Last Friday I went out with a couple of colleagues, “for a pint.” We were walking to the subway station when the other asked me to come along and I had to make sure, “You’re asking me? Even though I don’t drink alcohol?” I was told that was beside the point. So, I tagged along.

We went to a beer house and I ordered a Pepsi (I was treated, how kind). The bartender asked, “you want some vodka1 with that.” My response? A loud “god no!” When we sat at the table my colleague laughed and asked if I get asked that a lot. I don’t but that might be because it was my first time “out for a pint.” (I had a wonderful time!)

I’ve never drunk alcohol, nor tasted, nor wanted to. Usually it doesn’t cause any problems but in the company’s summer festivities we were at a Greek restaurant and I asked for something to drink other than beer or the lukewarm water they served at the tables. The waitress shrugged and said “this is a Greek restaurant in Finland, why would we have something else?” (What about kids?!?)

Finns are big drinkers and I’m one of the odd ones out. Proud of it, too, although I don’t remember making a decision between to drink or not to drink. There has been no need; drinking has never even crossed my mind.

I suppose it’s “common knowledge” at work that I don’t drink alcohol. (It certainly is common knowledge with my family and friends.) In our last Christmas party I won a bottle of wine and a promotional t-shirt. I asked if the competition organizer would mind if I gave the bottle away to everyone. I kept the t-shirt although I don’t think I’ve worn it once.

On Monday a colleague of mine had emailed a project manager saying that he hadn’t had time to finish a task so he’d buy a beer to whomever finished it for him on his day off. And either the PM or the colleague had added, “or a Hyvää Päivää2 to Minna.” Today — I got a bottle of vitamin C + caffeine Hyvää Päivää.
(Yup, caffeine is my drug of choice. I’m not pretending to be a goody two-shoes.)

1. Well, he said “kossu,” but who cares. (See Wikipedia if you do care.)
2. Hyvää Päivää wellness drinks, another site, in English