Sunday, 18 January 2009

Non-alcoholics Anonymous

I am the Little Green Mango and I am Not an Alcoholic.

The night starts with a glass of fruit juice. And another. Then I think I can handle a glass of tap water. On the rocks. Just one more.

But it always ends the same - drama, drunk friends and someone else's dinner on my dress.

It's quite a challenge being a non-drinker at any party or night out.

Of course I'm automatically the designated driver - and it's no mean feat driving around with either extremely high-spitrited or temporarily-lost-to-the-world friends. When I'm not driving, I'm making sure we're on the right side of the road to catch the bus or cab. After a head-count obviously.

But I'm also the non-designated chaperone. There's the responsibility of frequent supervised visits to smelly loos that always leave me with toilet tissue stubbornly sticking to pointy heels. There's making sure that nobody steps on the glass that's always on the dance floor. There's magically producing tissue for when half a glass of something lands on someone (not me if I'm lucky). And remembering to check if their passport is in their bag as they head to the airport to catch the first flight out.

I've to deal with the crushed spirit when after wading through crowds by the bar and screaming over the music, to the extremely cute bartender for some water - Yea, just some tap water please - for a friend that could definitely use some, only to be greeting by, "Yuk! This tastes like water."

I've to tread carefully as I assure friends putting on quite a show that I'm laughing with them and not at them.

Sometimes, the party ends before I've even ordered my first lemonade. Which turns out to not be such a bad thing after all when the paramedics at the scene play a guessing game about what exactly a friend who's passed out has been having to eat all day. ("Definitely cheese. And tomatoes.")

But if I find myself cleaning said regurgitated dinner, it probably means there's a long night (or day) still ahead of me.

Despite the evident martyr-like suffering and the seeming prudishness, it really has do do with having more fun.

It's hard to give up on non-drinking when it's always the sobre one that has the wildest night. With the added advantage of fully functioning mental faculties to remember every single delectable detail the next morning. (Except details of puke. That should be blocked out of memory.)

I'm probably one of the few people with a hand steady enough to document the evening with the promise of enough material for two facebook albums and some more saved for special blackmail. I doubt I can ever give up the pleasure of saying to a mildly embarrassed friend just out of a 24 hour hangover: "I know what you did last Saturday night." Or better still, in mock righteousness: "Well if you can't remember if you danced on tables then there's no point in me telling you, is there?"

It's not easy being the non-drinker. But it does help collect a whole lot of stories. Stories that one day shall be retold over fruit juice and tap water, and laughed about.
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