Ahhh just even starting to explain this whole thing to you …. jesus.
There is no way to tackle the bastarding monster that has been this weekend, there’s no point of entry I can see but then I am so hideously drunk/hung over right now. I’m alone, I just woke up under the impression that I was lying in bed while the party rages on outside, and I finally hoisted myself and my pretty slept-in dress along to see, to join the posse, and it’s 5.27 am and everyone is asleep on couches and it’s dark and silent. Tomfoolery must have continued in my absence, I just went to bed, I feel terribly left out because I just went to bed… i didn’t want to leave the party, dude… I don’t know how I did leave. I can’t remember. Dancing.. then nothing.
So there it is.
Looking at the state of it all in memory banks shifting now with a bit o sobriety, it doesn’t appear as glorious and beautiful…. Yesterday we felt wonderful. We were carry it on forever drunk, and happy, and feeling good, and now it’s starting to cave in a little bit….
But it was GOOD.
Have been doing a lot of drinking since London, but it has clearly escalated since coming back to Ireland.
Thursday, my oldest friend came up to stay for the weekend and we hit my local pub and shrieked about jagerbombs. It was a quiet, middle aged kind of local pub and not the kind of place for that sort of thing. It was silly embarassing the next day, but now it pales into insignificance next to the following debauchery. Woke up Friday and had a few whiskey coffees to take the edge off.
Friday, was it, a lot of drinking, a lot a lot a lot. My best friend since childhood staying with me at my parents’ house… my step-uncle came for dinner and stayed to avoid driving home drunk.
Drank a lot, don’t know exactly how it escalated from wine over dinner to dancing to 90s pop in the living room, but somehow we made it to bed in the am. Must have hit a few solid hours there… four, five, probably no more. My friend and I, sharing my old single bed and single duvet with the flowery cover… not entirely conducive to good sleep. Woke up earlyish, Claire is gone… where is she? I follow her out and hear roars of the still drunk, and music loud and I think urgh what no, I was hoping to hang over with dignity. Claire is up dancing, everyone has resumed drinking except for my mother.
I’m not entirely surprised to see my family and friend having a little mini party in the morning, we slept very little and are all still pretty drunk. The energy to dance and talk to each other the next day usually only lasts about an hour of optimism before it dies and everyone goes back to bed or couch….
The drinkers offer me a whiskey coffee and wheedle me to join, so I do, and I notice I feel a little bit less than great. My uncle offers me sugar. No… ah just a bit. Tips half the bowl in. Actually yes that’s pretty good thank you. Drink up. Realise that is the second bottle of whiskey we are drinking now. I had two litres, that’s the second one gone…
Pissed again. Feel awful, can’t tell if the whiskey is helping. Maybe the coffee is, maybe it’s just nice to drink something warm. My throat hurts from all the stupid smoking. My mother is in bed, everyone tells me she is upset and I should talk to her. I’m so hung over it feels like the absolute cruelest thing anyone has ever asked me to do, to comfort someone sad but I go in and find her crying and I hug her but it doesnt make it stop, it unleashes it, it gives her motivation for crying. She wails at how much of a pig my stepdad is being. He’s still pissed, he’s being HORRIBLE. The things he said. I try to smooth it over but it’s like putting out a fire with booze, she’s loud and upset and I want her to be happy but all I can do is hug her and agree he’s being a pig. She says she hasn’t been able to eat all morning because she can’t bear to go out there… have everyone looking at her crying.
I notice she is being melodramatic in her hangover. My stepdad is being a total pig but in his defence, she was trying to drag him out to Ikea or something and naturally that is a ridiculous thing to expect of a hung over man. But she says he told her mean things and I think, well so what? I don’t get upset when people say mean things. This is a total lie, I sulked for a good while just the other night because my stepdad told me I was a very argumentative person. (I am inclined to disagree)
But I’m getting a bit pissed again, and all I want to do is leave the bedroom and the tears so I proclaim I will be her champion. I really, really don’t want to do anything. I wanted to be in bed and enjoy the sloth of the hangover, I don’t want this crying people thing. I go out and tell my stepdad he’s a pig, and to be nice to my mother. I am a blunt instrument, it’s not really good idea to use me for tact and slippery situations. I yell at my stepdad a bit, he yells back. Fuck… I don’t want to argue with him, I just know it’s not right that my mother is upset and he is the cause. It feels so wrong to think of someone crying while I feel so bad. You mean it’s possible to feel worse than this? I’m in awe… But I can’t back out of this yelling with my stepdad. He IS being a pig. Claire and uncle Jack are staying out of it but they tell me I’m in the right, but they let me tackle my stepdad alone, and I do a terrible job. Eventually my mother comes out all red eyed and potters around noisily. My stepdad begins ranting at her again. She sniffles and I try to smooth things over using shouts. URgh.
My uncle is looking for his keys. Where are they? I need my keys. Don’t give him his keys, he’s pissed. No no, just to get a change of clothes from the car. Oh why do you need to change? I’m going to the pub. No you’re not. Yes I am help me look for my keys. I pick up a few things but they are not the keys. I’ll have to go wearing this. No you are not going. You can’t leave us here in this horrible atmosphere… It’s bad enough for me here with my mum and stepdad yelling and crying and sucking out all the air in the room but quite another for Claire who is my friend, a guest, staying with us.
