29Jan2013

In Glorious, Technicolor Drunkovision

Blurry sideways shot of moi in my kneeboots.

The ringing of my phone jerks me into wakefulness in a room that is streaming with light.

A cursory scan of what passes for my consciousness reveals that I am still EXTREMELY drunk, ergo do not yet have a headache, but have done something absolutely bloody terrible that will emerge from the fog in unsightly flashbacks that will utterly ruin the next couple of days.

Oh god. What was it?

I grab my phone. It’s 8am. My last cohesive memory is from six hours earlier.

“Where the FUCK are you?” Even through the haze of ill-digested shooters, I recognise my son’s dulcet tones.

“Oh god,” I say. “I’m sorry, darling. I thought I told you I might not be back when you woke up! I’m fine! There’s nothing wrong!”

“Well where ARE you?” Zac says, audibly mollified and all panic gone.

“I slept over at Mr Darcy’s,” I euphemise. “I’ll be back in an hour or two to take you to the Northfield for waffles. Are you hungry? Do you need to get something from reception?”

“Nah,” Zac says. “I’ll wait for you.”

“What about a cup of tea?” I say. “Hot lemon? At least get some fluids in you…”

“Nah,” he says. “I’ll see you later.”

“Alright darling,” I say. “Love you lots and so sorry if I worried you…”

Well, it wasn’t THAT, I think. I didn’t even know I’d done THAT.

My blank patches always edit out my worst bits. Selective memory, you see. I should probably call them ‘Selective Patches’, or perhaps ‘Bandaids for the Ego’. “Oh god!” I say again. “I need to apologise to the White Knight!” “Yes,” he says. “You do.” Oh dear. Oh Jesus god. Oh no. I didn’t, did I?

I turn to Mr Darcy, who, being fit as hell and 23  25 quite-possibly-30-if-he-joined-the-Gurkhas-when-he-was-23-which-he-didn’t is actively improved by being naked in bright sunlight, quite the reverse being true of me.

He has a calm, sorrowful but accusatory expression that reminds me of my bestie H’s face the morning after the time I thought it would be an absolutely fabulous idea to snort tequila.

“Oh god,” I say, as flashes emerge from the blank patch that begins when I enter a taxi with him and the White Knight and ends in a phone call from my neglected child, and a rush of guilt washes all the ebullience out of my poor, alcohol-poisoned system.

I very rarely have blank patches but when I do they always edit out my worst bits. Selective memory, you see. I should probably just call them ‘Selective Patches’, or perhaps ‘Band-Aids for the Ego’. “Oh god!” I say again. “I need to apologise to the White Knight!”

“Yes,” Mr Darcy says. “You do.”

Oh dear. Oh Jesus god.

Oh no. I didn’t, did I?

It’s all coming back to me in glorious, Technicolor Drunkovision.

“What we’re going to do,” he says. “Is he is going to come in here and then we are ALL going to go for breakfast TOGETHER.”

Bizarrely – even in daylight, even after THAT – he still wants to have sex with me. There’s a turn-up for the books. Wow.

“You were ranting,” adds Mr Darcy, in especially wounded tones, “About soldiers. And squaddies.” “Was I?!” I say. “I don’t remember that bit. I’m so sorry. I’m really sorry.” “What was it all about?” asks the White Knight. “It just came out of nowhere.”

I’m dressed, if not showered – I feel my face, after maybe four hours sleep and positively Gurkha-esque quantities of various liquids that should not be consumed solo, let alone in combination, could do with the little vestiges of makeup it has left, especially at haggard o’clock – when there’s a knock on the door.

I steel myself to apologise.

“I’m so sorry,” I say. “I’m so sorry. I’m really sorry.”

“Yeah,” says the White Knight. “You were really bad.”

“You were ranting,” adds Mr Darcy, in especially wounded tones, “About soldiers. And squaddies.”

