Monday, January 26, 2009

This is why I don't drink

As you may or may not know, I don't drink. I'm not against it, though - and I'm definitely not one of those weirdo teetotalers who frowns at people and tuts from the corner of the bar, I just made a choice not to. That choice came when I bought my first car; up until then I'd knock 'em back with the best of them, but when I got my wheels I decided it was an either/or thing. There'd be no "I'll just have one because I'm driving." In fact, in all seriousness I do think that the drink-driving law should be that you either drink, or you drive, with no fuzzy "you can have so many units" grey area in between.

But back in the days before I had a car I did like a little tipple. Y'know, nothing serious; just a little drink to get a little bit merry. And by 'little' I mean OH GOOD GRIEF I JUST REMEMBERED THAT 21ST BIRTHDAY PARTY! 


OK, so yes there was a 21st birthday party that I went to where I got blindingly drunk on Guinness. I think I'd had about seven pints, when, after busting some wicked shapes on the dance floor I decided that I needed a bit of a sit down. Upon sitting down, Big Bro came over and set pint number eight down in front of me. As he walked off I reached for pint number eight and somehow clipped it so I ended up pouring damn near all of it over my groin. Bad times. Although to be honest, bearing in mind how much the room was spinning I'm incredibly impressed that I managed to get my hand anywhere near it in the first place.

Anyway, there I am sitting in a darkened room with a pint of Guinness seeping into my crotch, and to top it off if memory serves me correctly I think I was wearing some kind of beige jean. And the seating was that horrible kind of public hall vinyl - y'know, the kind that won't absorb *anything,* so although my decision to remain seated may have been a wise one, it was thwarted by the dawning realisation that I was sitting in a puddle that would only diminish through absorption into my trousers or evaporation.

So I sat there for several hours grinning inanely, waiting for the party to finish and wondering if I could get away with just urinating where I was sitting.

So, yeah, it doesn't get much worse than th-


Yeah, I s'pose there was that birthday party of mine at that pub in Richmond where I necked 13 bottles of Smirnoff Ice (I was well into the tart fuel in my early 20s) because people kept buying them for me and I thought it would be rude to turn them away. Although it didn't stop me from pouring the occasional splash into other people's drinks (Mr. Chunt will confirm that Guinness and Smirnoff Ice do not mix), and it certainly didn't stop me from looking like an absolutely hammered tit.

Other than that though, I've been pretty well-beha-

Well, there was that time I went out drinking with a few mates in Kingston. I seem to remember that I got p-r-e-t-t-y wasted that night. And by 'pretty wasted' I mean that I thought it would be a wise idea to get on the bus and then manage the 15 minute walk from the bus stop to home without first hitting-up a toilet. For some reason I decided to call Mr. Chunt while I was walking from the bus stop to home (staggering so much that I probably added about half a mile to the journey) and all I can remember about that particular conversation is that I said "I'm *really* drunk" quite a lot and was uncomfortably candid about how much I needed the toilet. It was a very one-sided conversation, truth be told, mainly because he just laughed at me. And before anyone asks why I didn't just pee against a tree or something, I did consider it, but I was walking down a main road with houses on my left and lots of traffic on my right and while I might've been drunk, I had no desire to flash my wang to all and sundry.

The year after I necked 13 Smirnoff Ices - without, I hasten to add, either a) suffering from a hangover, or b) dying - I arranged another birthday party in Richmond. This proved not to be such a good idea, though, because the day of the party coincided with a rugby match at Twickenham which meant all the pubs were massively packed out and we ended up sitting outside in the freezing cold. Still, we made do, and by this time immune to the effects of tart fuel, I inexplicably decided to drink lager that night. 

I hate lager.

Not my gloves.

Regardless, I drank seven bottles of the stuff, stole El Deanio's hat and Mr. Chunt's gloves to keep me warm, and managed to deflect Scanner's suggestion that we go on to a club afterward provided I went home to change my shoes; he took a strange dislike to my shoes that night. When the pub closed I wobbled over to the bus stop, then staggered home in the freezing cold clutching bags of presents, wishing that I'd not had a drink and taken the car instead.

Sadly, that's not the end of that evening's shenanigans. When I got home, y'see, I was very drunk. Very drunk. And being very drunk meant that I got a bit confused when it came to the whole 'drink milk to line your stomach' thing. Of course I now know that you're supposed to drink milk to line your stomach BEFORE you go out drinking. Not after. But I did it after. I drank a pint of milk on top of the seven bottles of manky lager I'd had.

Then I went to bed feeling a bit smug in the knowledge that I wouldn't have a hangover in the morning.

I awoke at 3 o'clock in the morning with the unnatural sensation of something churning in my stomach. My first thought was, as it always is in such circumstances, that I'd been impregnated by an Alien, but when my gut didn't explode outward after a few minutes I began to suspect that something else was at play. At the time I lived at home with Sparky Ma and Pa, and my bedroom was located as far away as it possibly could be from the bathroom, without the bathroom being in the back garden or across the street. After rising unsteadily to my feet, I began to wobble down the stairs. As I began walking through the living room the churning sensation began to increase, and by the time I hit the kitchen I was running. Somehow I managed to swing round the corner into the bathroom before unleashing a veritable tsunami of vomit across the floor.

Without going into too much detail of Sparky Ma and Pa's bathroom, let me just tell you that Sparky Ma had recently purchased one of those little rugs that goes around the base of the toilet. It was a fetching pale blue colour. After taking a couple of minutes to catch my breath and compose myself, I reached up and pulled the light on. 

The little blue rug was nowhere to be seen. I began to scan the other side of the bathroom in case I'd swept it into a distant corner. What I could see, however, was a pea-green swarthe of vomit that Linda Blair would've been proud of, expanding across the floor around the base of the toilet (if I'd tilted my head a little to the left I'm pretty sure I would've gotten most of it in the bowl). And when I looked closer I noticed what looked like the outline of the small rug. 

It was entirely covered in vom.

I gingerly picked it up, leaving a perfect rug-shaped cutout in the vom, and began to wash it in the bathroom sink before cleaning up the floor and retiring to bed once more, uncertain if I'd live to see the morning - if the hangover didn't kill me, I was pretty certain Sparky Ma would.

As it turns out, she found the whole thing hilarious.

The last time I got majorly drunk was about five years ago. I'd been out with Mr. Chunt (in hindsight he factors into these stories rather a lot - he's clearly a bad influence) between Christmas and New Year, and we decided to stop into Sainsbury's in Richmond, where, knowing that I was going to be spending New Year's Eve at home with the folks, I decided to buy a bottle of Champagne. Long story short, I got a bloody awesome bottle for half the price because the girl on the till rung it up wrong. Bonus.

Anyway, fast-forward to New Year's Eve and we're all sitting around at home. Shortly before midnight I decide to crack open the champers, narrowly avoiding popping the cork in my face, and wave it in the general direction of my beloved family. Sparky Ma's not feeling well, so she declines; Sparky Pa only wants a small glass because he's not terribly fussed by it, while Big Bro sneers at me and wanders off to find another can of Guinness. 

"No worries," I say. "I'll just pop the bottle stopper in it so we can have some tomorrow."

Sparky Pa frowns at me. "There's no point - it'll only go flat," he says. 

I look at the bargain bottle of quality Champagne in my hand, think "sod that," and decide that I'll have the whole thing myself rather than let it go to waste.

I spent the entire next day in bed with cold sweats, pretty certain that I was going to die.

So, aside from a small glass of Champagne at Christmas (despite the fact that I can't stand the stuff now) I'm a full-on teetotaler these days. And to be honest that's quite a good thing because I often found that I was a bit of a sour drunk; I distinctly remember one party where I grumpily sat alone in the corner planning my escape route should ninjas attack the hall. Grumpy drunk aside, I also think I'm better all hopped up and off my tits on either coffee (my real vice) or a sugary soft drink; seriously, you should see me after a couple of pints of fat-coke (none of that crappy diet coke nonsense for me please, I'm hardcore).

On the other hand, if I did decide to go back to having the odd drink I'd be a damn cheap date, that's for sure. My tolerance is probably so low now that one whiff of a Babycham and I'd be anyone's.


Inexplicable DeVice said...

Phew! I'm glad you're a cheap date - I'm rather skint this month!

Yay! First!

Tara said...

Wow, I can see how you'd never want to drink too much again. Those are all good, nauseating examples. My mom would've laughed at the bath mat at first, but then she would never let me forget it. Does Sparky Ma still bring it up or did she strike it from the record? At least you cleaned it up!

A comedian once said that his grandfather told him, "You're not drunk until you have to hang onto the grass to keep from falling off of the earth."

CyberPete said...

I agree with you on the no drink and drive thing.

That said I can't see why you'd swear it off completely. You could just leave the car at home. London is packed with busses.

Love your party stories, very entertaining. I'm almost jealous because my drinking stories aren't nearly that fun.

T-Bird said...

I think I've hung onto the grass once or twice. Not a nice feeling!

Dude, that photo of you with the hat is HILARIOUS! If I wasn't your contemporary and understood that hats like that were floating around in the early 90's, I admit I would be merciless in my shit giving.

That's a lot of booze to not have a hangover for... you bastard!

the projectivist said...

Babycham, you say?
I'll just run by the bottleshop
and then I'll be right over!

Tim said...

Inexplicable Device - Not. That. Cheap.

Tara - Nah, Sparky Ma doesn't bring it up any more. She must've guessed I was mortified by it!

Cyberpete - To be honest I'm not a fan of alcohol anymore, and the hangovers just kill me, so I think I'm better off without!

T-Bird - Ha ha, that was so not my hat. Someone just plucked it off someone else and popped it on me. I was too drunk to care. I think I had some balloons tied to me that night too…

The Projectivist - Are you trying to get me drunk young lady?!

CyberPete said...

True as you grow older that changes. I like some drinks but it's more about the people you are with than the getting hammered although that said I do need that from time to time. It helps me refocus and I find that some things don't make me hungover. Like Champagne and wine.

Beer/lager is just nasty and i'll be down for days after drinking the stuff.

missy&chrissy. said...

we are quite impressed that you had the ability to drink all those Smirnoff Ices and not get sick/still live to tell the tale. those things are pure evil!! no wonder you gave up alcohol.

The Tall Red Head said...

You would think that in my chosen profession of "Barmaid" I would be forever put off drinking. Sadly, I am not.

Although there are times I have been very close.

Tim said...

Cyberpete - I actually prefer not drinking; I was a grumpy drunk, and this way I get to drive home - in the warmth! - quickly and easily, and don't have a hangover the following day. BONUS.

Missy&Chrissy - It completely put me off it though! I've not been able to drink another one since - I think I used up my lifetime's allowance…

The Tall Red Head - I can imagine that sometimes it could end up being a reason to drink in the first place!