|Ours looks much like this; more battered.|
My father didn't have an external need for accurate time, no job or medical reason that things had to be done precisely. My dad was a mild OCD type, a recorder, and I didn't realize how much of one until after he died in 2010. I put a new battery in the kitchen clock for my mother a few weeks ago, and found, taped to the back, a list of all the times he'd re-set the clock, and how much it was off by...according to CHU, no doubt.
What's all this have to do with beer, or whiskey? Well, I was thinking about this today when I was checking the time for an interview appointment. Used to be I'd know which clock in the house was on, and I'd check that one, knowing that I'd set it to a reliable source (honestly, KYW was plenty accurate for me) relatively recently...but most of the rest of the clocks only got set when they were way off or when it was time to Spring Forward or Fall Back. Cathy keeps her clock at bedside 10 minutes fast to jolt her awake in half-asleep state (I don't know how that kind of self-delusion works, but it does for her). Not to mention, we still have some of the cheap battery-operated clocks Cathy and I accumulated as we were growing up, and the hands wobble, and they don't have numbers, and...they're intrinsically inaccurate.
But now? I just look down in the corner of my computer screen, or pop on my cell, and I've got fiendishly accurate time, checked against atomic clocks, and it's not only easy and available, it updates automatically. I can have accuracy my father only dreamed of at a glance, with no continuing effort at all.
Bought craft beer lately? Let me be an old fart. Back in the 1980s, when I started drinking out of the mainstream, this wasn't easy. We drank Guinness and Bass (usually old Guinness and Bass), we drank Heineken (usually skunked; my first draft Heineken was surprisingly good!): they were easier to get. When craft started to peek its head up, I would drive three hours to buy some. Truly, we did that. You kids today with your "I drove six hours to get Dark Lord!" We would drive two hours just to get a sixpack of porter. Plain old amber ale. I would drive two hours through traffic and over mountains -- literally -- to get to a brewpub that had three beers: gold, amber, and porter. And when I got home, I'd set my watch by CHU Canada.
Whiskey? Back in the 1980s, most American distilleries didn't bottle anything but standard stuff; no small batches, no single barrels no super-aged Pappy. Many Scottish distillers didn't do single malt bottlings, it all went to blends. If they did singles, they weren't available except in specialist stores. And no one knew a damned thing about them or how they were made. Same thing with beer, really.
Flick on the cellphone, tell me the time. I can hop on my bike, ride ten minutes to Manny Brown's, and get a glass of good craft beer. Ride ten minutes more, and even Store #0909 of the Stupid State Store System can offer me a selection of whisky that would make what I could find most places 25 years ago look sick.
Are the prices higher? Yeah, and you're paying for monthly cell service and your internet connection; CHU is free. Rather do that? There are places you can't get cell signal; okay, there are still places that have crap selections. It's not a perfect analogy!
But really? These ARE the good times. We not only have it so good, we have it so easy. The Web makes it ridiculously easy to find good drinks, and to share that knowledge. The Web also makes the spread of ticker snobology easier, but that's simply something to deal with. I'm just glad I got over that phase when I was still limited to a notebook with really tiny printing in the back.
I think we're going to get over the obsession phase, and soon. It's going to collapse under its own weight, or it may blow up into such a huge balloon that it will lift up and float away, leaving the rest of us at the bar, drinking good stuff, lots of good stuff, that you can get every day (or every season) for a reliable price. All within an easy distance, all with the ease of looking at a phone.
Coordinated Universal Drinks Time. It's here.