Thursday, December 22, 2011

What You Are Almost Definitely Getting For Christmas

This Christmas is the first one of my adult life where, because I now work in the very seasonal yet ultimately fickle film industry, I do not have to work in retail. There are many great things about this, such as being able to mooch around at my own leisure, complaining about the service in retail. However, it also means that I don't get the chance to see what the public are buying for their friends, which I find very upsetting. However, I think I'm able to venture a few guesses. 


God, books are great aren't they? They make you look smart, they fit very neatly into your handbag and the really good ones have a few blank pages at the back that you can rip out or doodle on. I personally like to use these pages to draw pictures of horses, or even unicorns. 

Genuinely how I spend my time

I think books are a great present, but they take a lot of confidence to give. In order for it to work, the book has to mean something, preferably to you, and ideally to the other person as well. An old boyfriend once gave me The Picture of Dorian Gray for my birthday, and this worked on a number of levels, because (a) he loved the book (b) he thought I would love it too and (c) let's face it, he probably thought I had some vanity issues to sort out. 

Unfortunately, this isn't the nature in which enough people are gifting books. The book present has split into two categories, and you'll probably receive a member of each very soon. There's the now-a-major-motion-picture book, which is kind of uninspiring, and will generally be either PS I Love You or One Day. On the upshot, for every ten paperbacks you receive that feature a toothy brunette on the cover, you might get one copy of The Road or something.

The other, more recently trendy, category of book gifting is far more troubling. I'm talking about the books that aren't given in the spirit that you're actually going to read them, but rather with the intention that you display them semi-ironically in your home. They generally look like this: 

I bought you this because I know you like literature and I know you like jokes.

I bought you this because I know you like literature and I know you're an asshole

These books bother me. There's nothing wrong with giving someone a book 'as a joke', but here's the catch: the joke has to be yours. Mass-produced 'joke' gifts are a bit like other peoples farts. In that you have no idea why the benefactor is so fond of them, and they make you want to die.


You're a fan of PDLs (Public Displays of Literacy)


Reindeer Poo.


Are you a WOMAN? Are you interested in THINGS? Do you have BROWN HAIR? Why then, step into my urban market stall. I've got some premium Audrey Hepburn merch that you are just going to plotz over. We have calendars! 

It tells you what day is now. Is good price.

Everybody loves Audrey Hepburn. She's a phase, much like ponies, that every girl has to go through to reach the next platform of maturity. A couple of years ago, some people noticed this and turned this very beautiful, somewhat talented woman into a very, very annoying industry. There are Audrey Hepburn mugs, ashtrays, datebooks and handbags. Basically, if it exists, and it's used by a woman, Audrey Hepburn's face is on it. (Yes, even those. Probably.)


You are female.


An Anne Geddes postcard collection.

Sex and The City 2 on DVD.


Also known as a 'Snuggie' or a 'Freedom Blanket' (lolz, by the way) the slanket is one of the most celebrated inventions of the 21st century. If you're unfamiliar: it's a blanket, with sleeves. It pretty much the best thing ever.


You are unemployed.
You are generally regarded as being fat and/or lazy.
You have a blog.
You're fat, unemployed, and have a blog.

Will someone just buy me a slanket already?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Drink Spiking Brings Out The Best In People

For those of you that have been following this blog since its tender beginnings (and WORD UP to all twelve of you) you'll know that my adventures in drunkenness are known to be quite colourful outings. There was that time that I accidentally roofied myself with a Disprin, that other time I knowingly gave myself food poisoning and and all these other times that I have took the time to illustrate below.

I have been The Girl Who Can't Match Her Fake Tan To Her Face, and is for some reason having an argument about it:

I have been The Girl Who Is Having SUCH a Good Time, and Never Wants To Go Home:

And of course, like all girls, I have been This Girl:

What I'm trying to say is, I am someone who has been a thousand different kinds of drunk. I know the giddy highs from the dark, dithering lows, and all the Dulux-like subtleties in between.  Moreover, I know when my body is reacting inexplicably to situations as a result of my own stupidity, or someone else's.

Which is a really long way of saying, on Saturday night, my drink was spiked in a London Bridge bar.

Like all nights that end spectacularly badly, it began rather well. I had gotten off early from work, and didn't have to be in until late the next day. My housemate Danny had given himself cabin fever via Skyrim. If we were horses, we'd be the kind that chomp on the bit, kick at the stable door and trace messages in the mud saying "WE'RE READY TO GET DRUNK  NOW."

