It's been just over a week since I declared my new-found sobriety upon y'all through this very website and it seems only right to update you all on my progress: I think you would all agree it's been a terrible week to give up. Whilst I've spent most evenings in bed before midnight thanks to being utterly sun-drenched thanks to the glorious London parks I've spent most day-times in, I've also had to fight the urge of refreshing myself with a nice cold cider or sunning myself alongside a big bucket of Pimms. These are the guilty pleasures of most citizens of the United Kingdom, especially on lazy Saturday afternoons in the park, or this past Sunday evening, sat atop Primrose Hill in North London.
Sobriety is brilliant right now. I've sat through the hottest week of the summer and resisted all urges. I've felt smug that whilst everybody has been getting pissed, I've been revitalising myself through bottles of Evian and the only feeling of guilt I've had is through consuming far too much ice cream. I've seen sunrise to sunset every day, finishing off in beer gardens, without a beer. Yet, despite how glorious all this seems, I've also had my blinkers removed... and the one thing that I've noticed when I'm not drinking is that not only are people really annoying, but they're also very funny. Unintentionally.
Yes, it sounds obvious - when you're intoxicated, people are far easier to cope with. This isn't a pseudo-anxious frame of mind I'm adopting. I love people - some of my favourite people are... people. But I also can't stand a lot of them. I think we all agree half the population are dicks. Which is confusing, as this means a lot of people think I'm a dick. Well, that isn't surprising. Human beings both sober and drunk are incredibly irritating creatures. They're critters - and one thing I have found beyond annoying is the amount of fucking idiots who have walked into me in the past week. I may not have the best blessed balance in the world, but at least I make a constant point to watch where the hell I'm going. Across the road, I look left and right. Down the street, I look up ahead of me. In corridors, especially, I make sure I'm spatially aware of shoulders and bags and any other obstacles I could collide with. Is this attainable only through sobriety? I think not. Do you notice it as much when you're hungover? Of course you don't. You don't notice anything when you're hungover except your own self-pity.
I shower every day. Sometimes twice a day. Sometimes three times a day - that means I've got lucky. Post-shower, after brushing my teeth and rinsing with mouthwash, I'll always make sure to wear a form of anti-perspiration. Even if your shit doesn't stink, in this humid weather, it's impossible not to break a sweat. Deodorant is a fantastic invention, especially made to help combat the odors created through sweat. Picture this: you're in a pub and it's coming up to midnight, and everybody has been here since midday. That's twelve hours of sweating, eating, shitting, pissing and drinking that's gone down. You don't think you're gonna smell a bit? Not just under your armpits, but also your breath and ball/vag-sack. I think I just invented a word there, and it's probably the grossest thing I've ever imagined. A vag-sack? Honestly, if you own a vag-sack, please refer to your nearest gynecologist and have it seen to. Immediately. For everybody else, a little Spanish shower every few hours or so will help mask those odors until you can find a suitable bathing area.
Keeping with the topic of pubs and bars, why does it seem that when you're not drinking, every single bartender in the world is the rudest person alive? When you finally find somebody with even the smallest bit of charm, it's an absolute God-send. I'm not being hasty by accusing those in the profession of pouring drinks that they're rude, I understand why they're programmed that way. Think about it: whilst everybody is getting wankered, they're stuck behind the bar dealing with louts who double-up as smelliest punters this side of Kings Cross. Sympathy is deserved for the liquor-pouring warriors... except that I am not one of the obnoxious (surprisingly) punters, I just want a pint of water, preferably with ice. That's what I've become. I sit in pubs and I drink water. Sometimes I even pay for bottled water. In fact, I do quite a lot. It's fucking brilliant - because instead of dehydrating myself, I'm actually, well, now I do sound like an obnoxious cunt.
"What's your point, mate?", I hear your cry. Well, there isn't one, really - is there ever? (I'm going all Carl Jung on your asses). Just that I've found it's possible to not drink and still be surrounded by drinkers in pubs, bars, beer gardens and parks and not feel like a complete loser. On Sunday, I watched a lad take so much ketamine that he face-planted, rolling down Primrose Hill, cutting up his eye, knees and ankles, whilst being blissfully unaware of all the injuries he'd incurred. I laughed, even louder thanks to a recently-attained sober smugness. Then whilst walking home, I bumped into a friend who at first glance, seemed to have pissed himself, only to describe a long-winded and somewhat far-fetched tale of a pint of beer going AWOL across his shorts whilst attempting to order a Nandos. If I was drunk, I'd probably have not only forgotten these encounters by now, but also probably embraced the situations as truth at the time. It's the fact I can witness these hilariously tragic events with straight eyes, that I hope can only enrich my own sober, "boring" life whilst no longer endangering my life or relationships with my loved ones (that's the moral of my story) through my own recklessness.
So here's to a summer of you all getting drunk and off your tits around me, doing really fucking stupid things for me to laugh at and for you not to remember happening, and all in all, entertaining me whilst I sip from a bottle of water, engaging as much or as little as I choose to, knowing you're too fucked to realise or remember any of it, anyway. Oh yes. Here comes the summer!