The night after any party is never a pretty sight. Discarded bottles stand upright nervously in close herds awaiting their fated trip to the bin bag. Beer cans with a deceptively heavy amount of liquor lying hidden in the bottom, weighing the can down just enough to outdo any pressure that your grip can exert whilst picking up the can and send it hurtling back down to sticky up the already sticky floor. The stick is what must be dealt with first, for it is far spreading, all the way from the door to the sofa and onwards into the limits of your patience. It holds the discarded ash and cigarette filters of careless rollers and ignorant ash flickers, and as you follow its path, it only leads on to the continuing demise of your spirit as you go on to discover the treasures of the night which include an empty Wotsits packet and a discarded chicken bone form some late night chicken hut.
Bones, filth and regret. My living room is more of an animal’s cage than a house. I have meat, dead animal on my floor and that’s just completely fine apparently. Given any other time it would be unacceptable to just dump some bit of a body under someone else’s couch, but once everyone’s got some happy adult juice in them, that makes everything completely acceptable.
What really bothers me is not that I have to clean things like this up. I very rarely if at all ever have people round to drink and so in some ways I’m slightly happy that I managed to host any sort of social interaction that wasn’t a board game or just me by myself asking an internet bot stupid questions late into the night. No, what I hate is that this stuff hasn’t even been left by anyone I know. This is the remnants of strangers, and strangers don’t know you, so they have no problem with really making a mess of what they see as just some shelter to fuck about in. To them it’s really just a glorified shed, forgetting that this is where I actually live. I would scream and cry and fight with tooth and claw if I was the victim of a house raid, but here I am letting the drunken equivalent happen right in front of my eyes and not caring at all.
But anyway, it was my mistake and I have to live with it. But it did however get me thinking about a few other times that this has happened to me and I’m sure a lot of other people. You’re out and falling into the trap of alcohol which is a drug that makes you incredibly slow, stupid and yet socially uninhibited.
This is a terrifying combo to have because it really leads to you meeting a lot of people who in the light of day (when I assume most people aren’t drunk), would scare the living daylights out of you. However, when you’re all drunk and happy, these people just seem to be really cool and interesting and at the end of the day, hey, what’s the worst that could happen. Well you could die. But at the time that’s not a very nice thought, so instead you think that the worst consequence that could ever happen is simply that they’ll leave a chicken bone under the sofa and you might run out of stuff to talk about.
So this is really just a run down, a PSA of sorts about the type of drunken strangers that you might run into. They’ll be friendly, they’ll be interesting and abit of the wall and most importantly, very eager to follow you back to your house. But think for a second. Is anyone who wants to follow a stranger back to their house possibly not slightly mental? Yes. Most likely they are. Let’s get on with it then shall we.
Compulsive liars are always scary, because not being able to trust someone is always scary. If you don’t know a person, even in a vague, or at least fundamental sense at all, then they can be scary. Not just someone who lies about how many friends they have, or how many people they’ve slept with. These are fine lies and don’t really hint any deeper into the person than they may have a few worries about their social perception. People like to feel good about themselves and sometimes twisting the truth is a way to do that.
But how about hearing that someone was in the British army at the age of 16 and caught attempting an assassination on an unspecified military target during the Bosnian war? Yeah I thought that was pretty cool too, although in hindsight absolutely impossible.
This was Mike. A man who I had met while with another friend in a dingy bar somewhere in a small town a few years ago. He was in the smoking area and after a few drinks Mike and I were really beginning to bond. I say bond, what I really mean is that he was being interesting enough that I didn’t care that he speaking over any response I gave to him and overall acting like a massive arsehole.
For an hour or so in this backside of a nowhere pub, which to offer some context about what a fine establishment this place was, let me tell you a story starting with the fact that it has a flat above which the landlord of the pub rents out to students. One evening these students, who all happened to be rugby players, although I’m not drawing any connection with this fact, got together and had a massive party in the pub which the bartender had closed off especially for the event and even joined in himself. The party continued to get an industrial sized bin and then get all the attendees to vomit, piss and shit into, until it was filled to the brim. They then dragged it upstairs to their flat, where they left it to ferment for a further week. I’ve heard several people who were there tell me that the owner found it absolutely hilarious and even joined in.
