Sunday morning found me particularly grateful that I had not chosen as my New Year’s resolution “Must drink less, and more responsibly.” (I do regret that my resolution wasn’t something along the lines of “Get spectacularly drunk at least once a week and alienate your friends,” because if that had been the case, I’d be doing splendidly, wouldn’t I.)

So, okay, Saturday morning, I got up bright and early, puttered around the house with every intention of thoroughly cleaning it, and went to Teddy’s for brunch with my friend N. This is how it all started. I had a bloody mary with brunch. And the problem with drinking a single boozy beverage at 1 pm is that you simply must continue drinking all day long or else you will fall into a torpor and be useless for the next 12 hours. My drinking bravura thoroughly stoked, I managed to convince N that we should have a pint or so at Iona, to which he grudgingly conceded after I promised him there’d be a football game to watch.

So it was me and N, the bartender (who was already a little tipsy), 4 postal carriers, an old guy, and a rather drunk Englishman who, the tipsy bartender explained, had been there since last night. We were introduced to him unceremoniously when the bartender switched our drink orders. And from that moment on, our lives were changed.

His name was M, and he explained that he was a fashion stylist who also liked to spin records. The bartender grudgingly let him play some decent 60s R&B from the collection of 45s he’d arrived with at some point in the previous 24 hours. In between spinning records, M would come over and chat with us. He was entertaining if unintelligible. Oddly enough, the drunker we got, the more we understood him. After 6 hours of pints, we were practically communicating telepathically.

I hasten to add that I had no intention of spending all afternoon surrounded by drunks and letter carriers, but the bartender was (unwittingly) giving us pint after free pint, so who am I to argue?

We soon became M’s guardians and, on a couple of occasions, his bodyguards.
“Don’t roll around in the snow, M.”
“Give the nice lady back her hat, M.”
“Don’t touch that. Seriously.”

Finally, 8:30 rolled around and I realized I was going to be late for my friend’s birthday party at The Bellevue. N and I announced that we were leaving, but M, in a sweet, sort of bathetic way, begged us not to leave him. OK, fine, you can come with us, we told him, but we must leave now.

“But I’ve got to drop off my records and have a shower and change my trainers and get a jumper to wear.”

No, we told him, you may not. We must get on the subway NOW, we said.

“Subway? Why the tube? We’re not students. We’ll take a car service. I’ve got cash.”

So we hailed a cab and went back to M’s apartment where his unseen girlfriend politely gave him whatfor in the other room. N and I sat nervously on the couch. M wanted her to come out and meet us. She didn’t want to. We wondered what we’d gotten ourselves into. Still, the couch was so, so comfortable.

Finally, M re-emerged from the bedroom. We again denied him a shower, so he put on his gold trainers and his jacket and we went downstairs. He insisted we take a car service and pulled a twenty out of his shoe. Well, ok.

It became apparent after we got in the car that refusing M his shower hadn’t been in our best interests. Then again, we’d been drinking all day as well, so perhaps we all smelled like that.

Things are spotty after that. I recall him patting the car service driver’s head and asking him, “Have you got some disco music on the stereo? My mate’s claustrophobic, he hates riding in cars.” I think he might’ve intimated that the driver had sexual relations with his own mother. I was beginning to get uneasy.

The unease grew when we finally arrived at the bar and within five minutes of being there M had dumped a beer on one friend of mine and pulled another one’s ponytail in a lewd manner. “Please don’t molest my friends,” I implored him, and did a quick headcount to see how many apologetic emails I’d be sending out in the morning.

He proceeded to buy us 3 rounds of tequila shots with money that magically appeared from his gold trainers. Now, I know what you’re thinking: No good can come of this. And you’re right.

M & N squished themselves onto the same brokedown chair and I sat on top of them, mostly in an attempt to keep M from touching anyone else in the bar.

N got up to use the bathroom. M sprung up a minute later and said, “I’m going to check on him,” which was considerably more unnerving than anything else he’d said that day. I tried to persuade him to stay, that N would probably like to go to the bathroom on his own, to no avail.

He returned a minute later, looking a bit sheepish. “Yes, he’s, ah, fine.” I knew it was time to leave. There were other attendees at this party whom I knew would be less understanding about a drunk Brit barging in on their piss.

So we said goodbye (I hope we said goodbye; I’m a bit fuzzy) and hailed a cab, hailed at M’s insistence. “We’re not students,” he repeated, and pulled another twenty out of his shoe.

This cabdriver was illhumored and did not respond well to having his head touched. He insisted we get out at 6th Ave. and 14th St. “Allright, M, we’re taking the subway now.”

Some tugging and armtwisting was involved. When we got onto the near-empty L, M’s half-focused eyes trained on the innocent woman sitting across from us. He had just finished counting all the money he had left in his trainers when he noticed her Timberlands. “Now, those are some right trainers,” he said to her. She smiled and said thank you.

“I’ll bet you have a large vagina.”

N and I exchanged a look of horror. This was like doing battle with a Hydra. An affable, generous one, but still.

Which was why, at Bedford Avenue, we encouraged him to go meet up with a girlfriend at the Blue Lounge. In fact, I escorted him to the door and put him out on the platform.

“Wait! Come with me. Don’t leave me!”

“M, we are tired and we want to go to bed. You run off now.”

He delayed the train twice by attempting to step back on the train. Twice I had to firmly shove him back onto the platform. People were beginning to groan angrily.

I kissed him on the forehead and told him “Good night, M.”

As the train pulled away from the station we watched 4 off-duty cops descend on him.

I felt immediately awful. “Oh god, what did we just do?”

“He’ll be fine,” N said. “They won’t arrest him for anything.”

I wasn’t so sure. M, if you’re out there, mea culpa. It was fun while it lasted.

Addendum: N reminded me to point out that we didn’t eat anything after brunch, so our sousedness was extra pronounced.

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