Monday, 11 August 2008

Swings and roundabouts

My legs are sore and I’m tired! I had to get up at 6am today, which is probably the earliest I’ve been up in the last year, to book my car in for its MOT and service. I was also up at 6am on Sunday morning, the difference being that I was only just returning home… I was out on Saturday night for a friend’s 20th birthday in central London – unlike last week, there wasn’t a problem getting in as we were on the guestlist. At about 2:30am I left to meet up with the girl I met in Electric Ballroom, but unfortunately I had underestimated my level of inebriation and things went tits up from there.

She was in Leicester Square (apparently only 5 mins away from my location) however my navigation skills are poor at the best of times and this wasn’t one of them. After about 45 minutes of purposeful, yet fruitless walking, I had still not found her and she had rightly given up and gone home. Why I didn’t just ask for directions is beyond me! By now it’s getting on for half past three and I’m not sure how, but I find my way to a bus stop – events are a bit hazy here. My travel card is still valid so I manage to get on a bus and head for home. Regrettably the alcohol wasn’t finished with ruining my night as I was forced to run off the bus after about a quarter of an hour to purge my poor stomach of the toxins within. Looking back it’s clear to see that this is where I then made another mistake by not waiting for the next bus, but taking it upon myself to walk home. I knew where I wanted to end up and I knew that the bus was heading in roughly that direction, my actual location was, and still is, a mystery.

Sobriety was a fair distance away and again I’m missing about 30 minutes of memory, presumably as I stumbled about uneventfully. Then my recollection returns and with it a feeling of joy as I recognised somewhere at last. I made my way confidently towards home as dawn threatened to break - nevertheless I was rather weary and upon seeing a bus I flagged it down. As it slowed I got out my wallet. Bugger! No ticket! No money! I’d lost my travel card on my journey and spent all my money on the £4 bottles of beer in the club. Thinking fast, I thought it best to flash my driving license at the bus driver as I hurriedly walked past – but it predictably failed and he called me back. I pled my case, but it was in vain. As I departed I asked if he would kindly tell me the quickest route to the place I live. He then proceeded to get slightly irate, accusing me of wasting his time (fair enough) but I pressed for an answer. He pointed behind him. What?! In fact the place I thought I recognised, wasn’t what I thought it was and the previous half hour had been spent walking in the wrong direction altogether. If the bus driver wasn’t paying attention (as they rarely do) I would have been on a one way trip back to central London!

As I retraced my steps, the sky lightened and my pace slowed. It was just after 5am, according to the timestamp of the text messages I was sending (informing mates of where I went), and I had managed to get back on track. Over the next hour I saw various shop keepers going about their business, road sweeps clearing up the mess of the night’s excess and odd looking folk, who appeared to have no reason to be up and about at such an hour – I suppose the same accusation could have been levelled at me. Eventually I rolled in the door at about 6:15am, thoroughly knackered, with vomit-flecked shoes and a mouth that felt as dry as a Jacob’s cream cracker!

Over the past couple of years, both at home and university, there have been times when I’ve been recklessly drunk, miles from home having deserted my friends. Yet something from deep within, basic and instinctive kicks in. Like a primitive sat-nav system, my autopilot guides me home and keeps me out of trouble. Getting pissed is neither big nor clever, but the human mind’s self-preservation ability is fantastic.

No comments: