Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cold Beer Here

I don't normally like to write about alcohol but this story can't be passed up.

I have an evening Austin commuter bus on Tuesdays and Thursdays. One of my passengers is legally (but not totally) blind and we've gotten to know each other since the beginning of the semester. We talk and laugh and pass the time in traffic until we get back to San Marcos. We've actually become friends. His name is Chad.

Anyway, Chad usually doesn't need help reading the marquee on the front of the bus. He has enough vision left to see that much. Tonight, however, as I pulled up to the bus stop, a scruffy old man with a long scraggly beard was practically jumping up and down, waving for me to stop. He clearly didn't want me to pass up a blind man. A little odd but whatever. Helping somebody out. Okay.

Once the doors were closed, Chad burst out laughing. I laughed too, thinking it was just the guy flagging me down that was funny. Once we settled down, Chad explained what had happened. The guy was homeless and just looking for someone to talk to. He made fast friends with Chad (apparently it's easy to do that with him!) and wanted to leave him with a special memory of their brief relationship.

The line Chad quoted to me was, "Just because you can't see don't mean you can't drink." Chad was then handed an ice cold can of beer. I don't know if Chad even drinks; we've never talked about it. But we both got a kick out of the lonely homeless guy sharing a beer with the blind man at the bus stop.

Chad called it a first. I wondered if I could get in trouble for transporting alcohol without the right permit. Then I realized its source and knew it couldn't be that great of a beer. Chad showed it to me at a stoplight. My suspicion was confirmed: Hurricane High Gravity Lager. Never heard of it. Probably never hear of it again. Except when Chad and I reminisce in these last weeks of the fall semester.


Update: Wikipedia declares that HHGL is notable for its "extremely high alcohol content." Compare 8.1% alcohol by volume to Budweiser's 5%. Maybe I was wrong to make assumptions.

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