Ireland is a country of assumptions and judgements, sometimes it seems, and one of the most irritating assumptions I know is the assumption that everyone drinks.

It’s not that I don’t drink alcohol, it’s that I so rarely drink it that the unit count is rarely more than 2 units a year. But it seems that the only reason people in this country would not drink is because they are compelled not to. So I get a metric tonne of sympathy for not drinking because I’m driving.

Questions I don’t like: “Would you not just have the one?” It hasn’t gone away. Or looks of disappointment on my behalf from waitresses because I’m driving. In truth, I’m driving, but I’m also lying. I don’t need that sympathy. I wouldn’t be drinking anyway.

Most people, when you say “well I’m driving” assume that if you had a choice, you wouldn’t be driving, and then you’d have a drink. I’d love to get a taxi some evening and not drink and say “I’m not drinking”. I’ve tried that before and the answer is generally “But sure you’re not driving”.

The assumption seems to always been that people would want to be drinking and it’s only the demon car keeps them from having that 10 euro cocktail, pint or whatever. It’s rarely accepted straight off that someone might not want to drink alcohol.

People choose not to drink for various reasons. It would be nice if no one made any comments about it and just accepted other people’s choices. I just don’t want a drink shouldn’t be a defensive response.

But in Ireland, the assumption, the default position is that sure everyone wants a drink.