We’ll come too… we’ll come with you.
Jack nods. He probably doesn’t want us coming with him, but he knows my family situation… he’s witnessed a lot of crap. He knows it’s not pleasant when it’s like this. He probably wouldn’t be leaving at all if it wasn’t for this awful tension in the air. He’s a lovely guy, I am sure he is willing to bring us with him, away from the horribleness.
I’m not sure though. I tell her no, we are not going to the pub. Oh come on. No. Fuck no… It’s gonna hit us pretty soon, reality… Don’t make us be somewhere unmellow when that happens. Please no.
She goes to change clothes. Argh shit no, don’t unleash your drunken vigour on the public… I am not allowing you to go, as your best friend I command you to stay. No, I’m going, you can come too… come on.
I picture a pub with normal customers watching the rugby in silence and my friend flailing around, screeching. No… please don’t make me be the sober one at that party.
I refuse to go anywhere. My mother is doing things and washing clothes and my stepdad is sitting at the table, drinking, and looking like utter shit. He’s not saying anything, he’s not commenting on the drunks. He’s just drinking. He’s not drinking for pleasure, like we are. He’s an alcoholic, he just drinks. It’s not obvious to me at the time because I am drunk, that man sitting at the table, concentrating on the whiskey before him… he’s drinking beyond all enjoyment. He’s marinating in his rage and he has no intention of feeling better or making his hangover subside.
When he speaks, he spews forth a barrage of senseless anger that isn’t really directed at my mother, but her sensitive nature likes to get in the way, a bambi that runs before his drunk driver. It’s not her fault, but she steps in and takes it personally and fuels it with pathos too.
I can’t be in this house. The panic is setting in. I haven’t had a panic attack in two years, and here I am, my jaw held tight with nervous energy and my head pounding danger.
I remember what it’s like now, I can’t stay here for even two weeks. I need to find somewhere to live, and fast. The energy is repulsive. The whole house… it’s a much bigger house than it used to be, but instead of having somewhere to go to get away from the shouts and tears, they have just spread their sickness to fill out every corner.
There is no going to bed to sleep it off. We are too sick in the brain. I tried to lie there when I woke up but my brain wouldn’t allow it. You did this to me, you will pay the fucking price.
It’s around 10 or 11 am.
Jack is still looking for his keys. I really don’t want to go anywhere but still, the pub starts to seem like a reasonable option. I sip my whiskey. It really isn’t so bad, I’m beginning to feel a little bit better in the head. But my stepdad… he’s polluting everything. My mother is sad and that’s wrong, but I can’t think of how to solve anything. It’s obviously not something I can do, but at the time I feel entirely responsible. Only one person is allowed be mean to my mother, and that person is me. Every time I go to hug her, she wails and sniffs and begins naming the sins of my stepfather. Because she’s crying I can’t argue with her, but it begins to gain dimensions before me, it’s not just one person being mean to another, there’s also a massive nest of uglyness spanning nearly two decades, most of my life, and she’s as guilty of buildng it as he is. I don’t feel entirely right any more, in my outbursts to my stepdad. I just want them to be nice to each other, and for him to go to bed and leave the party because he’s not fun and it’s actually pathetic.
I start to get really, really sad about my family. It’s not normal, and I was used to it as a child but it’s not normal.. I can see that now. I feel a heavyness and I really don’t want to be in this house right now. I want to leave and forget it again and go somewhere that’s mine.
My mother and stepdad are acting out a pantomime, showing off their dirty laundry like it’s a badge of how much shit they have to put up with. I don’t want to be here watching this, I want them to act it out and then get over it. It’s obvious I can’t stay here.
Claire invites me to the pub again. I nod. I’m going to get changed. I put on a dress and cardigan. Try some makeup… my face doesn’t seem too bad really. My eyes are quite red, but my skin is the best it’s looked in days. I’m a bit puffy but the makeup although a little shakily applied, manages to bring me up to a pretty decent standard. Claire joins me briefly in my room to sigh and declare “I CAN NOT PUT ON LIQUID EYELINER RIGHT NOW” and promptly leaves before I can even think of saying, well I’m definitely not the best person to do it either. We emerge pretty much finished, just as Jack’s 40 something year old friend arrives, stone cold sober, to pick him up. Oh, there are also two young girls coming with you? Oh… okaaaay.
My mother and stepdad descend on us as we leave.
“What? Where are you going?”
“I’ll be on my own!” her voice is shrill and desperately unhappy. “He will go out!” He’s not going out, he’s not, I tell her. “Well he’s being horrible to me.” I’m sorry mum, I just can’t be in this negativity right now. “It’s him! He’s horrible!” I know, but I can’t stay here it’s not your fault. My mother is like a big frightened deer or something… right now she seems like another species to me… I want to explain, to help, it’s ok… but I honestly don’t know how to communicate with her. I try but she always makes me feel like I’m a horrible bitch and she’s the innocent victom. I have mostly given up. It makes me really, really sad.
