Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Indian summer 

(9 more posts before shutdown)

Another bottle of wine tonight. (Chilean white - I am nothing if not democratic in my drinking; global even - and I feel guilty visiting vineyards from the same continent two nights running. I guess in that sense I'm like some kind of hoary Rolling Stones world tour: if it's Wednesday, it must be South America - "helloooo Santiago!")

I keep meaning to have a night off the sauce - and then something keeps happening to send me back to the pub and the off-license, to revisit the corkscrew and the glass. Last night it was S and his following of the star to my flat (I bring Gold, Frankincense and... Booze!); tonight it was getting a phone call asking for 1,600 words on Girls Aloud by tomorrow afternoon.

Trust me bambini, that kind of shit can't be written sober; that kind of deadline can't be met clearheaded.

My nightly insobriety is nothing new, of course; I've been drunk just about every night since I turned 18, but of late I've increasingly come to realise that I'm no longer the most together person of all the people I'm drinking with. In fact, these days I always seem to be the most drunk.

On Sunday P, N, S, P's mate S2 and I met in a pub in London's fashionable East London for a few beers and the top-of-the-table Arsenal Chelsea match. Naturally the tension of the occasion demanded the drinking pace be quite, well, demanding; and of course as the match progressed and tensions rose, the pace increased. After final whistle we decamped to another pub (one where people weren't actually fighting) and had a few more. And by the time last orders came around I was shitfaced. I mean - arseholed. Mullered. Banjaxed. Off my fucking tits.

Everyone else seemed ok. Everyone else, in fact, was amused by just how pissed I was. And it didn't make any sense. I couldn't understand it. The whole thing was quite... confusing.

Time was when even as all hell broke loose around me I'd still have enough shit about me to find a taxi, to order the right kind of kebab, to wake up (most of the time) with the right person and in roughly the right environs. Time was it was always someone else who fell over first, someone else who threw up first, someone else who had to be shown the door or escorted home. These days... these days that person has been me an awful lot.

You'd think one would build up a tolerance, not have that tolerance eroded over time. You'd think that after years of practising, I'd be able to drink for real by now, keep it together for longer. In the logical course of events you'd think I'd start as the pissed friend and end up as the together friend, not the other way around, surely?

Not that I'm concerned of course. Not concerned in any "we're concerned about you" way. I mean, it's a bit embarrassing being the most pissed and all, but hey, whatever. In fact, I'm considering it a last blowout. As from five days time my life will be all vegetables and country air and quiet nights in by the log fire and shit anyway. These are... my salad days. My dog days. This is my Indian Summer.

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