I work in a pub. It might seem strange, but it gives me a good fix of that social world without having to get pissed. The problem is that everyone else is getting drunk. There is nobody there for the good of their health. They are there to meet some very basic requirements – companionship and booze. This is a very solid part of peoples day to day life. It smoothes over the edges and makes problems disappear. The interaction between friends who are merry is a joy to behold. I do feel that serious deadly sin “Envy” when I see people out on the beer enjoying themselves. It makes me remember the good old days….
The other day a guy came into the bar and ordered a schooner of VB. He stopped at the bar and addressed the drink before supping it. He looked at me, cheery as an axe man at a French revolution, winked and said “I’ve been waiting all day for this” – it was just after one in the afternoon. He lifted the glass, slugged a good guzzle and placed the glass back down on the bar. “aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah that tastes good…so good, thanks a lot mate” he uttered and left to take a seat. “No worries mate” I said in my worst Aussie accent and carried on about my ways. I got to thinking about that first sup. I remember how good that used to feel. You have been working all day, you’re tired, drained and have had a shitty few hours. You get to your local or favourite bar, order your favourite drink, sit and wait and when you finally get to drinking it, you release a lot of pent up anger, stress and worry. There is a massive psychological shift and you’re brain chemicals start doing little cartwheels before collapsing into hammocks. It is a good feeling.
There is no way to replicate that. There are things which can give you something similar but nothing quite gets that thick sensation of “aaaaaaah” like your favourite tipple. I like to get to the beach and exercise for twenty minutes before diving into the water. It is a refreshing endorphin pumping experience. But it does not quite get under your cerebral mania as a good strong drink. Part of me thinks…sure what’s stopping you then. Go on…live a little, sure a couple never hurt. The only thing which stops me…and honestly it is the ONLY thing, is that it is never ever just the one or two. It is never ever just a couple of drinks to relax and on about my ways. It is never ever a few friendly quiet ones to take away the stress and strain of living. It is never just a couple to wax lyrical about the state of the world. My brain and my body wants more and more and more. It is an addiction machine which doesn’t stop till it gets enough. And it never gets enough…..
I went to the pub the other night and had a few more Ginger Beers. I am getting quite used to being in pubs and not drinking. I’m getting used to it. I was with a couple of friends and we went out to the smoking area where they were smoking. I was bored and decided to have a ciggie – I haven’t smoked in months but used to all the time when drinking. Half way through the smoke I started to get the cold sweats. I stared to rumble in my tum tums and had to make a dash to the toilet. The smoke ejected itself through violent diarrhoea and thunderous vomiting. I spent about ten minutes feeling ill beyond belief. When I got back out to my mates and told them what happened they were laughing. “Fuckin hell, from the session king to this…jesus man!” I have come a long way in twelve months.
At work over the weekend I had to deal with the usual pub shenanigans. There was vomiting in beer gardens, in toilets and in bars. There were men’s urinals which had to be unblocked from carrots, piss, toilet roll and curdling stomach innards. There were fights, squabbles and bleary slurring obnoxious wasters. There were people jumping into bins full of broken glass and rubbish. There were people talking so much drivel that they couldn’t even understand themselves. There were people who went from fun, happy and likely to pull, to rude, weird and staggering home alone. There is one common denominator – lots and lots of booze.
Alcohol, I miss you, but we’re better off just being friends.