Wednesday, September 10, 2008

bad bones

i find people's different drinking habits fascinating. Take my friend Ruddo for an instance. He is a secondary school teacher and part time rock and roller who rarely if ever has a couple of beers after work. I've never seen him have a wine with dinner and he can go a month or two without a drink some seasons of the year. But when the mood is on him, he is a veritable force of nature. Take last Saturday as an example.

His football team, North Melbourne, got roundly thrashed out of the finals for the second year in a row that evening. Sources report that he was fairly pounding the beers down during the course of the game and as the result became inevitable his work rate increased. Shortly after this the man appeared at my place clutching a six pack and needing a friends ear. Luckily, I'd had a wine with tea and was vaguely in the mood for a couple, so I braced up to the kitchen table, grabbed a bottle of Jack and had a yarn with the lad. Bear in mind the time is approximately 10pm at this point.

Fast foward eight hours. We haven't left the table. The bottle of Jack is empty, as are maybe 8 or 9 beercans. A bottle of Coruba that had maybe a third in it is also empty. In addition my treasured bottle of Jamesons distillery reserve is two thirds gone. I've been drinking quietly while my man gets it off his chest. The pain of the football loss has long been forgotten. Other woes have been addressed. The inequality between state and private education. Ladies lack of understanding of the stresses of being a modern man. The perfidious nature of the music industry. People who annoy him and those who really need a good thumping.

Ruddo, whose sense of time is not brilliant under normal circumstances, is stunned to see it is now 6am. After questioning the accuracy of my timepiece, an attempt is made to arise. On the third attempt he is successful, but unfortunately the effort has taken it's toll and upset his stomach a little. After a discreet stagger to the bathroom, all offers of a bed or a taxi are refused. A stroll homeward would be just the ticket (he does only live a couple of blocks away). Somewhat unsteadily, my man departs. 15 minutes later I wander out the back to allow the dog to do his business and have my last fag, I find Ruddo has made a good ten metres progress over the quarter of an hour and is hanging onto the fence having a breather or 'giving himself a pep talk' as he put it. All offers of accomodation are again refused and he disappears into the night.

He popped in later the next evening, very subdued. The walk home, about a kilometre, had taken upwards of an hour. He'd also spent the day bedridden and being violently sick every half hour. Probaly going to give the beers a miss for a week or two he reckons. Fair enough.

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