So that's exactly what we did. We bought some beers, drank two each, talked about Lady Gaga, and then took the bus to a bar where Danny's co-workers had been since the afternoon. We all got along famously, in that warm "I know we don't really know each other, but I'm tipsy and you seem nice" sort of way. At around half-eleven, we moved to a second bar, and that's where things got weird.

Now halfway through my fourth beer, I began getting that feeling that girls get when they realize they're genetically undisposed to drinking beer. Which is to say, my burps started tasting a lot like beer. Ever the lady, I took a delicate lady-rest from my beer, left it on a window ledge in the pub's smoking area, and then turned my back on it. Yes, this is where everything becomes a giant cliché: every sorority-girl horror story, every Veronica Mars pilot episode ever.

As you can assume, I went back to my drink, I drank it, and then everything changed. The oddest thing was how quickly it all happened. In a matter of minutes I went from being my jolly self, to being unable to open my eyes the full way (which, if you look at photo two, shouldn't be all that surprising). I excused myself to the bathroom, and immediately slumped to the floor of the cubicle. Suddenly, getting up off the floor seemed impossible. This was really inconvenient, because within what seemed like seconds (but which I was then informed was fifteen minutes later) there were girls hammering on the stall door and wondering aloud if someone was having sex in there. I dragged myself off the floor, fell out of the cubicle, and flopped myself over the sink, and felt really, really content to just die there.

I might have just gone to sleep or tried to find the least exhausting way to kill myself, if it hadn't been for the small phenomena that is Bathroom Society. The oddest thing about girls in bars is that, when they're actually in, outside or around the bar, they are sworn enemies. On the dancefloor, in the bar queue or in the smoking area, that girl is the gold sequins see's you, the girl in the silver sequins, as the only thing between her and her meeting the love of her life that night. I know that sounds very flippant and incredibly shallow, but I'm positive a universal truth exists here. If that girl goes home that night without having had an erotically witty conversation with someone who later takes her number in a sexy yet dignified way, she holds you, and every other girl in the bar, wholly responsible.

And it's been happening FOREVER.

This is different, however, in the bathroom. While the dancefloor might be the battlefield, the bathroom is unquestionably the barracks, where inexplicably everyone is on the same side. Some of the greatest acts of stranger-kindness I've ever experienced have taken place in the ladies bathroom, where anything from "Do you wanna borrow my lipgloss?" to "Are you sure you have enough money to get home?" can genuinely occur. In this instance, the Bathroom Society that surrounded me knew that something was very wrong with the girl trying to sleep in the sink. They tried to talk to me, to ask if there was somebody they could call, and I tried to lift my head up off the faucet.

I tried to communicate with them, but my entire perception of the universe seemed to have split into very distinct layers. There was me, this core, tiny confused being. Then there was drunk me, who was even more confused. Then there was eight inches of plastic, that me and drunk me was trying to see the rest of the world through, and butting its head very painfully in the process. My body began to shake. I said three words to my party - Please go away - and promptly vomited everywhere.

Eventually, I left the bathroom, and was discovered by Danny's friend Debbie, who was part of the search party currently looking for me. Everything else from here is somewhat of a blur. I have a vague memory of saying goodbye, and then being propped up by Danny while he tried to find us a bus home. I even tried to text my boss to communicate that something was wrong, and that I might not be in the next day. (Fail, by the way: I managed to text the words "it don't make no sense", which seems like a racially dated thing to say.)

The next day was spent trying to do things, but instead getting violently ill and passing out. So was most of today. At some point, the thick sheet of plastic got gradually thinner and things started to feel normal. But during this 30-ish hour period, I came to an odd epiphany. Which is, hey, the reason why bad stuff happens to us, right?

Also the name of a rapper. Hilarious, by the way.

I moved here four months ago, kind of on a whim, and I knew one person. Danny. I didn't even know Danny that well, really: we had worked together for a short time years ago, and kept up a vague sort of friendship ever since. Somewhere along the way, he became the person that knows when something is wrong.

That, when I'm on some kind of inexplicable come-down from a drug I did not choose to take, holds a hair-dryer to my face while I'm shivering on a pile of warm laundry. That will check on me every few hours, and refill my hot water-bottle and buy me ginger beer that I will later puke. But hes not the only one: my phone's inbox has become a weird testament to the fact that I have a life here now. People hear that bad things happen to me, and they worry if I'm OK. After months of fretting whether my life in London would be any kind of a success, I realized that somewhere along the line it kind of became one. I have friends, and friends of friends, and acquaintances, and even though I don't know any of them as well as I know the ones in Ireland, it doesn't really matter.

Because having twenty people who care about you is slightly more enlightening that one person, in a bar somewhere, who put something in your drink so they could maybe rape you.