Gaz and I have had a personality swap – like the yin and yang of Chinese philosophy, I was mostly drunk with a dash of sobriety, while he was a little bit drunk and a whole lot sober. Now, we’ve swapped. Which is probably not the illustration of the yin-yang Chinese philosophers were hoping for, but the shoe fits.
Whereas I’ve spent the last 15 years being a prat, Gaz has always been pretty pratless. He just doesn’t seem to open his mouth as wide, cause any offence, or wake up hating himself, covered in bruises. Except the ones I gave him, while drunk.
2013 is my year of partial sobriety. I say partial because I think I’d be much more likely to fail if I tried to give up booze entirely. But having three drinks maximum on any one given night means I’m still a Fun Time Sally but without Paranoid Paula turning up uninvited.
Ah – Paranoid Paula. Have you met her? She’s there when I wake up the morning after the night before, stirring her cauldron of questionable memories, reminding me of all the things I gone and done that I’d rather forget.
Last year I did some shameful things while under the influence, like trying to beat a man up because he was dressed as Beetlejuice. Well, maybe he deserved it, but it wasn’t my place to smack him down. Hence this year’s partial sobriety.
Gaz, on the other hand, or should that be the other yang, has seemingly decided this is his year to get steaming. I’m talking, so hungover he’s got sick down his front and is crying a bit. I’m talking trying to break up a fight on the dance floor between two blokes who could definitely have knocked him out by asking, in all seriousness: ‘Mate, is he trying to steal your dance moves?’
It’s brilliant. I feel the apprentice has become the master and I am so proud. The marriage wouldn’t work if we were both yang. At least this way one of us is still representing.
I haven’t coined ‘Paranoid Paula’ myself, by the way. Oh no. She belongs to a friend of mine, who was so used to Paula’s company she gave her a name.
And it turns out, there is a scientific explanation for Paula’s presence the morning after the night before. Well, I say scientific – a friend told me this in the pub the other night and I have done exactly zero research into his claims.
Apparently, the brain is constantly keeping you in check, keeping you self aware, keeping you from making a tit of yourself. Keeping you relatively self conscious, so that you are in control of your actions.
Have a few drinks though, and it’s like there is a cork wedged into the natural flow of self consciousness. So rather than just thinking you’re invincible / hilarious / a shape shifter, you are just bottling up all self awareness.
You wake up, the cork pops out of the bottle and ta-da: you’re an idiot. All the thoughts you should have had last night before you beat that guy up / made that girl cry / asked your fat friend is she’s pregnant come swishing into your mind full throttle, led by Paula.
‘What a brilliant analogy!’ I declared as I nursed my cherry beer, declining the shots that were making their way around the table, virtuously, because I’m a bloody saint now.
‘So really, Paula is just a build up of thoughts I should have had the night before, which had they been spread out over the night instead of stored up till morning, I wouldn’t feel so bad about?’
‘Yup!’ says my friend, who is not a scientist.
‘Although, sometimes you are just a dick-head,’ says my other friend. Who has since asked me to clarify that she meant ‘Sometimes, one is just a dick-head,’ rather than ‘you’ because she wasn’t talking about me, she assures me, but just people in general.
There you have it chaps – don’t hate yourself the morning after. What you did wasn’t that bad, it’s just you had a cork in your brain. Just ask a scientist, like what I didn’t.
Everyone was keen to know more about my bold and drastic decision to curb my drinking so they gathered round and asked questions about Beetlejuice while lamenting the death of gobby Kim as I introduced new, righteous Kim. Rather like when I’m drunk, I was banging on a bit.
Later, in the nightclub, I had a real, grown-up, proper conversation with a girl who was doing a masters in her spare time while also trying to save the state schooling system. That’s right – in a nightclub! I asked her all kinds of questions I wouldn’t have thought of if I’d been busying knocking back the gins.
As I was leaving, Masters Mavis mentioned that she hadn’t been drinking that night either. She just casually mentioned it, in passing, at the end of the night. She didn’t make a song and dance about it, she didn’t announce it to everyone in the hopes of attention. What a Humble Hilary.
Whereas it’s headline news if I am drinking or if I’m not, Masters Mavis just gets on with being clever and doing her masters. I’ve got a lot to learn. Luckily I’m Learning Lots Laura now, so I’ll catch on.