Work folks were all outside The Salisbury last night to give Jasper a good send-off when this strange Australian girl attached herself to our crowd. There’s been a lot of turnover of staff recently so at first I just thought she was someone new from the office, but her bizarre behaviour soon put that straight.
Eventually we worked out that she was waiting to see Avenue Q with some friends in the Noël Coward Theatre next door, but they hadn’t turned up yet and she had all the tickets. Also she had been given a lot of cocktails earlier by her boss which accounted for her drunken state.
I say “eventually” because establishing these simple things took around 10 minutes; she was very drunk and most of her conversation was punctuated with “oh my god!” and “Wait! Wait! Wait! Wait!” if she was trying to explain something and someone else was talking nearby. One of these overly-lengthy topics of conversation was when she tried to explain that the distance lengthwise across Australia is “the same as the moon.” I asked, “is that diameter or circumference?” which for some reason sent her off into fits of laughter for a while. I don’t know why; it was a perfectly serious question!
Surprisingly she wasn’t an annoying drunk, it was more comical than anything. In an enclosed space she would have been too much but out on the street in a big group you could at least move away and let someone else talk to her for a while. I have to say it also helped that she was quite cute!
Things started to take a turn for the worse though when she decided to start tipping her drink (cranberry and vodka I think, maybe a cape codder) into our drinks (beer), and when she started eating crisps out of my hand it all got a bit weird and people started to move away! Fortunately at this point she nipped off to the toilet then came racing back, grabbed her drink out of my hand and shouted, “my friends are here!” as she ran back towards the Noël Coward. I have to wonder how much of the plot of Avenue Q she will have been able to follow in that state.
The whole thing took me back to being that sort of age (she said she was 19) and getting completely wasted, being an annoying drunk. Fun, but too risky to get yourself into that sort of state where you can’t look after yourself. I learnt that lesson in a not too terrible way when I was 18 or so; I hope you get a chance to learn it the easy way too, Sarah.
Anyway, I left at about 22.30 because I was beginning to get wasted on the cheeky vimtos Jasper was buying and really didn’t fancy 3 hours on night buses to get home after missing the last train. But it was a good send-off, a good turn out and a good night. I don’t do post-work beers that often but I think I’ll miss The Salisbury when we move to Gray’s Inn Road.