“Was I?!” I say. “I don’t remember that bit. I’m so sorry. I’m really sorry.”

“What was it all about?” asks the White Knight. “It just came out of nowhere.”

“Well,” I say. “I… Well, he’d been going on about threesomes…”

“What?!” says Mr Darcy.

“Yeah,” I say. “You suggested a threesome about, like, five times in Faces.”

“Did I?!” says Mr Darcy. “Jesus.”

It appears I am not the only person in the room with Selective Patches.

“Yes! You did! And I said no!” I say, turning to the White Knight. “So… when we came back here and then you were in the room with us as well, I just thought, well, I felt… I thought… Because it wasn’t like there was a bunch of us came back. It was just the two of you…”

The idea that being very drunk in a hotel room with two very drunk commandos, one of whom has already expressed an interest in a threesome, is probably not recommended in the Solo Lady’s Safe Travel Handbook, had begun to percolate through the haze of gin and unidentified pink gloop in my brain.

“Ah,” says the White Knight, processing this.

I cringe through a flashback of how bewildered the poor man – who seems, on this brief and clearly doomed acquaintance, one of the nicest and most even-tempered people I’ve ever met — had looked when I started screeching at him to leave his buddy’s hotel room.

“Oh,” the White Knight says again. “Yeah, I could see how that could make you feel uncomfortable. And threatened.”

It all comes flooding back to me in painful, inescapable Drunkovision.

As the idea that being horribly drunk in a hotel room with two very drunk commandos whom you instinctively trust but actually barely know, one of whom has already expressed an interest in a threesome, when you don’t WANT a threesome, is probably not recommended in the Solo Lady’s Safe Travel Handbook (Baedeker, 1890 edition), had slowly percolated through the haze of gin and pink shooter gloop in my brain, I had felt, well, that this might not be a very good idea.

Y’know.

So, being drunk, and feeling threatened, I’d become obnoxious. Starting, I believe, with something terribly coherent like: “I already told you! I don’t want this! He has to go! Get him out!”

And, I believe, continuing in that vein for quite some time, with lots of standing up and sitting down and ranting and pacing, torn between my desire to establish that I could actually leave and my desire to stay.

In the cold and oh-so-brutally-clear light of day, it is obvious that Mr Darcy had not mentioned his wizard wheeze to the White Knight, had quite possibly forgotten it altogether, and was certainly not about to raise the topic at that juncture.

“Not threatened,” I lie, by now virtually foetal with embarrassment. “Oh, DEFINITELY not threatened. Not THREATENED in the slightest…”

“You’re alright,” says Mr Darcy, who is currently live on Drunkovision repeatedly telling me to shut up, calm down and put that cigarette out with a general patience remarkable in one so young and so drunk. “It’s fine.”

Oh god, the flashbacks, oh dear god, those Drunkovision snapshots. They should package them and use them in abstinence classes, these 30-second snatches that loom out of the blissful blankness of the last few hours of last night.

“You’re alright,” says Mr Darcy, who is currently live on Drunkovision repeatedly telling me to shut up, calm down and put that cigarette out with a general patience remarkable in one so young and so drunk. “It’s fine.”

“No, but I am sorry,” I say, turning to the White Knight, who is simultaneously appearing on Drunkovision in glorious Technicolour looking confused and hurt, and asking me what my problem is. “I’m really sorry! Because I know you wouldn’t do that. I know neither of you would do that.”

“You’re alright,” the White Knight says. “I don’t think we behaved very well. We should have realised… I don’t think we were very sensitive…”

“It’s alright!” I gabble. “It’s not a problem! It’s really not a problem! I’m just sorry I was so obnoxious and said those things…”

“Are we all good?” says Mr Darcy, cutting the crap and changing the subject in one fell swoop. “Let’s go to breakfast.”

“You see,” I say to the White Knight, in an ill-advised attempt to lighten the mood. “It’s all his fault.”

Mr Darcy gives me the death stare.

