against all the excited people who have already made their purchases and couldn’t care less if you get yours.

As you pull in, there is a small parking lot on the left, directly in front of the building. Do not EVER park in this section. You will be trapped in there for days. Because the idiot owner put in a drive-thru window on the right side of the building, and the line of cars at said drive-thru will often back up past the entrance to the little parking lot and out into the main drag.

And don’t be thinking that someone in the drive-thru line will be polite and LET you out. Remember, this is the closest source of alcohol for our area of Oak Cliff. Meaning all the hard-core drunks in this part of town head straight to Cool Breeze as soon as they get off work (or get fired again), and they MEAN. They are not going to let your ass out and waste an additional twenty seconds before they can get their lips wrapped around a tallboy.

And don’t even think about honking. They will grab a crowbar or an empty cooler and beat you to death with it. These people don’t play.

And another thing about the evil drive-thru? Remember, there is only one main entrance/exit to this place. So once you’ve done your business in the drive-thru, you have to drive to the back of the property and turn around. (There’s a gigantic parking lot back here, but no one ever uses it. There are no lights. If you can get killed right in FRONT of the store, no telling what can happen to you back there.)

Once you’ve done the U-turn in the death lot, you then have to motor back through the drive-thru, squeezing past the stalled line of cars yet to be serviced. And since many of the drive-thru patrons grow increasingly irritated while sitting in line waiting for the slow-ass serving wench to lug a 24-pack to the window, they have no patience by the time they come out of the U-turn and they FLOOR it on the straightaway, screw whatever they might hit.

On the far right side of the property is a single line of parking spaces, facing a fence that separates Cool Breeze from the salvage yard on the other side. (It’s a quality neighborhood.) THIS is where you park. It’s the only section of parking where you have a pretty good shot of actually being able to leave the property after making your purchases. On the down side, there are a number of ways in which you might get killed before you ever make it back to your car.

Your first obstacle is the theoretical express lane for those cars done with the drive-thru. Look carefully before crossing. It may appear completely safe, the sun is shining and birds are chirping. One second later there can be a massive SUV headed directly toward you with no intention of stopping, thumping music blaring and already-empty beer cans sailing out the windows.

Next, you have the stalled line of cars waiting to pull up to the drive-thru window. They may look harmless, because they are not currently moving, but it’s deceiving. Don’t you DARE try to cut between the cars at a moment when it’s time for everyone to move forward a notch, because they will NOT stop if you are in the way. You may find yourself smashed into the back of a vehicle with a trailer hitch up your ass.

And don’t forget, drunkards usually don’t care WHAT they drive. Therefore, this line is usually full of decrepit, illegal vehicles, belching clouds of toxic black exhaust. Do not attempt to breathe until you are well clear of the drive-thru.

And don’t get uppity once you make it to the small parking lot in front of the store, thinking you’re safe and all. You can still get clubbed by an ice chest because somebody thought you honked at them. It doesn’t matter that you are not even in a vehicle and could not have honked. They drunk. Do not make any loud noises, and get your butt inside the store where there’s at least a small chance that one of the employees might possibly render you medical aid, if needed.

And once you’re inside that door? Oh. My. Gawd.

Click Here for the Next Entry in This Series.

1 comment:

  1. Once upon a a land far far away....I had to make a beer run with the genius writer of this blog.

    At midnight.

    In the hood.

    My knuckles STILL have not returned to their normal color from gripping his arm while walking in, without looking either left or right, at ANY of the peeps standing right outside the kum&go.

    Okay maybe that's not what it was called.

    a girl who likes to live on the edge