The worst is, everyone sees how I am with my mum and tells me I am mean or she is so nice I should be nice, but I can’t help it, and it’s a very difficult dynamic. I love her very very much but I was an only child in that house, I had no brothers or sisters and I had no cousins and all there was was my mother, my stepdad, his drinking and her denial, and me in the middle. I find it very hard to have a lovely relationship with my mother because if she’s such a lovely person, why did she make me endure their toxic nightmare of a relationship? Her sweetness is sickly, there’s something wrong about it sometimes. She’s a nice person.. really… but she’s so SURE she’s a nice person, she doesn’t see when she’s being incredibly selfish. It’s like she labelled herself “nice” years, years and years ago, and since then she just hasn’t thought to check if sometimes she isn’t in the right.
I forgot what it was like, staying here… I really didn’t expect it to slam into my face so violently. My whole childhood rushing back at me… The two of them playing their little game with me in the middle, feeling guilty and wanting to patch up their relationship.
It’s hard to convey this… when I try to explain to a friend or a boyfriend what it was like… it just looks like I’m being dramatic, talking about feelings and negativity and expecting to be treated like some sort of victim of abuse. But it was abuse. I’m not saying there were no smacks but they weren’t the worst of it, the worst was the days of misery in my room, alone, knowing the entire universe that I was free to inhabit was full of poison air except for my little bedroom. My little bedroom I’m in now, with two doors between it and the living room. I listen for the vaccuum sound of the first door, I can almost hear it… someone about to ruin my peace. They come in ALL THE TIME. They knock and enter at the same time. What the fuck, people? I’m not saying I need to masturbate all the time, in fact it’s pretty difficult in this horrible bed that reminds me of unrequited love and text messages that were never answered, but I am an adult woman, I need a bit of respect. Knock, and wait, how hard is that? Also I don’t appreciate being disturbed anyway for trivial things and to be informed of shit or asked questions.
I just want out of this. I knew it would be awful being back home even for a few days, but I forgot how awful. It is so sad to come back here, to the house I was raised in, and see my family like this. My dad in Italy, he never had any idea how horrible it was. My dad and his wife, when they are angry with me, they shout and then it’s over. There’s no subtlety, there’s no twisting the knife in your back, it’s just what it is, you get over it, you fight and you argue and you draw a line under it and move on. I could have told my dad I guess, but I grew up in this house here, and to me it felt like this house was the normal house. Back here again… Jaysus, I mean I love Ireland, I want to live in Ireland definitely, but I really miss my dad and his wife and my sisters, all so innocent of this type of bullshit. They would never sit at a table and drink and wallow and force hate and rage to continue long after it should have just collapsed on its own. I could never sit at the table and hit the whiskey coffees either… but that’s cool, I am starting to think this open alcoholism and cross-generational sessioning is… not entirely as brilliant and positive as I was brought up to believe.
So with all those thoughts dragging me down, far down, much further than the whiskey and further than my own hangover… I hug my mother with involuntary coldness and we head out to this new guy’s car. He’s sober… he’s sober. I don’t feel good. Claire is bubbly and kicking and running and she’s had two whiskeys. I know it’s going to hit her soon, the uneasyness, but I just hope she can manage to be hung over in her own head and not try to offload any of it onto me. I have just enough to deal with myself, thank you.
But Claire is an extroverted type of girl. She shares her happy more than I do, but she also brings you along on her adventures in misery. I brace myself for a worse headache than I have now…
We drive and drive and hit the bar. Be good… don’t be too lairy. Jack tells us to keep our cool. I point out to him, if he is bringing us to a bar where we have to behave ourselves, anything that happens is his fault for being so foolish. I will try to be quiet though, I promise.
We enter and head straight for the bar and sit up on stools. I order a bunch of bloody marys, knowing with all beautiful certainty that the bloody mary is all that can save me right now. I love bloody marys, I could honestly drink them non stop but they are very expensive. I knock back my first and start to feel absolutely fucking WONDERFUL. The heavens have parted and sunlight shines down on my mental state. Life is great.
I am beside my uncle and his friend. Claire immediately swivels around and starts talking loudly to this group of men around our age. I talk to Jack. We say numerous witty and hilarious things. We are so totally smashed, I don’t even know if he had any sleep and we definitely didn’t have enough to sober up. A couple of hours, maybe. That damn single bed is not big enough for Claire and I to sleep through a hangover. I feel like I might have tonsilitis, there’s some weird pain in my throat but it’s only on one side… urgh. Will deal with that later. I woke up today to a message from the std clinic, I have tested negative for ghonnorhea and chlamydia. Oh YEAH! Boom! Wonderful news. I didn’t think I had anything, but still… I had never had a test before. Very bad. and those are the two most common stis or stds or whatever. I still need to get a blood test too and a pap smear but I’m just really happy about the chlamydia thing because my friend freaked me out about it recently saying if I had it for ten years or something I would be infertile. And you know how much I value my fertility.
Anyway we drink at this bar… The barman eyes us impassively. He has no fucking idea what the dynamic is between these two middle aged guys and these two absolutely shitfaced 20 something girls. But he doesn’t allow his face to find us challenging, he just makes our drinks and throws back the occasional quip. I tell him he’s making these bloody marys too damn good. Stop that! what a good complaint, he says, smiling just a crack. I have had two.. now I’m drinking beer because, bloody marys cost a lot of money and also it’s my round. Claire is in the centre of this group of men being drunk. They are all monstrously attracted to her, and she’s being charming. She yelps out “YOU HAVE A MASSIVE ERECTION!” to someone who it turns out, had been over talking to her with a very obvious hard on. I start to feel jealous. I want attention…. I want to see hard ons.
