Wednesday, 28 February 2018

#458 The Hitchiker's Guide to Clapham - Part II

Orange juice and lemonade was the healthiest pub drink I felt comfortable ordering. A pint of tomato juice might've beaten it but I couldn't bring myself to order, or to drink, a pint of tomato juice.

Hetal sat opposite with her usual Peroni. It wasn't that I was going off lager or even trying to be healthy. Delicious as I found the amber nectar, it invariably sapped all my energy, which was exactly what would happen when I switched to it later in the evening.

Across the room, a gaggle of socialites descended upon the bar. One of them was waving a balloon bearing the number 30. A peculiar fact about adult birthday celebrations up to and including the thirtieth is that the number of years being celebrated is a remarkably unreliable indicator of individual behaviour.

A 29 year old birthday girl is only marginally less capable of falling over, losing items of clothing, getting asked to leave the premises, singing incoherently, spilling food on her clothes and waking up in Morden as a 21 year old. Fortunately the group that had entered the bar hadn't ticked any of those boxes yet although they were becoming frightfully loud and so was the music. It was time to move on.

For ten minutes we walked down the High Street. Then along a pedestrianised area. Then down another High Street. With virtually no hope of finding the Beehive and fingers that would soon be too cold to clasp glasses, we took refuge in All Bar One and found a surprisingly quiet sofa towards the rear. The new location proved an ideal place to discuss such a question as the meaning of life. I lost no time in raising it, to which my accomplice responded with a gentle reminder that I had already covered my thoughts at length in an email earlier in the week, which I had forgotten about.

With there being no other business, our meeting was concluded. I ordered a pint of Peroni, drank it and instantly became tired and useless for the remainder of the evening. Being neither below thirty nor celebrating a birthday, exploring any more of Clapham would have to wait. I followed up the Peroni with enough Diet Coke to snap myself out of the lager lull and Hetal kindly gave me a lift to the station. It was time to go home to bed.

6 comments

Fizzfan said...

I can sort of sort my life into phases through my drinking preferences, but soft drinks nosed dived into obscurity once I’d tasted alcohol and was old enough to get away with pubs serving me. They were very lenient back in the day, so from about 14.
First favourite was gin and orange cordial. Errggghhh! Then came Southern Comfort n Lemonade. Tai Maria n Coke. White Wine, Red Wine and then Jack Daniels n Coke (which is still my favourite short)
Course Fizz is still my mainstay, but a Porn Star Martini is my go to treat if they’re doing 241s.
I think if I had a hardier constitution (didn’t hate hangovers) I might have become an alcoholic because I do love the taste. The effects are also pleasant if one doesn’t over indulge, which 99 times in 100 I don’t.
I’ve always wondered how people with normal life responsibilities do get to become alcoholics. They must have higher tolerances to the after effects?
Pubs used to be ‘regulars’ but now they’re definitely occassionals. They’re too expensive, I’m too old and I only normally go out to mainly eat.

Did you find an answer to the meaning of life?
I was talking about it to my Mum a few years ago and said, I don’t really mind life now, I’ve sort of gotten used to it.
Maybe it’s just a battle until we get to a point where we’re content with what we’ve got and can then appreciate it.
Or maybe my goal in life was to just feel quite content.
Maybe thats the meaning of life?! Whatever it is you happen to desire.

Dan Copping said...

Gin and orange cordial? I've never heard of anyone drinking that before.

Jack and Coke might also be my favourite short.

With alcoholics who only drink at night, I agree, I don't know what they do about hangovers - maybe their body becomes more tolerant of that level of intake. The next stage would be where they drink during the day too, to avoid the hangover itself, which is more serious.

On the meaning of life, I have observed that people who are more or less in the prime of life and are healthy physically and psychologically tend to pursue interests that, if they're lucky, have the effect of improving the quality of their own lives and the world around them in some way.

Fizzfan said...

Yes the improvement drive is what I suppose should lead to contentment.
Ambition was never my thing but I did want emotional settlement and to live in a detached property (years of flats and noisy neighbours sharpen that particular desire enormously)
The only other real desire I had once it happened was a bigger kitchen. That sounds pretty shallow but Galley kitchens are torture chambers as far as I’m concerned.
Anyway we were able to extend and I suddenly felt quite content. (Well apart from work rubbish but hey you can’t have everything)
Fair few redundancies yesterday.......2 managers from our dept. Good people. Total bolt out of the blue. Everyones feeling skittish and pretty angry in their behalf.

Dan Copping said...

Do you think there's a better way to deal with redundancies than to make them out of the blue?

Fizzfan said...

Yeah I see what you mean, but not even the managers above them had the first clue it was on the cards. They are normally in on the act well in advance. They were pretty messed up about it too.
The two in our dept that had been singled out were told in the morning and then had to come straight back into the office. They were visibly shaken and emotional and had to go home.
I think at the very least they should have been told last thing on a Friday so they could go straight home and have the weekend to recuperate.
To not even give the timing of the announcement any thought just seemed an extra humiliation for them to bare.


Dan Copping said...


Agreed.

It would be a massive shock. At a time like that, people want to feel that someone at least cares about them enough to handle it correctly.