This post was a request from a friend over the weekend. ‘O, go on,’ she said, encouraging my demise and the potential ruining of the so-far sophisticated and grown-up idea that you all obviously have of me. ‘Write about the time you drank your way through the alphabet. Go on. It’ll be great.’ As the good friend I am, I agreed. ‘I’ll do it for you, Hannah,’ I promised.
I don’t know whether I regret this now. Anyway, here goes….
Once, when I was young and foolish, something happened which probably explains why I no longer drink alcohol.
A friend and I were having a night out. I don’t know where I’d got this idea from but we had decided we were going to drink the alphabet. Essentially this means that you have a drink beginning with each letter of the alphabet and aim for Z without passing out. I think we also tried to make sure we went to places which began with the letters we needed too.
I can’t remember all of them but I remember a few where we had to really use our imagination to find a drink. I think for E, we requested our drinks be ‘extra cold’. I remember, if we couldn’t think of something for a letter, we managed to make sambuca fit for most things by prefixing it with something for the letter we were on. For example, Q was difficult so I think we ordered 2 ‘quite small sambucas’.
Anyway, as you can imagine, it very quickly descended into madness. The last place we ended up was a bar called The Walkabout, sitting on the sofas downstairs (we were safer sitting down, than on our feet) and trying to work out how to do U, V, W, X, Y and Z.
Either we decided to leave or the bar closed but at some point we were leaving. A girl was sitting on a curb, looking like she had taken a pretty bad tumble. There was an ambulance near by. I had done first aid a few years earlier and ran about saying, in what I imagined to be quite a comforting manner, “I’VE DONE A FIRST AID COURSE! I’VE DONE A FIRST AID COURSE!” I then kind of lost interest and wandered (stumbled) off.
At some point, my friend hit that stage where a large intake of alcohol causes you to slightly lose control of your limbs and did a lot of falling around, to the extent that the ambulance put her in the back to check if she had been taking drugs. She hadn’t, as I kept telling them. But given that I probably wasn’t forming my words properly, they decided not to take my word for it.
She was taken to hospital and I went along for moral support. I remember that I was really crying and going to them, “Honestly, it’s just alcohol. Honestly. She’s my friend. I know her.” Blub, blub, blub. Unusually, for a drunk person, I did know what I was talking about. But they wanted to be sure, so in we went.
The journey must have been quite bumpy and I probably made the drug-taking suspicions worse by running off and vomiting in the toilet just after we got to hospital. I obviously thought it was like a TV hospital drama and was hanging on to my friend’s hand and telling her it was going to be ok.
They wheeled two beds into one cubicle cause I think we probably cried and insisted we needed to be together and we promptly passed out.
After a few hours sleep, we both woke, covered in white hospital blankets and unsure exactly what had happened. I don’t think anything had. They must have realised that she wasn’t on drugs but just been glad that we had shut up finally and let us sleep.
Immediately, I realised I didn’t have my jacket or my phone. As we had been to so many different bars while drinking the alphabet, I had no idea which it would be in. My heart sank. I loved that jacket. I raised my head slightly and saw something by my feet. It was my jacket! Hurray! I was so utterly comfortable in the hospital bed that I didn’t want to move but I did. And that’s when I realised it.
Where was my phone?! I thought again of all the bars we had been to and which one I could have lost it in. Panic set in. I told my friend, who was also awake by this point. Feebly, she pointed to my feet where my phone lay, in full view, waiting for me to spot it.
After about ten minutes, I think a nurse came and said we could go when we wanted as they hadn’t found anything to worry about.
We called a taxi, my friend still wrapped in her hospital blanket, and went home, with all our possessions, slightly worse for the wear and minus our dignity.
And that is one of the many reasons I don’t drink.
When people ask me why I don’t drink and I say to them, “It’s just not pretty. Trust me,” they don’t believe me. Or they think I’m exaggerating. Surely everyone gets a little messy when they have a drink? Well, no. Now I’ve said it. If it gets to the point where you’re waking up in HOSPITAL after your nights out…. then maybe it’s time to stop….?