The Gurkhas are off to their respective home towns to be reunited with their loving families  trail clouds of glory to their former classmates  work on charity projects tend the gadzillion houses they’ve bought.

Breakfast, attended by an audience of smirking, though not openly sniggering Nepali waiters, goes, actually, remarkably well in the circumstances.

The Gurkhas are off to their respective home towns to be reunited with their loving families  trail clouds of glory and inspiration to the children  work on charity projects tend the gadzillion houses they’ve bought.

I intend to work on Project Christmas, and, more importantly, Project Kneeboots, a project in which even the White Knight struggles to demonstrate any interest, at least after helping Zac complete Project Waffles at the Northfield.

Zac calls to ask for our PayPal password and we discuss which family members he can get away with buying computer games for, concluding with a division along gender lines.

And, as I conduct the walk of shame towards a taxi, accompanied by some particularly unconvincing suggestion about meeting for lunch, I figure, oh well, that’s a shame, they’re such nice guys, but, hey, at least it can’t get any worse.

Anyone would think I’d done something wrong, or something. Rather than, you know, the kind of minor misdemeanour that tends to occur when a lady endeavours to match a bunch of Gurkhas and Special Forces soldiers drink for drink. Well, maybe not all ladies.

Ebullience rapidly gives way to the aggressive self-justification stage. All of a sudden, I think grumpily, as I bicker with the (male) cab driver over the fare, arrive at my hotel and run a gamut of stares from the hatchet-faced man and the rest of the (male) staff, I am in a world full of disapproving men.

Anyone would think I’d done something wrong, or something. Rather than, you know, the kind of minor misdemeanour that tends to occur when a lady endeavours to match a bunch of Gurkhas and Special Forces soldiers drink for drink.

Well, maybe not all ladies.

Maybe that would just be me.

Hey! Fuck it! I think. I’ve been up a mountain for three weeks and stuck in Lukla for over four days! I deserve a little relaxation.

There is no way, I think, as Drunkovision replays another excruciating, toe-curlingly, knee-clenchingly abysmal scene from last night, that I am going to feel bad about this!

And then, oh god, the poor White Knight. I briefly tally up.

So far he has:

* interacted with my child
* spotted me $350 cash
* checked on my welfare
* translated for me
* paid my cabfare
* bought me drinks

I have:

* repeatedly insulted his intelligence
* inflicted various forms of hysteria on him
* accused him of intending rape

Oops.

“Nah, it’s fine,” Zac says. “But why were you having a sleepover with Mr Darcy?” “Well,” I stall, and then say the first thing that comes into my head. “Because he’s HOT!” “Oh!” says Zac, relieved. “Oh, of course! I’d totally go for him if I was gay!”

“Hi Mum!” says Zac, chirpily, as I stumble into our pit.

“Oooh! Hello!” I say, giving him a big kiss and breathing alcohol all over him. “I’m so sorry if I worried you.”

“Nah, it’s fine,” Zac says. “But why were you having a sleepover with Mr Darcy?”

“Well,” I stall, and then say the first thing that comes into my head. “Because he’s HOT!”

“Oh!” says Zac, relieved. “Oh, of course! I’d totally go for him if I was gay!”

“EXACTLY! I mean… That body!” I say, then, suspiciously. “ARE you gay?”

“Well, I don’t think so,” my son says. “As far as I’m aware, I’m straight, but I’m only just twelve, so it’s not really that much of an issue yet, to be honest.”

I rush to the toilet, hug the bowl and dry heave for a few minutes, emerging sweaty and shaking to a particularly unimpressed child. This is quite the most hungover I’ve been in many years, but I can’t help thinking I’m missing a valuable teaching moment.

It’s time, I think, or perhaps it’s the gin doing the thinking, for the Sex Talk!

“And it’s particularly important that the FIRST time you have sex it’s with someone you know and trust, and ideally love, because otherwise it can be rubbish and really awkward.” “Unless I get completely drunk at college, obviously?”

