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Dreadful Nonsense

"I've read your blog. it's really funny. you should write a column." - Jon Ronson

The month of denial has finally come to an end. The suffering is over. The sobriety has passed. All is right and the world once more is lurching and spinning around us. The alcohol has passed over our lips and Lo, we are grateful.

The grin that was plastered across He Who Only...'s face as he approached me holding two pints of The Rose and Crown's finest, was the physical definition of delayed gratification. I have never seen anyone look as pleased with themselves or the hand that life dealt them. Right here in these two pint glasses, the grin said, right here is the secret to happiness, the meaning of life, the point of existence. Right here is distilled love, pure joy, the essence of delight.

He placed the glasses reverentially down on the table. He took off his jacket. He put that on the chair beside him. He pulled out his chair. He sat down. He looked at me. He looked at the glasses. We both looked at each other again. We both looked at the glasses. I reached out and touched the side of my pint, the Guinness settling nice and steadily, forming a perfect line at the top. We looked back at each other. We looked back at the glasses.

We drank.

Oh, how we drank. And then, giddy with the sheer joy of it all, we giggled.

After a month of sobriety, of mature reflection, of DIY and early nights, of fizzy water and herbal tea, of long walks and cinema trips with bags of sweets, a month of cranberry juice and football on the radio, a month of reading the papers from cover to cover and frequenting Starbucks at the weekends, a full month of no public houses, no off licences, no late night corner shops. A month of proper, polite conversation, of observations about the weather, talking of plans for the following weeks and months, serious discussions on politics and media and culture. After a month of steadied and considered conversation, we giggled. I talked inappropriately about ex-boyfriends and marriage, he became impassioned about the campaign for real ale, we made plans for building a colony on Mars and ruling the world with our new race of robots. We moved seats when the corner we were sitting in became overrun by a large group, and went to a window seat to watch the cars go by, and I made a rule that we must kiss every time a bus went past. Throughout my ensuing rant about I honestly can't remember what - all I know is that it was very important and very heart-felt - He Who Only... kept leaning across to me to plant kisses, which never once slowed or interrupted my flow.

After three pints, I was on my ear, which is not that unusual, but still a little light-weight in comparison to the levels of tolerance I had spent the previous six months building up. We wound our way home, stopping only to pick up some cans in a corner shop - THE JOY, THE SHEER JOY OF IT! - and some bread in the bakers. New habits die hard, and I still made myself a cup of herbal tea before retiring to the bedroom. I woke up, once, that night, with the room spinning, my hands shaking and my entire body suffering from a total absence of moisture. It's good to be back off the wagon.


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