Old Before My Time...
When in the pub, it has been known for it to take me a somewhat longer than average time for me to get to the bar, procure the drinks order and make my way back to my friends/family/date due to the fact I will, quite happily, chat to anyone and everyone who may look interesting, or - as often happens - to anyone who strikes up a conversation with me first even if their opening gambit is usually something along the lines of “Fuckinhell! You’re tall, did your Mum put you in a grow bag??” The pub is the one locale in which I will forgive such predictably lame statements - when I say forgive, I mean I won’t bestow upon the guilty party a withering look and sarcastic put-down - however after last night I fear I may be losing my touch.
Having been ill recently as documented in my last entry, I have been taking it pretty easy lately but fancied a pint and decided to drag the old man around to the local. Our local hostelry used to be a great old place, typically old wooden fixtures and fittings that hadn‘t seen a breath of polish since Hitler‘s defeat, windows that still needed a clean even though the smoking ban came into force in 2007, and little nooks and crannies where you could go and have a chat in private without the world hearing (and engage in a snog if you so desired without disturbance). Sadly it has now been taken over by a national chain and turned into the sort of barren, soulless desert you would commit your worst enemy to only if you were in a decidedly nasty mood. However, it being a mere five minutes walk away and with me being
The old man got the first round in and when the next was due I geared myself up for several chats with the old crew who, like me, are devastated at the ruination of our favourite watering hole, but are prepared to go there once in a while purely for convenience. However, I made it to the bar without interruption, despite the pub being packed to the rafters, and the return journey yielded no contact with familiar (or new astounded-at-the-height-of-that-hairy-guy) faces, either. Such was his shock at me returning in less than two minutes - the pub may be busy, but when you’re tall you tend to get served first because in the mind of a bartender, getting rid of a big hairy person is the equivalent of serving three customers at once and will make the queue at the bar seem greatly reduced - the old man flung down the leaflet giving details of the Valentine’s Day special (2 x 2 course meals for £25 with a complimentary glass of fizzy piss for each loved up youngster thrown in) and exclaimed at my promptness without doing the usual gasping with thirst a la man in the desert who hasn’t had any liquid nourishment for several days.
I soon lamented the lack of recognisable faces, however, as on my next trip to the bar I was accosted by a girl who was in my class at school (when I was 7) but for some reason still remembers me, my name, where I live - when I wasn’t living in other parts of the country - and who is, rather sadly, someone with a seemingly serious alcohol problem. My sympathy is possibly not at the level it should be, though, due to the fact that when she sees me, she yells my name at the top of her voice, gathers me into an embrace and goes in for a full on the lips snog, though fortunately I usually manage to turn my head so she lands one on my cheek, as she always inexplicably smells of garlic combined with a faint aroma of baby sick. (I have seen her surrounded by two or three children, so she has obviously managed to procreate between bottles of vodka, assuming of course, that the children are hers.)
To my shame, I almost gagged after she laid one on me, though fortunately she didn’t notice. After three or four minutes of rambling incoherently about how her mother was a scheming harridan who planned to ruin her house by using pastel colours in the bedrooms (and flat-pack furniture in the lounge), she released me from her clutches so I could go to the bar and take the drinks back to where my old man was patiently waiting.
‘I grabbed a waitress and ordered us some garlic bread while you were at the bar,’ he informed me. I semi-gagged once more and abandoned my pint temporarily to go out and have a restorative smoke. Next time I fancy a pint I shall buy some cans from the shop, put on a string vest that has egg stains on it and sit in the house and convince myself that socialising in pubs is a path filled with far too many potential dangers for my fragile thirty-five year old self.