She’s quoting Anchorman left right and centre. “SIXTY PERCENT OF THE TIME… EVERY TIME!” and “It means a whales vagina!”
She turns to me and grips me by the arm every so often, as I wallow in feeling insignificant. “PLEASE stop me from talking to those boys… What am I doing? UGH… Stop me.”
I’m like, maybe a little bitterly, “Well just stop being so damned witty and charming”
She chuckles. “I can’t help it I’m just too damn charming!”
and she returns to the collection of panting 20 something guys, throwing out one liners and cheeky comments… she’s on fire. I’m just really impressed.
I have a sneaking suspicion that the less animated guys who are not really receiving her attention, are defending themselves by sort of taking the piss out of her. I can’t tell which feeling dominates though, whether it’s more wow hot girl being hilarious and talking about sex and being fun, or look at the state of them messy up all nighters with the two old guys…
I am half jealous of the attention and half embarassed of it. I decide to drink more. I somehow reach the nice place. I try to get Claire outside with me to have fun in the sun, she shrieks “I don’t want fun in the sun, I’m not into scissoring!” What’s scissoring, ask the boys. Shhhh I say. Don’t explain scissoring to these people… “Well you know women don’t have penises… so they have to have this…” makes scissor actions with her hands, interlocking her fingers. “LIKE A PAIR OF SCISSORS!”
Hey… she says, catching sight of me… You have really beautiful eyes!
I take my role as the responsible, sober one even though i can barely walk I am so drunk. I admonish Claire, I try to wheedle her outside. She refuses. Fine. I go outside for a bit, two of the men arrive out for a smoke. I have become a smoker again just for today… I am briefly the centre of attention. The other men realise I am absolutely muntered too. I thought you were the good polite one? No that’s bullshit, it’s just mother hen mode, it happens when my friend is a little bit drunker than me, I start to mother her.
It’s just a habit I got into some time ago I guess.
Back inside, I am talking to one of the guys. His name, he says, is Fionn.
Claire tells him oh no, I could never have sex with you. My brother’s name is Fionn! (she’s not lying) He turns to me instantly. what about you, is your brother’s name Fionn? I say, yeah both of my brothers are called Fionn. Really? Yeah totally. Claire wanders off and he talks to me. I interrupt. WAIT A MINUTE, did you just “Plan B” me?
“Nobody Plan B’s me!” I try to snap my fingers in the air like a sassy black woman on daytime tv but I remember I can’t snap my fingers.
He gets indignant, no! I wasn’t plan b-ing you!
YEAH YOU WERE. It’s ok, I’m not offended, it’s just… aint gonna happen BABY! I don’t want no scrubs!
I decide to be cool and stop babysitting my only a tiny bit more drunk friend. I yell sometihng like “spring break, woo!” and declare “I’m not gonna be mother hen any more, it’s not me, I’m gonna get OFF THE HOOK!”
Claire says great! Fionn says Go for it! I feel wonderful, wonderful. I’m being totally charming and hilarious too…. What an idiot, sitting there all jealous when all I had to do was let loose and be fun….
Fionn looks at me… “wow, your eyes are amazing, they are really pretty…”
I grin and say, “yeah, I know”
He’s like “Ha I like that, you just say I know, you’re not modest about it.”
I shake my head. “No! It’s only because my friend just told me the same thing a few minutes ago…that’s why… I already know, like.” He seems to find this amusing. The guys are thoroughly distracted by us from the match they were watching. I feel a surge of happiness and like this is exactly where I should be. In Ireland, where we can just be happy drunk people and buzz off each other.
“I like you, you seem really nice,” says Fionn
“I’m not nice,” I tell him.
“You seem nice.”
“I’m not it’s just, I give that impression because…” (I wave my arm towards Claire) “I’m not saying I’m ugly or anything… but because my friend is so pretty, people just presume I am nicer.” I feel like that’s a really clever observation I just made. But he jumps in with the right thing to say, obviously.
“What? But you’re like… stunning too!”
(I grin from ear to ear but wave his compliment away as irrelevant) “well thank you, but you know… yeah I don’t think I’m ugly like, it’s not asking for a compliment, my friend’s just better looking you know? It’s no big deal it’s not like it makes me feel shitty. I feel pretty but she’s just… a different sort of pretty, you know?”
He looks at me unbelieving. Maybe he can’t tell if I really mean what I am saying or is it a trick to make him say my friend is prettier and then burst into tears or something. I think I was originally talking shit trying to seem cool with it but as I said it… I realised I totally, totally meant it and didn’t feel remotely unhappy about anything. I felt great, actually.
I wave him away and continue. “You see, she’s like, the outgoing pretty popular one, so naturally people presume I am smarter and nicer and more serious. I’m really not. Seriously, we are both really similar, but we get labelled differently.” I realise as I say it, and by the way it’s the first time I ever even think this thought, it’s like… it feels really honest. Claire arrives and squeezes in.