So here I was now, in that very same place, with Mike and a swill pool of fascinating, and definitely impossible stories. Mike had: been on holiday with Princess Diana as a teenager, had gone skydiving with Bill Gates’ daughter, a girl who he also had apparently later had a fling with. He had ridden motorcycles with the Hell’s Angels and gotten into several knife fights with several dangerous gangs. He said he’d even killed a few people. I invited Mike home because he sounded interesting. There waiting for me was a large bottle of absinthe that I had bought with me to my friend’s and a potential newspaper story in tomorrow’s paper which would document the most avoidable murder that had ever happened.
Mike drank all the absinthe and talked for a further 4 hours. Since Mike had drank everything, I began to sober up and was hit by a realisation that struck me so fast that had it been anything more solid than a concept, would have given off an energy output that would destroy all that had ever and would ever exist. Suddenly I was terrified. Mike had fought in several wars, been held as a prisoner of war, tried in an international court, given a dishonourable discharge and then seemingly gone on to spend the rest of his life living in some magic, mentally delusional time warp which meant that he could be 29 in 2011 and yet be fighting at the age of 16 in a conflict that occurred between 1992-1995. And what’s most scary is that I believed the 16 year old war criminal thing, but only when I was sober enough to do the maths was I actually unconvinced. Mike was a compulsive liar, to a staggeringly unending degree that I don’t think I’ll ever witness again, and neither do I want to.
I feel asleep several times when he was around and every time I awoke, he was still talking as if someone was still in the room, chatting about Bill Gates to the wall and Princess Di to the collection of DVD boxsets stacked up against the sofa. At 6 in the morning, Mike finally left, letting himself out and leaving me to have the largest post traumatic crisis that I think I will ever experience if I ever live past the next time I invite a weird stranger home.
So several years later I was inviting another entire group of strangers to my house, demonstrating my complete lack of ability to learn any lesson from anything. I’ve watched all the educational cartoons about strangers, enough moral tales to bore even a priest and yet here I was being an idiot. And the reason was simple. Alcohol makes everyone seem great, and this is the problem with PSAs about how to act when drunk and to take responsibility. When you tell people to be responsible while drinking, no one’s drinking. This ironically, is the reason why my anecdotes about the dangers of this will never once affect your actions in the future.
So we can all nod our heads and think dismissively “well of course not, who would do a stupid thing like that”, while watching the ‘Think’ advert where the man dressed like a copyright infringed Batman climbs up several floors of scaffolding for a balloon. But skip ahead to when you’re leading an exodus of strangers to your home and you’re in the position of the stupid batman. It’s thrilling.
So we all get back and having just carried a 17 stone man just under a mile, I’m getting pretty tired by the time we come through the door. That 17 stone man interestingly works at the local Subway and is someone who I’ve paid to make me a sandwich several times, so based on that I do feel slightly superior to him for weird and uncomfortable personality defects that I must have somewhere deep within.
Everyone steps in and it starts off well. Then like clockwork it all goes downhill. My DVD of Juno is suddenly taken by a heavily pierced girl, who I naively assume is just interested in the synopsis written on the back. Then all of a sudden she lays out about five lines of cocaine across Ellen Paige’s lovely face and snorts them all swiftly. She then hands it to the drunk guy, he snorts a load and he is now awake. Unnervingly erratic and mobile, like a car with a brick on the accelerator for a driver, he starts challenging people to staring competitions. I say challenging, but what I really mean is getting so uncomfortably excited about staring competitions that you have to really agree.
Now, never have I looked into the eyes of a coked up man and never again do I want to. Never have I experienced a gaze that was so intense yet so glazed and vacant. Cold and dead like a killer, but furiously alive like a more engaged killer. We stared at each other for about five minutes. I blinked several times during this. He just kept on staring. Then a smaller girl, with sunken eyelids who hadn’t even drank or taken anything all night asked me to make her a chicken sandwich. She was picky about the type of chicken it was and was annoyed that I only had white bread because she thought wholemeal loaf was much healthier. Here was someone complaining about health when she was following around a group of coke heads, a group of coke heads that I had very stupidly led back to my house because they had seemed quite fun and excitable. Now I understood why.
So unable to ask them to leave due to a slightly hostile environment, they sat coking up in my living room until 5 in the morning and then staggered off home.
So there are some of the drunken strangers I’ve met and foolishly bought home. All of them were unstable, crazy and willing to follow me home because I offer a warm room to sit in and spread their crazy all over the walls and every now and then, on a DVD case or two. On that note, next time you’re out, beware the drunken stranger, for he be very crazy. And if you do inevitably make the same mistake and drag them home, then try to at least survive the night, so you have a good story to tell people the next day.