There’s nothing like a pint of ‘Wife Beater’, but I think the drink named for how Stella brings out the violent side in men has a new meaning. It is what happens to the male the following morning when they are unable to function in any way shape or form! In short, it is the wife doing the beating. The chemicals that they put in Stella Artoris have a unique way of fogging the mind but also (Brucie bonus coming here) blocking the ears for the vicious invective that follows. It is nothing personal (Mike’s marriage tip number 34) after all, this is a french beer and our cousins across the water have a stubbornness about them that they have managed to capture and bottle: if only we could bottle an emotion, like joy, and take a swig when we are feeling low.
However, the hangover today is not from lager, it is from being released from my duties and the emotions of seeing so many friendly faces.
I’ve been to leaving do’s and know how much effort it takes to summon the energy to go out on a Friday after a week at work. Traditionally, this is a male affair, with husbands looking to get a pass for the night, but nowadays relationships have changed with the new generation of women meeting friends for a great night out, the men staying at home! The boot is truly on the other foot. In my dad’s generation, the man did anything he wanted and his partner had to lump it. Divorce was frowned upon and women were left drowning at home with the tears of the children to contend with. Now, I’m seeing the reverse in men I know, lamenting their inadequate attempts to keep the lady at home whilst they are cuddled up with an iron and 5 shirts to press!
So, I digress, back to the leaving do!
Bobby Brown was first to show, great lad who reminded me of how I interviewed him for a job and took umbrage to his dismissal of the Incident team role! It’s funny what we remember about people and how through hard work they achieve great things. Rob is a fine man, always positive and one of those people you know is going to do well in life.
Then there was a steady stream of faces all coming to share a drink and ask me what the hell I was doing? I am now officially unemployed and I bloody love it (please no-one remind me of this in 9-months time when I’m desperate for work, just let me enjoy the feeling… thanks) and I think that I could not have done this even a year ago. The constellation of the stars have aligned with the moon and the light is beaming down to a house in Maidstone, Kent where it’s bounced off my silly dog landing on my snoring head!
Why would you do this? What has possessed you, they asked?
So here is my answer:
‘I’ve always been at my happiest seeing new places in the world and, before I’m too infirm to enjoy the Southern Hemisphere, I wanted to see it.’
I could have asked for a career break, so there must be more? Of course there is!
Deep breath. I couldn’t adapt to the change of direction at work. I couldn’t stomach the sound of politics in a job where skills are everything. If you lose the ones with the brains and knowledge to affect the changes, in effect, you have no change. In truth, for the last 4 years, it’s been like that TV show, ‘Survivor’. That was a great show! I loved the endurance test on the stumps in the sea and have been teetering on my own log that says ‘doomed’ on it. I finally knelt down and saw the writing, my resignation soon followed.
My other reason was to beat Steve out of the door. He was my manager when I first started and nothing has ever beaten those years we worked together. Once we headed in separate directions within the department we found that if we ever sat together for old times sake, we couldn’t actually do any work because we spent the whole time re-living the library of impressions we used to create in the office after we visited users. There was no mercy! They either had a nickname or an impression of them, but if they had both they were in deep trouble! My lasting memory of working with Steve was when one of the female Police Officers chased him under the table where he was trying to fix her computer: I’ve never seen him look so scared. Priceless!
The rest of our evening involved Clarkey, Clarkey, Clarkey and er, yes, Clarkey. He didn’t manage as many pints as the number of times I’ve named him but he was still drunk. I usually pass the test of lightweight (2 pint Mike) but J2O Clarkey easily surpassed this achievement. I’m not one for gossiping, but he left a pint and a half and then disappeared into the night! You’ve let the whole of Birmingham down Andy! The worse thing was that he wasn’t even drinking wife beater, so there’s a strong chance he’s had a hell of a day! He was drinking Peroni, which, after the head has dissolved looks homemade! Oh, and a quick mention to Darryl who clearly has great taste in clothing, wearing exactly the same top as the man over 15 years his senior, which Clarkey, does not qualify me to be his Grandad!
Just 3 days to go now. We fly from Birmingham on Wednesday morning!