Fionn tells her I seem nice but that I said I’m not the nice good one. She sides with me.
“She’s not good! She’s way more… um… wild.. than me…” She’s like Samantha from Sex and the City. Seriously! She’s OFF THE HOOK!”
We high five each other. We have been saying everything is OFF THE HOOK in a kind of Cartman voice all night. It’s something i always say, and I have infected Claire with it. We said it probably at least 2000 times over the course of that one day. Also, we high fived each other and the lads and the men… too many times. We woke up with sore arms. And legs. And bruises everywhere. That was probably from all the dancing….
He asks me, are you really like Samantha? I say yeah baby. He’s like… yeah I kind of see it now… And I’m like… hey you aint seen nothin’ yet… and wiggle my eyebrows suggestively. Actually scrap that, I say… I am not trying to flirt I’m just having a laugh. I leave him and turn to Claire. Claire seizes an ancient white haired man by the hand and exclaims “I LOVE YOUR RING!”
He is wearing a pinkie ring with a clump of semi precious stones attached with beads and a bit of elasticated string. He says it’s not real, I don’t think, but I like it. She tries it on. She likes it a lot, I can tell. She says no it’s not real, it’s costume jewellery, but it’s very beautiful. WELL DONE YOU!” She hands it back. She has made that old man’s day, he is just beaming happily. She leaves him to his Guinness and comes back to me.
We screech “OFF THE HOOOOOOOOOK!” together several times and collapse into hugging each other yelling “you’re my best friend! you’re my best best best friend!” while the guys make appreciative cheering noises.
We pull apart. Claire pauses then yanks up my skirt and spanks me particularly hard across the buttocks. I shriek DONT FUCKING SPANK ME IN PUBLIC YOU JERK! She has a tendency to spank me, sober too, but normally she doesn’t pull my skirt up to do it.
I hear one of the lads pipes up with “hey hey what did I just miss?”
I pretend to look annoyed at the attention and pull my dress down indignantly and storm off to the bar. MORE BLOODY MARYS! I have had like four of them now and a couple of pints of beer. It’s around 2pm. The barman says he wants a good tip now for making the bloody marys so nice. He walks off.
Claire whispers to me… “Here’s a tip.. stop dying your hair black.”
I giggle hysterically and only then notice the barman has really badly dyed hair. I am very glad she chose to whisper this time.
I talk to people about my marriage. I tell my uncle and his friend about how I used to have to get up at 3am to take a dump in secret in the bathroom because I didn’t want my ex to know I had a disgestive system. That was probably weird, but fuck it. We laugh. Then it goes back to a sort of dark mood, we talk of death.
I discover Jack’s friend Ned just lost both his parents recently. Like, very recently. It’s the first time he has been persuaded to go out and have fun since their passing. It dawns on me just how inappropriate it is… for Claire and I to tag along with my uncle and his grieving friend, pissed out of our skulls and ranting and roaring about scissoring. I try to be cool and not say anything insensitive. I say flippant silly things and say life is beautiful and death is horrible but it makes life so much more precious… and he disagrees. It’s not like that at all. Well, I say, don’t mind me… I’m just drunk and say things before I think about them. He tells me actually I’m pretty coherent and not being bad at all.
I puff up with pride but wish he would leave me alone, I’m drunk I don’t need this depressing talk.
We’re leaving the pub. Claire wants to stay with the boys. I tell her there will be other, better boys. OK!
We walk along the street, a dubious foursome. I have my head hanging in respectful drunkeneness and I am being talked to about grief. I manage not to say anything rude but my head is pounding at me saying get out get out of this conversation. We arrive at the second pub which has just opened. It’s four pm. We are INCREDIBLY drunk.
Claire enters the second pub yelling about her drunkness. I am skipping and running and whooping. My uncle sits us down the back somewhere, in a nice dark corner. It’s very dark. Hooray! I love this pub. It’s the nicest place I have ever seen. I remember being here when I was 16, and drinking two pints before being asked to leave. We made a huge fuss and the bouncers were called and we were made to leave and it was very embarassing because of all the men we got to buy us drinks. Underage… ohhh..
Well it’s a nice pub. We get a few drinks in. I notice my uncle is absolutely pissed too, for the first time. I think he was just on his best behaviour in that other pub. There is a statue of a naked venus or something and he grabs its nipples and goes “Biddly biddly biddly!” I try to avoid being cornered by the grieving friend. I am somehow drawn into a conversation- he insists he read a scientific study where water that had been blessed with positive energy had chemically different properties than water that was not blessed. He says he doesn’t mean blessed like religion blessed, more like… positive vibes, man.
I tell him I don’t discriminate between mumbo jumbo, it’s all the same to me. He swears it is a real study. I tell him I am a skeptic and darn proud of it. I want proof baby or there’s no point… He swears he’ll show me proof. I say I will wait for the proof… that’s the whole thing about being a skeptic, him saying the proof exists is not good enough for me. He still insists on continuing to talk to me about it. I don’t want to be a dick to some guy who wants to believe in things when his parents have just died but I don’t believe what I don’t believe, and it’s annoying having to play the tolerant atheist for one day, even if I am absolutely shitfaced. I say all the hypocritical rubbish that the tolerant atheist says like,
“Yeah of course it’s possible, I mean I don’t KNOW there aren’t ghosts, I just don’t believe in ghosts unless I find proof of a ghost. And I mean if I found proof of ghosts I would be FUCKING DELIGHTED! And fair enough, maybe water does change based on observation, I just have never seen the proof of that.”
