In Ireland people who don't drink are always met with surprise. It's the equivalent to having two heads. Unusual. As soon as you utter it, peoples eyes squint and they pause. You've just dropped a bomb!!! Suddenly they are awakened from their state of... and usually ask with an ostensible curiosity as to why not. But really they are suspicious. You can tell by the slow nodding and raised eyebrow. I just don't like it, is my usual response. Not even a nice glass of red wine by the fire in winter? is a typical kind of question. Nope, a nice cup of hot chocolate or tea does me just fine.
There are many answers that an Irish brain will call upon to try to pacify themselves and explain this oddity. Of course this is never said to you. But you can see it between the slow nodding: He must have been an alcoholic... Maybe he's pregnant... Maybe he's a Russian spy... Maybe he's a closet Muslim... Maybe he's mentally ill... Whatever it is, he's an anomaly... Whatever they arrive at, it's just not normal. I would imagine it's always the first: alcoholic, since I own a pub.
I understand their reasons for suspicion I guess. That person in the corner who will remember everything you said and did when full up with juice. When they splatter you with a little bit of their soul amongst the debauchery, unable to take it back. Yes, I guess I'm like a tape recorder; one you can't bare to listen back to as it doesn't sound like you. Or does it?
Drinkers' always have one eye on that non-drinker. But they have missed something. Something BIG: The barmen! We are all sober. We are all watching. This is our TV. This is our wildlife program. This is why we can work those shitty shifts, the Friday and Saturday evenings. Fuck social media! This shit is addictive! It's also scary. That's why I don't drink. I prefer to keep all the stains on my soul to myself thank you.