January 2nd, 2004

emu

sleep

4 hours sleep in the evening, 6 more during the night/morning. I guess I should be up to scratch again.
emu

music

listening to Herbert Grönemyer and to World Party. How come that some great artists never seem to make it to the huge crowds.
beach bum

Early morning

By the time the lights are on a bar, you know you the landlord is either going to bed or wants to have a drink himself. In this case we know he wants to go to the only other place in town that is still open. When I look around there is only 3 left apart from myself.

Outside the clock on the church tells us it is half past five, whereas it feels like 4am. New Years Eve does strange things to your sense of time. Or it was a great evening. Let's say both. In the distance someone is walking towards us. He seems partially paralysed. Had it been pm instead of am, I wouldn't have given it a second thought. The left side of his body is stopping him from walking normally. Luckily he walks on the left side of the road, which gives him plenty of help. Shop windows and doors stop him from falling to one side. This is how I imagine the hunchback of the Notre Dame would have walked. The right side of his body seems to be in a hurry though; he comes closer to us fast. I am not wearing my glasses; the amount of alcohol I consumed doesn't help my vision either. Instead of taking my bike immediately, I wait until he's here.

Now he is closer I recognise him. He's a couple of years younger than me, I worked on a project with him once. He must have come from the other bar, where he probably had plenty to drink. He does have a problem though, having watched him for the last half a minute it seems predictable. The bar we just left is on the corner. This means he has to cross the street and there is nothing to lean against. He does try though and disappears from our views. We know he hasn't turned left, as he does live straight ahead.

So we walk to the corner and see him lying down on the street. It is difficult to guess his thoughts. He could be so far gone that he doesn't realise he is lying in the street or he could be doing an effort to get up. He could even be comfortable there for all I know. We urge him to get up and tell him it's only a couple of hundred meters to get home. He does so and staggers on. Worried we see him getting closer to home. Coincidentally his brother comes from the same direction on his pushbike. We tell him that his little brother seemed extremely drunk and perhaps needs some help. His response seems weird. "There is only one person who is really drunk and that's me" we hear him utter, before turning right. He doesn't seem to care, so why should we?

I decide to walk to the bank on the other side of the road. I need money anyway, in the same time we can see how he's doing. I know I would never forgive myself if I read the paper tomorrow and see something had happened. While the cash point digs a hole into my account, we see him follow the wall of the gas station, whereas he should be crossing the street by now.

On our bikes we drive towards the gas station. Not our direction, yet it might be necessary. Near the shop window near the corner he has settled nicely. He seems to be comfortable there, curled up like a little child. A thumb in his mouth would have completed the picture. Again we spoil his effort. We tell him that a few degrees below zero might not be the best temperature to sleep in the street. Again he gets up. He does make a remark about my writing skills and tells me to write down what happened (which I will) thanks us for our concerns and goes on his way again.

After he crossed the street, we turn around and hope he will make it home. Cycling home we discuss how someone could drink so much that he loses control of his bodily functions. I have been drunk. I have seen the toilet bowl from up close on several occasions. Yet I cannot imagine how much you have to drink to be that far gone. I hope his hangover will be so huge it stops him from drinking so much again.