He tells me we are all 90% water, and if water changes its structure based on good or bad vibes, then that’s amazing, maybe positive thoughts can cure people?
And I’m like… urgh.
“Yeah I mean who knows… it’s just that my entire, absolute point is not, this is my opinion of what is true versus this is your opinion, it’s like… all my opinions are fluid, but they don’t get swayed by drunken argument and being told something is true.”
Anyway I said a lot of stuff that isn’t true about my open mindedness. I’m not agnostic about ghosts, any more than I’m agnostic about a god. I don’t think it’s impossible for there to be ghosts, but just because I admit I COULD be wrong, doesn’t mean I have to keep an open mind about ghosts in preparation for maybe finding ghost evidence. I can safely be sure there are no ghosts because as a skeptic my mind is still open. Deciding there are absolutely no ghosts is only a definite statement that can’t be reversed, if you are a devout believer in things. I decide there is no god, if I find evidence of a god it will change my TOTALLY 100% made up mind because that’s what my mind does. It changes, even when it is totally decided.
Anyway this guy kind of wrecked my head, but he didn’t seem to mind my disagreements. I was nice and diplomatic enough even in that condition, that he said I was great and had a great way of looking at things. Yeah, because it’s not my real way of looking at things. I know what a nice tolerant person would say, but it makes me cringe when I say it. Anyway you’re grieving, I’m drunk.. it’s not the right time to educate you on nihilism.
I grow really bored and excuse myself. “TWO MOTHERFUCKIN JAGERBOMBS IN THE HIZZAY!” Claire is talking to a strange middle aged woman and her husband.
“you’re AMAZING!” Claire tells the woman. “I don’t have any money, can you buy me a drink?” The woman says ok. “JAGERBOMBS BABY!”
I approach Claire. “I didn’t pay for this drink!” she yells at me, hanging off the arm of her benefactress. The husband engages me in conversation. He calls me “jagerbomb girl” which I think is weird because why would he call me that? He tells me I have been up at the bar several times buying jagerbombs. I don’t remember that.
I tell him about my marriage and separation. He tells me I am interesting and strong.
Well… I grow louder and boast to the man for a little longer and then lurch off through the dimly lit pub, finding the beer garden and for some reason this random elderly man is offering me a job. I accept the job. Sure thing, I’m great at administration. I’ll get your number later. Yeah! Oh… I don’t want to give this old man my number. I have to… go over here now. I back away and find Claire again. We are eating crisps and have more jagerbombs. We realise we haven’t eaten anything all day and we are hungry.
The barman comes over with some menus. Would you like to eat something?
YES! Oh my god yes! I didn’t know you did food!
I look at the menus, they are for various take away restaurants in the local area. For some reason I don’t think that is weird that the pub has these random menus and not… like… its own menu. I think maybe they will order us a takeaway. I look at the menus but I don’t want anything. I tell the barman I actually had my heart set on a poached sea bass. He grins and tells me that can be arranged. REALLY? I was just being annoying. Can I have it on a bed of wilted spinach, with some onions on the side that have been gently ashamed? Yes. He writes it all down on a pad. My friend wants a steak, medium rare. Actually I wish I was getting a steak. I realise the menfolk will want some of my sea bass and I don’t want to share, so I order a portion of chips for them. I might have some chips too. Make that TWO chips!
Sure thing. The barman goes away.
Claire and I beam at each other excitedly, I’m sitting on my hands rocking back and forth.
“I cant wait for this food it’s gonna be…”
“OFF THE HOOK!”
We sit for a while chattering about our food. I clear my stuff off the table in preparation.
Jack comes back to us.. are you coming outside for a smoke?
“No we have to wait for the food.”
“Uhhh… I didn’t know what you wanted so I got you chips. I’m having a sea bass. You can… you can try a bit…”
He snorts. They aren’t actually making you food. It was a joke.
What? A joke?
They don’t make food.
I don’t believe this. LIES! I stalk up to the barman.
“My sea bass… I ordered a sea bass.”
He laughs. The whole bar laughs. I am unembarassed. I feel like, it’s more shameful for the bar staff, taking advantage of naive drunk chicks, than it is for me. I pull myself up to my full height, swaying on battered mid heels like an ancient tree in a storm. I will put you people in your places.
“Yes… ysss well. I may be ugly, but you’re sober. And at least I’ll be drunk in the morning.”
I am of course aware that I am misquoting, but I find it is better to just SUGGEST to people that I am drunk but they are ugly, but fuck it up completely, than to actually tell them that I know I am lairy but gorgeous. It’s like… reverse psychology, or something. But I am pickled from the inside out. My eyes are red, my cheeks are red, my face is white as old portraits of sick princes who died when they were 10.
