A former friend and I had to part ways over a disagreement over triggers. Alcohol triggers.
The conflict revolved around LinkNYC, and how the CityBridge consortium behind it deliberately chose to ignore a city mandate banning advertisements for alcohol and hard liquor on city property. CityBridge, as they blithely tweeted, had an existing contract with advertisers that let them be grandfathered in.
This was strictly business for CityBridge. There was no concern for the science or the proof that alcohol advertising pulls triggers in the minds of some of us. Those triggers make us want to drink. It is simple. I see an ad for a fancy, colorful cocktail of vermouth and whatever else and something in my gut, something in my brain clenches.
It is the same instinct many people have when they smell bacon, or pastries.
I get those triggers now from seeing beer pint glasses on my dish rack. I don’t seem to get it when I see the beer in the fridge (which I put in a cabinet, out of view, not because I should not be seeing it but just because I don’t need to keep it cold for a while, and it takes space in the fridge.
I don’t get the trigger from the bottle of vodka in the cabinet above the kitchen sink. But i never open that cabinet. I’d say that bottle, situated a couple of feet over my head, inspires something closer to portent, or obligation. That vodka knows I’ll be back. It just stands there, an invisible, knowing grin puckering at me. God, I hope vodka is a woman.
When CityBridge decided to ignore the City mandate to ban liquor ads it came up in discussion with a bartender who I genuinely took to be more than just my bartender. We did a lot of crazy shit together.
But when it came to the ban on liquor ads I suggested that maybe the City had a point, and that the scientific link between alcohol advertising and driving alcoholics to drink was trustworthy.
I got a blast of skeptical, angry, politically biased blowback, followed by him asking me why alcohol ads make me want to drink.
I said “Because I’m an alcoholic.”
He called me a dumbass, threw a bunch of other invective at me so fast and frazzled I could not make sense of it, waved his arms to compensate for what little of substance he was actually saying.
As I left the bar all the customers stared at me, as if I’d just been kicked out and banned from the place.
I had not been kicked out but I never went back. This had been my local, practically my second apartment, for much of the previous 17 or 18 years.