Nighttime Adventures

Sorry about the recent lack of updates; I’ve been working and catching the flu and stuff. Luckily, these fun activites have been tempered with adventure – most of which has been related to visiting pubs on Thursdays.

Every Thursday night, about twenty American and Scandinavian students gather at the north end of George Street and make our merry way to the Robert Burns Pub, a charming Scottish establishment where septuagenarians gather to hear other septuagenarians play rousing jazz standards. The relative lack of rowdy students makes this the perfect opportunity for us to socialize and catch up with friends we haven’t seen over the course of the previous week. Anyway, the Thursday before last I had just struck up a spirited conversation with two charming gentlemen named Gabe (North Carolina) and Xander (Colorado) when we were suddenly interrupted by a grizzled and very tanked regular to our immediate left.

“If you coul’ drink anyfing roight now, whadjou drink, friends? For th’ next ten minutes, ev’ryfing you drink is on me!”

Drouin may have been a drunkard, but he was also remarkably insistent. After declining politely several times we finally consented to a round of Scotch and some of the craziest conversation I’ve ever been privy to. Over time it became clear that when Drouin wasn’t downing beers and foaming at the mouth with excitement, he loved to hunt and fish and thought New Zealand was the greatest nation on earth. “Feckyeh!” he’d exclaim heartily. “New Zealand born’n raised!”

However, although Drouin was clearly a happy and harmless soul, he was still an eccentric drunkard; he made the three of us just a bit uncomfortable. So despite our new friend’s insistence and my adoration for Glenlivet on the rocks, after that first round we somehow managed to politely extricate ourselves from Drouin’s chemically enhanced generosity and exited the bar.

Our encounter with Drouin turned out to be just one of many strange occurrences that night, but everything else was far too “you had to be there” for me to effectively recount.

Flash forward a week and it’s yesterday. We’re back at the Robert Burns and Xander is telling some friends about our encounter with Drouin (who is also on the premises – he’s laughing and flecking and foaming with another guy across the room from our little group). Unfortunately, Xander’s narrative gives these rather unscrupulous friends a bright idea and they head off engage with Drouin hoping to score free drinks. This sort of behavior really made us sad; we could tell that Drouin enjoyed these kids’ attention tremendously, but he also ended up spending well over a hundred dollars on them – a hundred dollars that I somehow doubt he really had.

The whole situation left a bad taste in my mouth, so Gabe and I decided to leave and explore the nightlife elsewhere. We brought along our friends KC (Hanover) and Laura (London) and headed for The Octagon (a large downtown square with an extremely high concentration of classy restaurants and bars). We eventually found ourselves burning up the dance floor to live covers of Stevie Wonder and Billy Joel at the Lemon Room. The crowd of (mostly) New Zealanders was intrigued; the majority had never even heard of swing dancing, and a few people actually pointed and took pictures when I started doing the continuous pretzel with KC. I’m not even that good – Gabe is a much better lead than I.

When the band took a break we moved on the the Craic, which advertised itself as an Irish tavern but turned out to simply be a pleasantly weathered and homey pub with a toasty fireplace. But then, after sitting down and chatting for a moment, we met Richard, Scotty, and Blair.

Blair appeared first – or rather, Blair’s foot appeared first. With a great loud thunk it came down on our table, followed closely by a hairy arm and a woozily leering face. “Sorry,” Blair said. “I got tight hamstrings. Gotta stretch ’em out.” Then he tried to take his foot off the table and crashed to the ground, spilling beer all over himself and hitting two or three surfaces on his way down. In another instant he was back, this time with two slightly less intoxicated friends, Richard and Scotty. Richard was the most articulate of the three, and we actually had a very good conversation with him about what New Zealanders thought of the Americans in their midst and our respective travel plans. This was punctuated, however, by frequent outbursts of fighting, rousing song, and licking (you read that right) between Blair and Scotty. Richard began to teach us a common New Zealand pub game while Scotty attempted to don a Super Mario mask he had produced from somewhere and Blair leapt across tabletops and ineptly flirted with women hanging onto the arms of their annoyed but amused boyfriends. Eventually Blair grew bored, joined our drinking game, and prompty lost. Without a word he stood, dropped his pants, ripped off his shirt, chugged a pint of beer, and tipped over backwards. I’m not sure anyone in attendance had ever laughed harder.

That said, we prompty cut Blair off, and our little group decided to say our goodbyes to Richard and Scotty; they were eyeing KC and Laura with just a little too much hunger, and Blair was plainly just out of control. At that point we decided to call it a night and headed home, observing several more “you had to be there” situations along the way.

Most drunk people annoy me in the United States. I’m not yet sure why they’re so interesting here.

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~ by Jack on August 3, 2007.

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