There are roars of patronising laughter. I am sure we are more entertaining a party of drunks than we are an annoyance. It’s a pub… it’s a pub, that’s what they are for. I chat to the barman for a while. He claims he is going to get my sea bass out of the car. I continue to ask him about my sea bass every time I see him actually. It’s probably annoying. Who cares, I am fun. I am king of the world, I’m charming the pants off everybody. Hooray!
In another room, I find Jack and Ned. Oh hello! I join them, radiating joy and entertainingness. I am here! The party is back on track! I don’t think about why they have left the room we were in. I presume they are looking for myself and Claire, the life and soul of the premises. YAY!
Claire barges in behind me and slumps onto the bar. She begins interviewing the barman, for some reason. Loudly. She holds out a glass or a straw or something as a microphone and bellows questions at him jovially. Behind him is a young barmain, giggling and blushing. She pleads with the barman, she wants to serve us… Can she serve us?
He nods and smiles, steps back and lets her come to the bar. Claire begins to interview the barmaid instead, who seems to find it all brilliant and hilarious although in some part she is also laughing AT Claire. But she is getting a kick out of it, that’s for sure.
“So how does it FEEL to be here today?”
And then one minute, I think I hear a guy beside me mutter something about going outside to get away from these annoying people. The horror… the fear and misery and despair washes over me.
Do we… do we annoy people?
Are we not cool and nice and fun and hilarious and witty and warm?
I thought we were being the life and soul of the party, but maybe… is it possible I am wrong, and maybe we are just drunkenly leering around, assholes and dickheads, boring everyone and making them want to leave us? I turn to Jack and Ned and whisper sadly… “I think those.. I think those people hate us.”
I want to cry, I want to crawl down into a hole. I didn’t realise people might not appreciate our antics.
Jack says no, of course no one said that. I’m being paranoid.
Am I? No, I don’t think so. Why would I think that?
Jack is drunk too… he leans over to a woman near me and shouts “did you say the girls were annoying?”
AHHH! Cringe! No! I insist to the confused woman who is shaking her head… “I didn’t tell him that! Shut up Jack I didn’t say that! Sorry! Sorry!”
The woman insists I must have misheard. I’m not surebut I am embarassed now. I go outside to get away from the shame. I come across the man who I think maybe said the thing about us being annoying, and a woman with a shaved head. He storms off imediately. Ok I’m not being paranoid. I sit down with the woman and talk to her about myself for a while. She laughs at my jokes, and as she speaks it occurs to me that she either has a REALLY OBVIOUS American accent or I am just hopelessly drunk. I interrupt her.
“I’m very sorry. I can’t tell if this is a racist question or not. If so, I’m sorry. But… Are you by any chance… an AMERICAN PERSON?”
She laughs. “Yes, I am an American person.”
I am so relieved. “Sorry that was like… I didn’t know if your accent was like… my imagination or not. You see maybe I’m paranoid. Because… I thought this guy said I was annoying so I was upset, but maybe I’m paranoid?”
Claire lurches out to me. “HEY BABY!”
She addresses the American person as “Sinead O’ Connor.”
I don’t remember how this was received. I know Claire was giving everyone nicknames. She told Ned he looked like Toad of Toad Hall. That wasn’t appreciated, probably. At one point Ned began telling her she was “very sad” because of her behaviour. She disagreed. She said she was happy. He tried to tell me my friend was sad too. I argued. No, she’s happy. I haven’t seen her so happy in a long time…
He insisted, it was the behaviour… she could end up getting taken outside and raped, being so flirty with all the guys. I was really upset by him saying that stuff. He doesn’t realise she is like that with men and women, it’s not flirting, it’s friendliness.
He says, she could get into a lot of trouble.
I’m like, “You know what, man? She is friendly and I love that she is friendly. If she gets raped it’s not cause she’s too friendly, it’s because the rapist is fucked in the head. It’s not her fault she is attractive to men, and I would rather she was friendly than standoffish because it’s people like her that make the world a lovely fun place to be in. You know dude, I’m not half as flirty, I take a lot of care not to accidentally give men sexual signals, but I wind up in so many worse situations than she does. It doesn’t mean you’re in more danger, being over friendly and bubbly. It’s a lovely thing.”
He shakes his head. He doesn’t believe me. He says I’m just standing up for my friend…he says she is “damaged.” I’m like, well you’re entitled to your own opinion and all…. but you’re wrong.
He tells me my friend should be more like me, and I am really sensible and sorted and together. I realise when he says this, he hasn’t a fucking clue what he’s talking about at all and I stop bothering to argue with him. I just shrug and go back to yelling “OFF THE HOOOOOK!” and asking people about my poached sea bass I wanted. My mother starts calling and asking in a sad little voice, when I want to come home? “Uhh I don’ wanna… I’ma having fun now ok”
She doesn’t sound impressed. Meh. I’m having far too much fun. I want to stay out forever…
I am drinking pints. I wonder how much I have drinken.
Claire has disappeared again. I find her in the midst of a group of musicians who are waiting to play a gig. I tell them they are really good. Then I remember I haven’t heard them play yet, so I tell them, well sorry maybe you are shit. I mean, I’m sure you aren’t but how would I know? I go away and leave Claire with them. Outside I am with my uncle Jack and Ned and American Sinead O Connor and the guy who said we were annoying. Jack confronts him about it. He says no, nothing like it. I am really embarassed and angry. He’s lying. He’s lying to us because he thinks we are all so drunk we won’t know…
My mother rings again.