I take small, delicate sips of some mineral water, hoping it won’t just bounce off my poor, saturated stomach which is rebelling against the coffee and bacon I had for breakfast.

The Sex Talk, incidentally, isn’t quite as much a “Do as I Say Not as I Do” piece of blatant hypocrisy as the Smoking Talk, but it’s nowhere near as balanced as the Drugs Talk, which has evolved a long way since I inadvertently told a class of 12-year-olds to whom I was teaching Personal Social and Health Education that “The problem with cocaine is that it’s really expensive.”

“The thing about sex,” I say. “Is that it’s always better if it’s in a committed relationship with someone you love. And it’s particularly important that the FIRST time you have sex it’s with someone you know and trust, and ideally love, because otherwise it can be rubbish and really awkward.”

“Unless I get completely drunk at college, obviously?” says Zac. “Or the girl does?”

“No, no,” I say. “Well, um, yeah. Maybe… No, normally that comes later… I mean… No. Definitely better when you’re sober…”

Fuck. I’m way too hungover to do this properly.

“Right,” I say, trawling through Zac’s entire extended family on both sides and finding, as ever, one single, solitary model of a happy, solid, one-and-only marriage. “You know the right way to do this, don’t you? Be like Granny and Grandpa. Meet someone you love while you’re young and settle down and build a life with them, and grow old together. You know, even your great-grandparents were still having sex right up until one of them died….”

“Yeah,” says Zac.

“And what else?” I say. “What do you ALWAYS, ALWAYS do?!”

“Use a condom!” he says.

“Well done,” I say. “Did you do your essay?”

He did! It has citations in it, and everything, and all of them to proper, non-Wiki sources. Wow. Where did he learn to do that?!

I have two hours tops before the ebullience fades and the doors of Really Bad Headache open onto the Pit of Extreme Self-Loathing, where Drunkovision replays everything, but everything, on a big, big screen, with the very worst bits in patented, unstoppable Drunko-Slo-Motion, like the Rambo outtakes in Tropic Thunder.

The water I’ve consumed seems to want absolutely nothing to do with me, and I can’t say I blame it, frankly. It’s trying really hard to bounce, but it WON’T bounce, because my poor, thirsty, pink-shooter-gloop-infused cells have already absorbed it, so I’m back to the old dry-heaving.

I honestly can’t remember the last time I was this hungover, but I’m pretty sure it was last century.

Bugger, I think, as I stick my fingers down my throat in an attempt to get the nausea bit over and done with before the headache kicks in, I need to sort out Project Christmas. It’s Christmas Eve tomorrow!

AND the Chinese Embassy opens tomorrow, which means Project Chinese Visa is back on, and we’re supposed to be in Beijing in four days from now.

Wah!

I have two hours tops before the ebullience fades and the doors of Really Bad Headache open onto the Pit of Extreme Self-Loathing, where Drunkovision replays everything, but everything, on a big, big screen, with the very worst bits in patented, unstoppable Drunko-Slo-Motion, like the Rambo outtakes in Tropic Thunder.

And two hours is not NEARLY enough time to get our Christmas shopping done, let alone complete Project Kneeboots.

Why oh why, I think self-pityingly, does life have to be so difficult? I’ve only just escaped from Lukla, goddammit, and now I’m going to be plagued by flashbacks and guilt pangs for the next two bloody days.

And, oh god, the poor White Knight. He’s such a nice guy. Still, I think, brightening. At least it can’t get any WORSE.

18 Comments

  1. Talon says:

    Can’t believe you said no a Gurkha threesome.

    Love Z’s attitude. Although, if one states “if I were gay,” I’d say chances are they aren’t. But love that you’re both open to the possibility and not bothered by it.

