There are friends who I have known for as long as I have been drinking who will swear that they have never seen me drunk. This is certainly not because I have never been drunk in their presence, or that I have a particularly legendary capacity for consuming alcohol, it is simply because I have either been less drunk than them, or have simply appeared to be less drunk than them.
I mention this because I managed to get quite comprehensively and unequivocally drunk on Saturday evening at Lord B's stag do. We'd started with a few quiet pints at about half-past two, and I was feeling nothing more than a pleasant buzz until at some point around six or seven in the evening when I foolishly consumed about two and a half pints of some really nasty scrumpy. I wasn't trying to impress anyone particularly, but it just seemed to slip down nicely, and each time I reached the bottom of my glass, it was recharged (everyone else wisely stuck to the same pint, many not even attempting to finish that). In the amount of time it took that cider to start being absorbed into my system, I just collapsed. I don't remember there being much of a tipsy stage, and I don't remember a slurring and staggering stage... in fact I don't remember very much at all. I seemed to go from being fine directly to wanting nothing more than to go to bed. I don't recall feeling sick or getting head spin or anything like that. All I remember is my body starting to shut down and a desperate urge to get home. At one point, my homing system took me out of the house we were in and into the street in an attempt -- in my head at least -- to find a taxi. Thankfully Lord B. came and rescued me from underneath the lampost where I had abandoned my ill-fated attempt and took me back, first to the others and then in a taxi home.
The next day, I didn't so much feel hungover as, well, wonky. I wasn't particularly thirsty as I don't think that I had really drunk all that much, and I've certainly drunk a lot more in the past... but for whatever reason, this time around, something just tipped me right over the edge and knocked me for six.
As I tried to piece my evening together though, the thing that I kept coming back too was that I hate being that drunk, and I hate people seeing me that drunk. I think it might be a control thing: I like to feel that I am always in control of myself and that I have something left in reserve. Above all though, I like other people to think that of me.
On Saturday night, this clearly wasn't the case. There's absolutely no pretending that I wasn't in need of some help to get me home safely.
You know what though? I don't think that was necessarily a bad thing.
Oh sure, I'm not keen on having any more of that cider any time soon, and I hope I didn't really embarrass anyone but myself, but what I have learnt is that sometimes it's okay to strip away that reserve and to show people from time to time that I'm vulnerable. The really important thing is having people around you who care about you enough for it not to matter; people who will make sure that you get home in one piece at the end of the night.
I'm sure my wander in the Park will go down into legend now, and that it will be brought up from time to time for a giggle.... but that's okay, I think. I'm comfortable with that. If you can't laugh at yourself with your best friends from time to time, then when can you?
I'm fairly sure that it's the bridegroom who is supposed to be helped home at the end of his stag night, but to be honest I'm just grateful that he was there for me when I needed him.
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