First, a question - how early can one start drinking, alone or in a group, not at a party, before the drinking is seen as perhaps a signal of a pathologic/sociological/mental/addictive issue? I'm talking here about your "God, it's only 4 pm? How can that be? I need a drink but it's too early" kind of thing, wherein the hours up to 4 p.m. of the mystery day in question have been filled with hassle and work and not much fun at all, and yes, I'm talking about a weekend day filled with work, and maybe even this mystery day involved having to cancel a fun trip to see a friend who is, in all likelihood, waving a bottle of single-barrel bourbon at you from 120 miles away because you think that maybe you can hear a faint "neener neener neener" that sounds a fair bit like her and her husband coming through the mental radio. I generously leave their child out of the taunting, because she's small and therefore does not know what she's doing.
I ask this question hypothetically, of course.
Second - maybe a kind of an answer, at least if one is boating.
It was the summer of my 24th (fifth?) year, and lo and behold I was dating someone new. Again. This fellow has been mentioned here before, but I shall describe him here again because for heaven's sake I shouldn't want the new reader to have to busily dig through the massive archives (yes, we're over 50 entries now, my kittens) just to find out about some guy I dated a lifetime ago.
He was, for the uninitiated amongst you, the guy who was living in the same house as a bunch of people from work and they had a party and he was there and I thought he was cute, but I left the party without doing anything but talking with him. Then, something weird happened. I sat at my apartment and thought about him for a little while, and got back across town (where the party was still in full swing), and found him and asked him if I could please speak with him outside. He obligingly came out and I kissed him. Right smack on the mouth, on purpose, then said "I should have done that earlier," to which he replied "would you like to go see the house I just bought?" and lo and behold I had a boyfriend.
A rich one. Bonus!
(Shoot, maybe I've never mentioned that part here before. Hey! Now you know!)
This boyfriend had a brother who had a sailboat. Sweet! Or at least I THOUGHT it was, because I'd never really been on a sailboat until we were invited to spend the weekend on his brother's sailboat. For the life of me now I can't recall where he KEPT the sailboat, except that it was on a very large body of water indeed, which leads me to believe it was the Chesapeake Bay.
After an uneventful trip we arrived at the marina at about 10 a.m. We unloaded the Saab 900s (at the time a very cool car), packed it all down in the sweaty underbelly of the boat, and made with the very important pre-sailing preparations, which went as follows:
Brother: "Hey John, what time is it?"
John: "I believe it's five o'clock somewhere, bro!"
And from under a bulkhead (or something nautical-ish) pops a cooler packed FULL of cold beer, and the "sailing" began.
Who knew you could sail without leaving the dock? Amazing!
There was one shocking little surprise when I looked up (I was sitting on the deck of the boat with my back against the wheelhouse) at my boyfriend and his brother there on the stern seats, sitting with their legs sprawled in that comfortable position of physical abandon, and realized that neither of them wore underwear......but a quick application of sunglasses did away with any further discomfort and I stared unashamedly while playing pirate in my mind.
Yo ho! It's always 5 o'clock somewhere if yer on a boat!
Now, every time I see a guy wearing those big cargo shorts, I have to wonder - "does he or doesn't he?" My theory is if he's wearing Tevas, then there's nothing underneath but nature.
Yo ho, baby, yo ho indeed.