    • Theodora says:

      Oh god, I nearly went and laid the whole “I WANT BIOLOGICAL GRANDCHILDREN, YOU KNOW” trip on him as well — it wasn’t a good morning for him, all in all. I’d be surprised if he was gay, as well, but, obviously, I’m not going to throw the toys out of the pram if he is.

  2. I just laughed so much I snorted! I’ve had some Selective Patches myself but sadly no hot Gurkhas were involved. Too bad I didn’t make it to Nepal before getting married!

  3. Catherine Hartmann says:

    I am predicting that it does indeed get worse…..
    Loving this series by the way!

  4. Linda says:

    So do these Gurkha guys have, like, fathers, or uncles or anything?

    BTW these times come back to haunt you – my sons will never, ever let me forget the night I tried to climb into the budgies’ cage!

    Loved this. Made me reach for the Jack Daniels and wish I was young again – which is something I really don’t want to be most of the time.

    • Theodora says:

      Get thee to Faces, Kathmandu, where there are Gurkhas available in ages from approximately 19 to (retired) certainly late 40s.

      I am ABSOLUTELY sure this will come back to haunt me.

      Wait. Wait. Wait. HOW BIG IS THE BUDGIES’ CAGE? And, why?

  5. polly says:

    this is terrible.

    i am hooked – have been for about 8 episodes so far since i discovered you 2 days ago. i’d started with the idea of trying to eke it out but just soon gave up and sortof rushed through the gurkha-romance in order to see how it all turned out. and now i’m in real time with you. suxz.

    i’ll have to go back and start from the beginning i think.

    thanks much, i think you are a wonderful witty writer with something brilliantly exciting to write about and i’m really really enjoying being transported from the mundane. oh, and if you would – please give the white knight a kiss on the cheek from polly if you are able – guys like that ought to be acknowledged for being the (rare) princes they are.

    • Theodora says:

      It is almost unbelievably bad, isn’t it?

      I’ll try and get the next installment up as fast as I can (I’m actually a little behind) — and, yes, the White Knight does deserve a kiss on the cheek all round.

      • polly says:

        oh for goodness’ sakes. i just realised that i need to come back to check on replies to my reply. is there a way i can get them emailed i wonder…

        side note: “how on earth do you find the time?” and “thanks for the personal note – i see you do that with most people. very commendable!” :)

        • polly says:

          goodness sake? goodness’ sake? gould blimey.

        • Theodora says:

          There’s a plugin that is supposed to email people when I reply to their comments, which is supposed to work on this site, and clearly doesn’t. I am asking the interwebz now.

          I wish you hadn’t raised the question of the correct punctuation of goodness’ sake, as it appears it’s a topic of some debate on the grammar forums and I don’t have Fowler’s Modern English Usage. These guys say goodness’ sake http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=978082 — but now every version looks wrong. Thanks.

          • polly says:

            ahaha – yes – i googled that very thread just after i’d posted. love how it begun in 2008, and the question is ongoing. i vote apostrophe also – if only because it looks sexier and also so i’m right. selfish that i am.

          • Theodora says:

            I think it is “for the sake of goodness”, and therefore the apostrophe is required. But, Jesus, English grammar is horrid.

          • polly says:

            american grammar = worse. ;)

            now – whether or not to capitalis(z)e in informal situations, use english spelling in america, or double space after periods. these and many more lessons will be discussed in upcoming chapters.

  6. Caitlyn says:

    Oh, I have been away for most of January and have now spent an embarrassing amount of time catching up on your adventures! Drunkovision… that is definitely a term that has been added to my vocabulary. I may or may not have had tears running down my cheeks. Now back to writing a thesis.

    • Theodora says:

      Oh, thank you! So glad to distract you from your real life. Do please try and use the term Drunkovision often. I’ve always wanted to make up a word. I was cited in urbandictionary.com for “feederism” many aeons ago, but I was just the first one caught using it in print. If you can help me bring Drunkovision to the broader audience it deserves, I’ll be truly, truly grateful…

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