OT: Servetus borrachita

Last night of term. Do professors everywhere tie one on, the night classes end? Guess so. And professors are still the only people I know in this town. Wait, I also know a barista, but even he’s halfway a professor, professoring to support his artistic habit, baristing for the health insurance.

Sprang for a taxi as I usually drive a colleague over there, but I knew in advance that last night I wouldn’t want to stop when I should. But it takes so damn long to get drunk on beer, even the higher alcohol ones. Liquor is quicker. But professors don’t get drunk on cocktails, except in private homes or at professional conferences. To everything there is a season, turn, turn, turn. A time to be sober, a time to be drunk. I’m sure that line was merely accidentally excluded by the author of Ecclesiastes. What is this in my brain that demands dulling on the night after classes are over? What is this in my brain, period? Why do I have to be this person? I wonder sometimes. My father’s daughter, pour some alcohol on the problem, girl, that’s the way to do it. But why is it that alcohol sometimes seems like the most effective mechanism for dealing with the unarticulated problems? Why won’t some problems let themselves be articulated?

I guess it doesn’t matter, in the end. I remind myself despite my discomfort over occasional drinking to dull the pains of the soul, that I’m not hurting anyone, except potentially myself. I am not regularly drunk. Only on the evening after the last day of classes, in the company of people who have the same goal as I do. Drowning my sorrows in the best of company.

In this town, as in the last, we the professors have a specific pub that we prefer, though in that town the preference was mostly for lagers and the local domestics that developed in the hands of the Bohemia brewers that settled in the region (and periodically, there, we gave up on beer and let ourselves waste away in Margaritaville). Here, the preference seems to fall on IPAs and other ales and the pub we go to imports a lot of Belgian or Belgian-style ales. I may never fully be able to express enjoyment in response to even the best IPA. Although didn’t especially like Belgian beers before I started this weekly date, I think because I’d only ever drunk them in bottles, but since I’ve been able to get them on tap, I’ve become an addict. Something about these sour fruit flavors and that direct hit of alcohol — 10-12% ABV for some of these brews — just goes directly to the root of the problem and extinguishes it. Annoyance drowned in sour cherry foam. Also, the guys in the party are always offering me a swallow of their ales and that draws me onward. Something about that first swallow of a beer you’ve never tasted — well, if you don’t like beer, I can’t really explain, I suppose.

But also something about looking into the eyes of colleagues over the brim of the glass as you make that first swallow — the one who says, I want to see what you think, the one who has just the little glint of humor in her expression as she watches you swallow and then laughs at the look of glee on your face. And as the night wears on, I realize that while the alcohol is important, that’s not the whole story. It’s giggling about the “vow of silence over the first beer” that I made to my colleague in the taxi on the way over as another colleague asks why I’m letting him speak for me. It’s hearing about the origin of Buffalo wings from a colleague who grew up near Buffalo as we taste a bleu cheese (having bought a cheese plate so as to allow ourselves to have a fourth, and then a fifth beer — luckily I’m able to stop myself before six). It’s the sort of rhetorical questions we’re still all asking about why we’re here. It’s the concern that means we steer around a certain topic until a particular colleague gets up to order another round and then shut up when he comes back with it. It’s the commiseration about holiday travel, and rental properties in this town, and the failings of the library, and the way people drive.

This morning I come in and my TA, who has the office across the hall from me, says, “Wow, when I heard about how much you guys drank last night, I didn’t think you’d be here before noon” and grins at me mischievously. And I realize that after fifteen weeks as colleagues we are now friends, too.

I could have trusted myself to have drunk the sixth beer after all.

***

It’s that time of year again: a point at which we think about the needs of others in the midst of gratitude for the gifts we have received. Here’s a link to Mr. Armitage’s recommended charities at JustGiving and a link to Act!onAid, a child sponsorship organization for which he recorded a voiceover in December 2010. In 2011, Mr. Armitage also participated in fundraising efforts for Christchurch Earthquake Appeal. You can also generate a donation by doing any amazon.co.uk or Book Depository shopping that you do for the holidays via RichardArmitageOnline.com, or amazon.com or amazon.co.uk shopping via RichardArmitageNet.com, as these fansites both donate earned commission to charities that Armitage has endorsed. Fans have also donated in honor of Armitage to Oxfam International.

~ by Servetus on December 2, 2011.

3 Responses to “OT: Servetus borrachita”

  1. I’m glad you had a good enough time to let your hair down and enjoy yourself. Sometimes it’s good to have fun and hang loose. Two more weeks until freedom!

    Like

  2. […] Term is over. My new colleagues and I are out for one of our periodic Belgian beer extravaganzas. The conversation strays to silly ways we entertain ourselves when the seriousness of the semester […]

    Like

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