‘Please call the police; my friends are fighting and I’m very worried.’
The sound of a young woman’s voice early Saturday morning on my gate intercom. Luckily the intercom was in one of its working phases. They’d had a party, she said. Funny, I hadn’t heard anything. Sometimes the parties are really loud. I dialed 10111, explained, gave my name and address and the man said ‘I’ll send the police there’ which I found re-assuring. He said ‘I’ll send them’ not ‘I’ll tell them.’
Later the same lovely voice very politely checking ‘Did you phone the police? I’m so worried!’ I asked Are You Safe? Do you want to come in? To be behind the gate? ‘No, I think I’m safe,’ she replied, which I didn’t find overly re-assuring.
A short while later the gate again, ‘Thank you so much, they’re here,’ followed by three more Thank You So Much-es.
As far as I can recall, that’s the first time I have ever called the cops!
I must have called them back ca.2004 when we had our only robbery – in 10 Windsor Avenue while we were out. Aitch’s Zeiss 8X32 binoculars and her wedding and engagement rings were gone. Typical Aitch, she replaced the binocs only.
We are having Dry July here in Australia. Something like Movember – a national fundraising thing.
Seriously, I did try to do Dry July (but just for my own health, I did not sign up to be sponsored). Took the remaining beers out of the fridge and put them in the cupboard so they would be warm and unpalatable.
So far I have managed to do only the week nights, and I have not touched the warm beers. But something made me pick up a couple of barossa valley reds on the way home Friday night (just in case we have visitors, see?). Then, only AFTER that, while I was in the kitchen slicing up some cabbage, a sneaky voice reminded me that this red wine can, nay SHOULD be consumed at room temperature . .
So the rule has been modified. ONLY on weekends, and only with food.
I view such daft things with deep suspicion. They are positively Hassidic- or Taliban-like IMNSHO. Tom would say “Dad, that’s dodge” (meaning dodgy).
Thank goodness you have decided to be sensible. Like our rule that you could not drink while driving on tar – solved by putting the two left wheels on the gravel shoulder . . . and BTW, shelf-temperature often brings out some of beer’s more subtle flavours and undertones . . . and um, notes, sub-notes, something . .
Hey. For numerous reasons you should not throw the Hassidics and Taliban into the same pot. But when it comes to consuming the nectar they are P-O-L-E-S apart. The Taliban says it’s verboten. The Hassidics consume it in HUGE quantities particularly on the Holy Sabbath when they get bored cos they aren’t allowed to do anything else. It gives ‘The Holy Spirit’ a whole new dimension . .
Learnt something. Like the Catholics drink real booze and us poor Methodists were given grape juice! Scandalous. I stopped going to communion.
Footnote: Thankfully four July’s have passed since this alarming little episode and not a word from Reed about this dangerous would-be trend.
The alcohol you people drink is called ethanol. C2H5OH. This is a molecule that, in highly technical chemistry terms, looks like a hound dog with its leg cocked. Two carbon atoms (black) are stuck together to support an oxygen head (red). Six hydrogen atoms (white) spread out over the molecule to give each of the carbon atoms two feet, the oxygen atom a nose, and the rear carbon atom a tail. Ethanol is small, mobile, water and lipid soluble, so like a dog it can get into all sorts of places that maybe it shouldn’t. Like a dog it can also (sort of) head butt you in the crotch while sniffing to find out, or let others know, where you’ve been.
And where do you people want your ethanol? Why, in your brains, of course. That’s the point, innit? You might bulldust that you drink for your nose, or your palate, or your stomach or your blood. Rubbish. You drink to get that stuff in your brain. Once in the brain, alcohol acts on the nucleus accumbens. This area is a midpoint between the reward centre of a brain and the parts that make associations and memories. Ah, those memories, right? The good ones that you remember. And then there are those that your “friends” always insist on reminding you about!
Now everyone knows that too much alcohol at once can kill you, but how? It depresses nerve function, makes you sleep and suppresses the gag reflex, so people who are passed out can choke on their own vomit, like rock stars. So if you’re a wannabe rock star but can’t sing, can’t play, can’t grow your hair – there’s always that. The brain also controls things like breathing and heart rate, and enough alcohol can shut down those parts of the brain too. People pass out and their brains simply forget to breathe.
BUT: Alcohol also has its good side, don’t forget! Scientifically, its a solution, and according to Homer Simpson, the solution to all life problems.
It causes a bunch of dopamine to be released, hot-wiring your brain-ular system. It makes you feel confident and talkative, because it depresses some Shut Up! brain functions and deadens the Be Discreet centre. It also makes you feel good, dunnit? And invincible, right? Erudite, and a very good dancer and singer. Remember Van Morrison’s Brown Eyed Girl?
So alcohol is brilliant and worth investing in. Also, depending on what research you choose to believe, a glass of wine per day can either not do any harm, prevent heart attacks, or make you functionally immortal. I believe the latter. Does that make me a Latter Day Saint? Long after you finally die, they’ll have to beat your liver to death with a stick. Or transplant it into some lucky recipient who can wake up in the operating theatre pre-pickled.
It’s kind of nice to know that – sometimes – relaxation, cheer, wittiness and immortality can literally be bottled. All that’s needed is to take care just how much alcohol you let into your brain at any one time.
– – Paraphrased from a lovely article by Esther Inglis-Arkell. It’s worth a visit! It showcases Doug Adams’ cocktail, the ‘Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster’ from Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy and shows you how to set fire to grog in spectacular fashion. Marvelous stuff!
When we arrived here Lovemore was nine years old, cute as hell and a regular visitor to swim in the pool or skateboard on the driveway. As he grew up we’d see him whenever he needed help, but less often to swim as he grew too cool for frolicking. Always friendly and helpful old Lovemore. That’s him on the right at Jessie’s 11th party – Pinetown Gym.
Ten years later he’s now more often called Mfundi, has written matric and the morning after the results this week he comes knocking, looking like death warmed up. “Pete I’m very sick, I don’t know what’s wrong” he says. “I’m worried” he says.
I think I know what’s wrong, I say. I heard you guys last night. You drank too much. You have alcohol poisoning, I say. I give him some cooldrink and some breakfast and some mirth. The mirth he finds a bit hard to swallow.
“Yes”, he says “It’s true. But I don’t know why I feel so terrible. I only drank the good stuff, Glenmorangie, Hennessy Cognac and Johnny Walker Black.”