Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Name's Al. Al Koholic

I have moved to http://blog.thinkersroom.com, and i have also migrated all posts and comments. YOU SHOULD NOT BE HERE SO CHANGE YOUR BOOKMARLS/BLOGROLLS ACCORDINGLY!!!!
A Lad's Night Out is something that I generally look forward to with what can best be described as mixed feelings. Why? Because by the time I get home with the morning milk, I will have had an excellent time with my best friends. I will have participated in banter, friendly arguments and story telling sessions. I will have made short work of meat roasted over an open fire. I will have stretched a limb or two. I will have been party to confessions that would not have otherwise been made. I will undoubtedly have had an excellent time.

But at the same token I will have prevented someone from shedding their trousers, I will have apologized profusely to unaccompanied maidens as well as accompanied maidens for - ah - ungentlemanly activities carried out by some of my lads, I will have stopped someone from trying to fly. I will have broken up fights over someone standing too close to someone else's beer. I'll have stopped someone from spending another half hour looking for his beer by pointing out that the said beer he is looking for high and low is actually in his hand. I will have prevented someone from removing the head of one of my friends for making an indecent proposal to his significant other (or him). I will have delivered gentleman in various levels of intoxication home to wives, girl friends and room mates.

Why, you ask? Because come 11 in the evening of one of these escapades I am generally the only one who is sober. Out of a table of assorted bottles, brown and clear, there will generally be a glass containing a dark liquid. This innocuous dark liquid will generally be coke, and the strongest thing I will put in it is lemon. This is generally because I don't drink. This is because
  • I'm perfectly aware of the things I keep inhibited, and for the good of fellow man, they should remain inhibited
  • I'm daring enough as it is when sober. What I would do under the influence I shudder to imagine
  • The thought of not being in full control of my faculties is terrifying
  • I come from a long line of drinkers and the first hand effects I have seen are sobering in more ways than one
Which is not to say I am against drinking. There is nothing wrong with it. I'm all for it. But not for me. As a matter of fact, I will be the one buying rounds of the more exotic drinks for my lads and comrades, the gentlemen I would give my kidney for. My knowledge of the more exotic eastern European vodkas made from potatoes and that are almost 150% proof is pretty good.

The evening becomes extremely interesting after the waiter has brought round the round of tots for my lads. Let's call them Abel, Bob, Chris, Dan, Eric and Fred.

Without hesitation Eric and Fred will invariably raise unsubstantiated allegations that I am attempting to poison them. Curiously they will have shed their suit coats and ties and will already be halfway through their tots, smacking their lips with enjoyment. The other four will follow much more cautiously and in no time glasses all round will be empty and relaxation will practically be painted in the air. Abel, Bob and Chris are strictly beer men. They view spirits as chemicals. They bemoan that spirits lack the character of coming from the finest hops, hand picked and lovingly brewed to yield rich, filling tastes. Spirits are to be tolerated.

Dan is a man who treats spirits with apprehension. He is under no illusion that when livers were being given out he was playing outside so when he came in he got a piece of chewing gum instead.

It is widely acknowledged that between them, Eric and Fred have six livers between them, as well as a few dozen kidneys.

At this juncture task forces will be formed to see to the meat and another to the barley products. Dan, being the one with the engaging smile and persuasive tone is dispatched at the barmaids/barmen (delete as appropriate) to ensure our orders are processed are delivered first. Eric, lacking said smile but possessing a frame that is even more persuasive is dispatched to find the best goat/cow/game meat (delete as appropriate).

An hour later the air of camaraderie and goodwill is hard to top. Good cheer flows like taxpayers' money to minister's pockets. Good food, cold drinks, excellent music, good friends, flowing conversation -- yes sir, life is good.

A waiter is called. Orders are dispatched. A constant stream of drinks arrives. Pretty soon I am the only one capable of saying "the large red lorry rolled down the wrong lonely road". It is at this juncture that things become interesting.

Eric will look across the room and spot a nice young thing that he will be anxious to introduce himself to. Protestations that he has a nice young thing at home already waiting for his intoxicated behind are like asking Kiraitu Murungi to straighten his mouth. He will arise and make his unsteady way across the room. Eric will pay no attention to the beefy gentleman with his arm around the pretty young thing and go ahead to pitch his case. So convinced will be be of his charms that he will neglect to be rid of his wedding band.

