Some people drink to remember. Others drink to forget. This morning I found myself fervently wishing that I could forget the events of last night and nobody else would remember them. A dangerous triumvirate of free drinks, a hotel room and the chance for the project team to â€œlet their hair down” â€“ worth saying here most of us donâ€™t have much hair to let down so instead let ourselves down, let our families down, etc â€“ all combined to turn a few beers into alcohol based carnage.
I steamed into my first lager like a man with exactly one minute to live. Warming to this theme, I maintained the same pace throughout the evening with the carefree attitude of a condemned man facing the scaffold. As my intake increased, so did my volume and I upped the ante once more by taking on the mantle of â€œwitty raconteur”, or so I thought. Since we had our suppliers in the room, they felt honour bound to gently massage my ego with polite smiles and the odd forced laugh. But â€“ of course â€“ I know they were actually thinking â€œHow much do we REALLY want this order” How much more of this am I expected to take?“. People came and people went, I just went on visiting the bar with no more willpower than a fluttering moth around a candle.
By 11 oâ€™clock, the remaining hardcore drinkers resembled an AA convention where someone had said â€œAh Fuck it, letâ€™s get a beer”
Once my own personal Drunk-Ometer â„¢ passes â€˜leglessâ€™, entire neural systems shut down and my world shrinks to a tunnel visionâ€™d â€œGet me home. Get me home RIGHT NOW”. I set off on the perilous journey to the â€˜outsideâ€™ with this one track mind flinging out serial actions such as â€œJacket, Bag, Door” without really understanding the consequences of â€œWrong Jacket, Wrong Bag and Wrong Door”. My mind was willing but my body was pissed.
Amazingly I made it outside, navigating the stairs with a technique technically described as â€œnot quite falling over” – basically accelerating downwards on the rubber legs of the terminally drunk. It was raining hard outside, but believing myself immortal I perambulated up the street trying to avoid the raindrops in the manner of Fred Astaire except with far less style and far more falling off pavements. Staggeringly unsuccessful, I was eventually marooned outside the firmâ€™s building gratefully accepting the reassuring assistance of a handy lamppost. A Mexican standoff between the entire taxi population of London and me hardened to the point whereas they couldn’t even be bothered to get close enough to the curb to send a jet of freezing water over my increasingly confused body.
I would probably still be there now where it not for one of the supplier guys hoovering me up and pouring me into the firmâ€™s building before calling for a taxi. Iâ€™d pay good money for the CCTV film showing a bloke in a suit lolling about as if cast adrift on a small boat in a force nine gale. I was unable to communicate other than the odd limp wave of an arm proving â€“ against the physical evidence â€“ I was still alive.
Time passed. Who knows how much before somehow a taxi had arrived, whisked us away into the night and deposited us much later at the hotel. I pleaded with any higher authority I could bring to my troubled mind that the check-in process would not be arduous, or Iâ€™d have to answer difficult questions such as â€œWhat is your name?”
Thankfully my prayers were heeded leaving me only to deal with the almost unscalable peak of difficulty that is the lift â€œWhereâ€™s six? Where have you hidden it? Câ€™mon Câ€™mon I need to go to sleep you Bastard. Where. Have. You. Hidden. It?“. After a game of ‘stab every button at least once before selecting a floor using the infamous approach of a head slumped on the control panel ‘, oblivion called and was instantly answered by the sleep of the drunk. Which is like the sleep of the dead, only with more snoring.
This morning was predictably awful. A creeping barrage of memory delivered the raw footage of the previous evening in hard to digest chunks. By the time the closing credits came up, I was reduced to holding my head in shaking hands. I struck out from the hotel not knowing where the hell I was, but choosing shanksâ€™ pony over the real possibility of being violently ill in a Taxi. An hour later I found the office and all the people Iâ€™d been drinking with found me. I expect within a couple of months the embarrassment will fade.