I have about 5 part-time jobs. For one of them, I work as a freelancer for a television network. As part of my job, my company flies me all over the country to cover sporting events.
During this past presidential campaign, I remember reading several articles first published in the Boston Globe, and reprinted in the Deseret News, regarding Mitt Romney’s upbringing. I was surprised to learn that Mitt’s father, George, kept alcohol in their house to entertain non-LDS friends. The article was sure to state that all of the Romneys obeyed the Word of Wisdom, and never partook of the alcohol. I found this particular stance unusual.
There have been several attempts in recent years by former Salt Lake City mayor, Rocky Anderson, to have Utah’s liquor laws changed. Utah’s laws are quite strange to out-of-staters, and require anyone who drinks alcohol to purchase a membership. Alcohol (greater than 3.2% beer) can only be served by clubs, so many restaurants and bars have become “private clubs” in order to serve alcohol. Rocky’s take is that the prevailing religion (LDS) needs to allow that other people don’t have the same morality, and that liquor laws need to be modified. (Anything stronger than beer can be purchased at a state liquor store.)
While I agree that some of Utah’s laws are odd, and should probably be changed, there is always a public-safety issue which needs to be addressed. Certainly, Utah has a much lower rate of drunk driving deaths, and much of this can be attributed to the tough liquor laws.
Now, I have been to sports bars in other states, and quite enjoy the atmosphere. Usually, I would go with my brother and other LDS friends. None of us drink, (which annoys the waitress), but we really had a fun time viewing all the different sporting events. It felt like sport’s heaven.
On the other hand, I recently worked a game in another state. I was offered the opportunity to have a drink with some of the other tv crew after the game. On this occasion, I had some friends from out of town, and politely declined the invitation to be with my friends. However, this weekend, I will be free to attend. On the one hand, I would like to get better acquainted with the tv crew, but I have absolutely no desire to drink. During our company meal, before the football game, I “socialized” with others, but found I did not have much in common with them, because they often talked about drunk karaoke parties, and alcohol quite a bit. I’ve done karaoke, but it didn’t seem to be nearly as “fun” as some of their stories. I just found I didn’t have much in common with them.
My wife works for an airline, and works with plenty of non-LDS. I asked her how she would handle the situation. She said that when she was single, she would try to socialize with co-workers. But now that she is married, she has no desire to talk endlessly about drinking, so she just goes to her hotel room, while the rest of the crew goes down to the bar.
So, for those of you who live outside of Utah, how do you handle these situations? Any advice for me?