Needless to say Eric will generally return at best cursing and at worse cursing rubbing his cheek, a token from the aforementioned beefy gentleman.

A round later Dan will turn and look fondly at me through a drunken haze.

"M," he says, clearly touched. "M, you're a good man. Have I ever told you that? You're a good man." He will clap me heartily on the back and turn to the rest. "Wouldn't you say so?"

A drunken unanimous agreement would issue, and my health will be drunk in another round.

Marriage must be a very strong institution to survive some of the spears hurled at its fabric. In almost all establishments some of the clientèle are not there in the capacity of consumers, but suppliers of what Dan calls "a complimentary and supportive industry". Players in this industry can be identified by their attire, where the low cuts of their tops are attempting to meet the high cuts of their skirts. Dan and Abel in particular are remarkably adept at spotting these and soon we are knee deep in these service providers.

From past experience again, protesting is futile. My pointing out that they will have some difficulty in explaining to wives and girlfriends just what the heck they were doing buying Crystal, Monique and Chantral drinks has little effect on them. They fondly believe as long as they do not sample charms of said merchants they are in the clear.

A round later Abel will decide it is time we graced the floor. This is where my apprehension begins. It takes everyone five minutes of climbing over chairs, climbing over each other and stepping on everything en route to get onto the dance floor. It is here that patrons sitting by the floor get treated to a variety of side shows. Abel is in it for the love of the game, and watching him at work is the classical struggle of alcohol and gravity over free will. Bob does not hide that he is here for some female company and will insert his frame before one. He will not be troubled if said female is already dancing with someone else. Chris will repeatedly tread on toes and increase the number of people who wish him ill.

Several irate patrons, furious boyfriends and outraged lasses later, I will convince my lads that it would be an idea for us to be homeward bound, what with the late hour and all. I will be driven to these extremes when the rate of offences is markedly higher than that of apologies.

Dan, who was singing my praises not half an hour previously will object strongly. My suggestion as a whole is extremely unpopular but I can be persuasive when I have to be. Pretty soon the irate patrons would reach quorum to descend upon us like Njeru Ndwiga on a tax waiver.

If the establishment is one on the ground floor, like the Carnivore, things are smooth. However, if it is a place like K2, there is almost invariably drama. Bob in particular is a notorious culprit. Drinking affects his ocular senses more than most, with the direct result he sees life the way one would see the animals boarding Noah's ark -- in twos. He this invariably would see two staircases, and obeying an innate drive to conserve energy, will opt for the nearest one.

The immediate result would be this breadwinner and budding father would descend to the next floor in a clatter of arms, legs, keys, ties, wallets and shoes. He have never broken or sprained anything, testament to his overworked Guardian angel.

Halfway to the car Chris will remember an unfinished sip of his Johnny Walker and will insist on returning to finish it. He will inform me that he would be disgraced if he, Chris, wasted a drink that I, M purchased for him. I will then try to reassure him that no, it is fine.

Past experience has shown that pleading with Chris is like a cameraman pleading with Lucy Kibaki. It has also shown that after half an hour we have to go back looking for him and rescue him from irate patrons who object to his inquiries as to whether they have seen his drink. We invariably find him arguing with an enormous bouncer with hands folded across his (the bouncer) enormous chest beginning to unfold in readiness for duty.

During all this Fred will be at the bar ordering a bottle of beer, pocketing it and reacting with surprise and annoyance objections raised b the establishment staff that he is taking away their property. Fred demands to know why. "Have I not," he inquires passionately, ".... bought and paid for my drink?"

Half an hour later we will be on our way, having used my best Koffi Annan to get ourselves out without too much ugliness (minus the beer).

Almost invariably halfway through the journey, popular opinion will dictate our gracing another establishment ...

<disclaimer> Much as this is in tongue in cheek, you get the gist. In their defence there are those of my friends who know how to hold their drink (some frighteningly so) and those who do not drink at all. Both of them that is. However I still stick to my guns. I urge you to cross the floor majestically and join me in supporting the motion that says "Kenyans drink more than is good for them"</disclaimer>


President Mwai Kibaki hopes his most recent cabinet reshuffle shuts up those calling for younger ministers.
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