Archive | December, 2012

Lonely Days and Whiskey Nights

7 Dec

[Dad: Don’t read this one!  For another ten years.]

Two nights ago, I was lying on my bed in my Melbourne hostel room being antisocial — watching a TV show on my laptop with my earbuds in.  When two guys, backpacks in tow, came in and made their beds and tried to say hello.  I gruffled something back and then didn’t cast another eye in their direction.  The fact that my one glimpse hinted they may be attractive annoyed me even more.  Why can’t I be left alone?  Or at least put with weirdos?

I went to Bikram (hot) yoga, showered, and resumed a vertical position on my bed, peacefully watching my TV show.  When they came back!  I refused to look at them and turned up the volume on my laptop to drown out their voices.  Then one of them tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I wanted to have a drink on the balcony with them.  I was pissed.  Ahhhh.  Vegemite your face, I thought.  Because I knew I had to.  Keeping to yourself is one thing.  But refusing offers like that in a hostel means you’re at the point where you might as well be at home on your own couch with your head stuffed in a pillow.

Irritated, I snapped my laptop shut and shimmied through the window onto the balcony.  My hair was wet and uncombed.  I was wearing a purple sports bra, and a green shirt that I hate (Have you ever seen a picture with me in it?  No.).  They were drinking Asbach, a German whiskey you can only get in Germany.  Sebastian was 27, tan from two months in New Zealand, and tall with tousled hair, a prominent though otherwise inoffensive nose, and pale blue eyes.  Mario was 25, fresh off the plane from Germany (and hence the supplier of the Asbach).  His relative youth — both on the road and in years — meant his manner was franker and his words somehow held less intrigue.  His hair was dark and closely-cropped, and while Sebastian casually rested back in his chair, Mario sat straight up and bounced his knee every so often.  Joining us was Marcus, a 20-year-old baby-faced Swede who — restricted either by skill or confidence — spoke English far less expertly.

I’ll make this a short affair, I thought.  Sebastian and Mario were drinking out of coffee mugs.  I couldn’t be bothered to fetch one for myself from the kitchen downstairs so Marcus and I just took shots out of the caps from the two Asbach bottles.  German bankers they were — Sebastian asset management and Mario risk control.  I disclosed I was a lawyer, and Marcus nearly fell out of his chair.  “I’m not educated at all!,” he exclaimed.  I brought my whiskey bottlecap up to his and reassured him that “it matters for shit because we’re all getting bed bugs in this shoddy hostel room together.”  We drank to New Zealand and we drank to Australia and we drank to America and we drank to Germany and we drank to Sweden.  Turns out they had not only interesting lives and experiences but reflections upon them.  Eventually, I fetched Marcus and me coffee mugs, and, after polishing off the Asbach, we moved onto Johnnie Walker Red Label — though I refused to sink to Sebastian’s level and dilute it with Coke.  I licked my lips, numb from the whiskey, looked out over the street below, and let life wash over me.

The only photo of the night, in our hostel room.

The only photo of the night, in our hostel room.

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