“Do you want to come home?”
Jack shouts “Ask for a lift!”
“Can I have a lift please home mum?”
“I thought you didn’t want to come home?”
“Where do you want a lift to then?”
“Are you sure?”
My mother arrives soon after. I drag Claire away from the musicians and some guy who apparently gave her coke. We’re leaving…. Okaaaayyy… Bye guys!
We get in the car. My mum is all sober disapproval. It’s me, Claire and Ned in the back. Ned is coming back with us. Why? I thought he was having a shit time, apparently not. Apparently he had caught up with us and was drunk and wanted to keep partying on. In the back, Claire and I are shrieking “ITS OFF THE HOOOOK!” and more quotes from Anchorman.
Ned lectures us… “Your mother is being a wonderful woman picking you up from the pub like that, you should be nice to her.”
I nod and fall silent. The car stops. At an off licence. Why are we here? Why is my mother ENABLING us? Her and Jack leave us in the car. Claire and I take their absence as a challenge to make the most noise. We start yelling and scrapping.
I tell her “DONT THINK I WONT FUCK YOU UP, BITCH, I FUCK YOU UP! I FIGHT DIRTY BABY!” and she starts biting me in the arm and giving me nuggies.
ARRRGH! I bit into her arms too. We are kicking and biting each other and shrieking fightin’ words. “Bitch you DEEEAAAD!”
My mother and Jack return with a bottle of vodka and some whiskey or something. I find that really weird… How? Why? Since when did we have any money left? Why isn’t my mother being good and cutting us off while she has the chance? Why is she allowing us to continue our ridiculous bender?
Me and Claire calm down a bit. I pat my mum on the back on the head and tell her gravely “thank you for picking us up,mother, you are truly a king among men”
We all thank her.
We get back to the house. Drinking ensues… I make a litre of bloody marys, but I am utterly fucked right now and just put a whole load of things in there… it’s not very tasty. No one else wants theirs, but I drink mine and then some. YAYYYY!
But I know it’s near the end because it fails to make me feel like I’ve just guzzled a pitcher of happy juice. I start to admit the idea that our awesome festival of debauchery will come to an end. There’s dancing… We are all dancing. I sit down because I’m starting to feel shitty. My mum is at the table sitting with me and starts talking to me in non-drunk language. I can’t take it.. it’s giving me a hangover. I can’t hold a conversation with my mother. She’s actually not sober, she picked us up at 8pm from the pub apparently and it is now like midnight, I am just missing a huge chunk of memories. But it feels like my mother is sober and wants to nag me. Everyone else is having a great time…. I’m starting to crash and burn. I smoke a joint and it bangs the last nail in the coffin for me. I’m off. I’m fucked… Good night everybody. Good night…
And there it ended. The best, most awesome fun, improvised bender I have had in probably around a year. Claire and I used to have the most incredibly fun times together when we were briefly in college. I blame each other for our dropping out before the beginning of first year. But we have the best times. She sweeps people up with her charm and friendliness and I contribute some other kind of madness to it, and we have the BEST times. I mean, maybe it doesn’t come across, the fun we had…. I hung out with my step-uncle and his friend, two men aged forty five or so, and we all had a brilliant time. Maybe we were mad bad and sad girls, squawking inanity at each other and everyone, but I don’t think so. Jack and Ned reassured us the next day. That’s what you have pubs for. Drunk people. That’s what drunk people are like… if you’re lucky. They admitted it was one of the best times in ages, we said the same. It was something that would go absolutely tits up if you tried to plan it. You can have a massive house full of booze and sexy beautiful people you like who are fun and young and crazy and not come out with a day like that. It was gloriously fun, and silly, and inappropriate, but it was fucking fantastic.
And it’s exactly why I moved back to Ireland. Not so that I can go off the rails and drink enough to kill a bus load of Italians, but so that if I do get drunk and go out, I will laugh and laugh and I won’t be ashamed of the sillyness, only the badness. And here I am now, it’s not the day or the day after, it’s Tuesday and I started writign this at 5.30 am on Sunday morning with the fear and the depression and I still don’t feel entirely well or mentally fit yet…. I’ve been having panic attacks for three days now which isn’t pretty but as Sly Stone said, the nicer the nice, the higher the price. I think.
When it comes to serious drinking, there is no piracy. You gots to pay for what you take. And I’m not happy about paying but in the long run, I’ll remember that day and I’ll forget the hangover. It was… seriously… OFF THE HOOK.
About the whole reality thing, and the being in my parents house… yeah, that has my brain pretty damn fried too. But I am sure I want to be in Ireland. I just don’t want to be in this square kilometre. So… tomorrow hopefully I will have produced some new seratonin and can get back to writing my cv.
And as to the whole… alcoholic family and my terrible, terrible approach to alcohol… I am entirely aware of the hypocrisy and badness of it all. I’m not drinking again now for a while, really. But anyway, I would never have gone to any pubs during the day if it hadn’t been for the awful tension in the house and all. I fell and landed on a bender, that’s what happened.
And I haven’t abandoned my blog, I was just too drunk and hung over to type anything.