I do know of the therapeutic aspects of alcohol. It is said that a glass of red wine a day is supposed to be good for you. My grandmother drank a can of beer (Schaeffer, ugh) a day almost up to the day she died. And she died at 98. The problem comes when we overindulge. And I tend to overindulge a lot. I can understand why people in places like this develop drinking problems; there’s just not a whole lot else to do. The rum flows like…let’s put it this way: they drink so much of it down here that there ought to be three water spigots on their sinks labeled “C” for calor (hot), “F” for frio (cold) and “R” for rum (rum).
There is a new place in Guanaja called Manatee – that is to say “a new place to drink.” Hansito, the guy who owns it, like most bar owners down here has a reputation for drinking that is legendary. People have been suggesting I go there since it opened at Christmas. And so Friday night we did. Just four of us, but some others had promised to show up also. Got there around 7:30.
Nice bar. Big, open-air, sparsely decorated, not-quite-finished look about it. Little clear area where the pool table is going to go, and another clear area with a drum kit set up and a bass guitar hanging on the wall. Pool? Live music? The prospect of those two things is pretty enticing. (Alas, no live music that night.)
Right off the bat, with our first round still sitting on the bar, our cook Daniel calls out, “Let’s do shots!” and I thought to myself, This is not gonna be good. I mean, I’m getting a little old for this. Ah, well, I vowed to cut things off early so we didn’t get too crazy.
It was one of those We all had a good time…I think…kind of nights. Without going into the gory details, let’s just say that we all drank way too much and leave it at that – except that we didn’t cut it off early as planned, unless you consider sunrise early, in which case…
I like getting drunk. I shouldn’t, because it usually lets the real me out for a stroll. And that’s not always a good thing. Issues? I got ‘em, baby! I say and do things that I probably(?) shouldn’t. Things I regret deeply the next day. Luckily, most of the time I stop short of an all-out bar-fight. God does protect drunks, is all I can figure.
The older I get, the worse the hangovers have become. I know this, but I am a slow learner, evidently. And Saturday was particularly bad. I literally wanted to kill myself. I’m glad nobody needed the helicopter that day to go to the hospital, because I would have fought them for a place in the ambulance. I thought about medevacing myself down to La Ceiba. I could just see the puzzled expression on the faces of the medics. “Senor pilote? Que pasa? Donde esta el pasajero?” But the noise and vibration of the helicopter ride would have been too much torture to endure even for forty-five minutes.
Around four-thirty Saturday afternoon, one of our foremen arrived accompanied by some friends and relatives and beer. Unbeknownst to me, an impromptu barbecue had been called. People will often visit us on weekends. It’s analogous to taking a drive out into the country, I guess. Sometimes they call ahead, sometimes not. Normally, I appreciate the spontaneous nature of the people here. But it can mess with other plans though. (And at this point I was still contemplating suicide.) I had been invited over to an island owned by some friends to watch the Saints football game in the evening, which I was looking forward to. But there was no way now.
So we all sat around outside eating steak and chorizo tortillas while a cacaphony of cell phones beeped, buzzed and sang (which of course they could not not answer). Faithful readers will be aware of my hatred of cell phones. And I noticed something: cell phones don’t ring anymore. Even mine doesn’t have a “ring-ring” option. They only play various tunes. One guy of the group had a phone that played the old Nokia theme and I thought to myself, Man, now there’s a classic oldie! I had left my own cell phone inside the house. Naturally, there were a half-dozen missed-calls on it when I went back inside.
I’m still young enough to enjoy a good time, as we did Friday night. But I’m old enough to realize that I don’t have all that many days left, and I absolutely detest wasting them, as I did most of Saturday.
But we do have fun down here. Lordy, do we have fun…