On Poetry and Culture Shock

Beer on vending machines

One of the distinctions between barbarians and civilisations is the preference between wine and beer: our friend Tacitus said that the Germanic tribes made wine out of fermented barley or wheat, as he could only think of alcohol in terms of wine. Another distinction is the view of alcohol as something that you are supposed or not supposed to get drunk on. There are countries in which people think the purpose of alcohol is to have one glass of wine every day, and there are others where the expectation is that if you drink at all, it’s several litres at one go. Only the first are civilised countries (even if people do get drunk, the majority still believes that is a deviation).

Americans make a big fuss about alcohol, Spaniards don’t. I have a friend here who went to Spain and had her picture taken standing by a beer vending machine. She showed it to a few of us, feeling part shocked part naughty. And I joked, “of course! I mean, that is what you find in civilised countries!” I meant alcohol in public places. But to another person the idea was so weird that she thought “inappropriate stuff on vending machines”, and she said, “they say that in Japan you can buy underwear on vending machines. Is that civilised?”

To me, underwear in a vending machine is only a little bit weirder that a place that serves food and not alcohol. And that is something that Americans just cannot understand.

1 comentario

ChicaXL -

¿Siguen envolviendote las bebidas alcoholicas en bolsas de papel? eso siempre me ha chocado...¿que mas da meter la cerveza en una bolsa, si al ver que te llevas una bolsa a los labios ya sabe todo el mundo lo que estas bebiendo?
Y anda que las curdas que se pillan los guiris cuando vienen...Deben pensar que como estan esas maquinas en la calle todo el monte es oregano y montan el numerito.