The Cultural Competency of Getting a Cold Beer in Prince George’s County, Maryland

Disclaimer:  The following is a farce of the all important concept of cultural competency.  To read what it really entails and how it’s applied, please check out “Cultural Competency in Community Nursing”.  


beer-flight      Its been a long day.  Payroll issues. Unemployment issues.  Reports to be drawn up.  Calls to make.  Calls to answer.  Webinars. Drive 45 miles just to find out that the meeting was canceled. All I know is that it all started at 8 this morning and I gave my final handshake at 9.  My mind said “let’s end this day right; you, me, and an iced cold beer.  I got in the car on an empty tank of gas and set on my way.  The area I was in was very close to the Washington, DC border; an area with plenty of fast food joints that don’t serve alcohol.  With a closer look there were plenty of liquor stores, however.  Cultural competency assessment: this neighborhood is just that; the hood.  What is telling about a neighborhood without a neighborhood watering hole or sit down restaurants says “if you eat it here, you better do it fast…damn fast.  And as far as a neighborhood bar, well, ain’t nobody contributing to you getting your dome caved in while you stumble home drunk.”

Remembering that having a burger sit in my lap alongside a tallboy beer can is illegal, I decided to hit a not yet popular West Indian restaurant off of I-495.  On the way there the amber light reminded me that “if we go any further on these fumes, you’ll be pushing this car to the bar.”  I pulled off of I-495 and headed to a gas station.  this community is more affluent; not a Bill’s Chicken & Fish to be seen or a liquor store (no check cashing places either, the previous neighborhood had about 3).  The strip was a 6 lane road with commerce on the right and residents on the left.  On the right were 2 hotels; nothing extravagant, but there was no Motel 6’s either.  (Other neighborhood?  Your chances would be better to ask Miss Bertha if you can crash on the couch for a day or two.)  I get my gas, and head to the other restaurant.  Maybe I’ll blog about how terrible the service was there some time later.  Man, I was there for 10 minutes.  No menu, no drink, no nada.  With my stomach angrily complaining, I head to trusty dusty Outback Steakhouse.  I park, think about what I’m going to order…mozzarella sticks?  Sliders?  Maybe some…..




The door would not budge for me no matter how hard I tried.  Then I read the hours of operation….Monday – Thursday  12-10.  Friday 12-11 (one hour longer?  Hmmm…..)  Back to the car again.  Cultural Competency Assessment: This neighborhood ain’t having it.  You want a beer at 10 PM?  No problem.  The liquor store stays opens until 9.  What’d you say? You want a late night mug of hops?  Stock up, homey.  Learn how to home brew.  We don’t/won’t have any neighborhood bars around here.  You’re gonna have to get in your car at a decent home of the evening to satisfy your urges.  Wait a minute….don’t you work?

I literally drove 3 exits on I-495 and pulled off.  I was hungry at this point and knew that looking for a place that was still open, serving adult beverages and food at 10ish may have been a bit frivolous.  Besides, hunger was overriding my urge for a hoppy beverage.  There was a moment of hope though.  Off of the exit ramp was a  Mexican chain restaurant that may or may not have been still serving (I was too frustrated to find out) and an IHOP.  I was CLEARLY not in the mood for a stack of damn pancakes.  It’s dark, but I’m familiar with the area.  I know in the big plaza where the IHOP and the TheFastFoodChainWithTheGirlWithTheRedHair restaurant reside there is nothing else there except the Safeway grocery store.   Further away due east or west are high-end,  non-luxury condos and one of the county’s magnet high schools.  No dice.  Let me reiterate; SADLY, I get in the drive thru line for TheFastFoodChainWithTheGirlWithTheRedHair.  It begins to rain almost symbolically.    Cultural Competency Assessment: We the people, in order to form a more perfect neighborhood, establish shops for your convenience including A liquor store.  A as in “1”.  That’s all you get.  Hey, didn’t they tell you in the last neighborhood to stock up?  Yeah, that might be a good idea for you.



Final Cultural Competency Assessment: We have plenty of liquor stores here for a reason.  Plan accordingly, stupid.  

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