Sunday, September 03, 2006

No pants (or the point at which you realise you might be drinking too much)

This is another post culled from an old email to a friend (about who I intend to write soon).

It is a particular tale, about the visit by my sister and her partner to the grand city of Canberra.

I should point out now that my sister’s name is *Cathryn*. You would not know this if you were to meet her. Or meet her friends.

Ever since a particular point in her teenage years, the specifics of which I have never been able to figure out, she decided her name was *not* actually Cathryn at all, but *Cath*.

Now I have nothing against *Cath* as a name. Except to say that up until this 180 degree turnaround by my sister was most definitely known as Cathryn. She used to complain, in point of fact, against any attempt to mess withh that name. "Cathy" and "Cath" were right out. "Cathryn, or nothing!" That was her catch cry.

Then, it all changed. She became (for reasons never fully explained to me) “Cath”. That is what her “mates” called her. And that is what became her name. Well, who told me? No-one. As far as I was concerned, she was, as she has always been, “Cathryn”. And so she remains.

Maybe "Cathryn" seems weird. Maybe it isn’t fashionable. I don't know. But the name of my sister is Cathryn, and no-one, not least my sister, can convince me otherise.

Anyway there is a story below:

Cathryn, and her then-partner Holly, visited for almost a week whilst I lived in Canberra (back in 2002 or 3, who can remember?).

This meant all well-intentioned plans at that time of “drinking less” were off the cards. My sister distinguishing herself as an even bigger drinker than myself.

Cathryn and Holly seemed to have a good time during their stay. They got to meet the mixed bag of (mostly alcoholic) people I associated with in Canberra.

They were especially taken by the famous “Dan The Man”.

“Dan the Man” is a big guy: deep-voiced, large framed, but ultimately gentle public servant from Newcastle who works in the Prime Minister’s office. He wears a big black leather jacker, meaning if you were to see him from behind, you could mistake him for a character in The Matrix. But, on his face is almost always an easy-going, soft-hearted, friendly big grin.

His hobbies include reading classic literature and getting completely wrecked.

His favourite drinks are a schooner of beer with shot of whiskey mixed in and, often ordered simultaneously, a double vodka. Both of which, when he decides to drink, as he does with admirable regularity, he drinks at an amazingly rapid rate.

So, we go to the Civic Hotel with a group including "Dan The Man". This is a pub largely consisting of a large number of pool tables.

Holly has the misfortune of ending up as a pool partner with Dan.

Having drunk perhaps just a bit, Dan has decided to do his “drunken 30-year-old-bloke-who-can't-dance dance” when ever he sinks a ball.

The dance is actually quite similar to a belly dance, assuming the belly dancer in question has consumed a bottle of valium followed quickly by a double vodka.

Slow and wobbly.

And every time he sunk a ball, he would perform it for us all.

The basic rule being he would perform it *after* he pocketed a ball. However, the more he drank, the looser he got with the rules.

Holly, as his partner in pool, would get very uspet as Dan got drunker and started dancing before even taking his shot.

She would yell: “No, you haven't sunk anything yet!”

This was a little unfair. Having consumed far more than his fair share of booze, Dan was in no shape to sink anything but more double vodkas, which he proceeded to do. Therefore he would have been denied the opportunity to dance at all.

And that would have been just cruel.

However, it was the Saturday night of their stay that drove me to the point at which it occurred to me that, perhaps, I was drinking a touch too much.

We had consumed a fair bit of booze when, returning home, we decided to play Jenga.

Jenga is a tower-building game my sister had brought over. In this game, you make a tower out of rectangular blocks and then take turns pulling out a block and placing it on top of the tower, the aim being to do it without the tower falling over.

Cathryn had the game. Because it was my sister’s game, it was also a drinking game. With each block having an instruction written on it. For instance: “Have three drinks”.

I’ll admit, I was maybe a little tipsy. At one point, I decided the I just *had* climb on top of a swivel chair to show everyone my famous “funky dance”. It is a unique dance, said to resemble a kipper being electrocuted.

I ignored all pleas to get off before I fell.

I fell off twice.

In general, I behaved like an obnoxious prat, as is my wont when full of liquor. I forced my sister to get out Holly’s bottle of chocolate schnapps, and before too long that was almost gone as well.

Finally, with no more alcohol to be drunk, I stagger off to bed, and somehow manage to take my pants off, although my long-sleeve top proved too much of a struggle.

Collapsed in bed, it soon becomes obvious that before too much longer I would have to force myself up again, what with the room spinning out of control around me.

After a brief struggle I decided putting my pants back on was going to be far too time consuming. I staggered quickly to the toilet and emptied my stomach of its excess alcohol.

Then, feeling somewhat worse for wear, I slowly made my way to the bathroom to wash out my mouth.

As I turned the corner, I nearly ran into Holly, who stood there looking back at me. The next events occur in slow motion — I was far too wasted for them too happen any other way.

I looked at Holly. She looked at me. I looked down to confirm for myself that, yes, I was indeed not wearing any pants.

I said 'oh'. I turned and shuffled slowly and carefully back to bed.

However this is not the point at which I realised I was drinking too much.

No, that occured a short number of hours later when I wake up, and still quite drunk decide to take the last shot of schnapps left, waiting pre-poured in a host glass from the night before.

Hair of the dog works. I stayed drunk and not hung-over for quite a while — although I did drink my pint of beer quite slowly later that afternoon.