Another Friday, another restless afternoon battling a hankering that only comes knocking at the height of warmth and winter. One that creeps up to ensnare its victim on a Thursday evening; when the proverbial tie comes undone and the decompression has begun.
There are weaker moments to follow when it will catch its prey fully aware. The last meeting endured. The last phone-call made. The last email sent. The last scan of next week’s diary advertising the hardships to dread with all the force of Ken Dodd’s tickle stick. The last slam of the door shut till Monday.
It’s Friday. It’s the first one in gets them in. The first clink of the glasses mid-air. The first joke cracked. The first yarn spun.
For some of us, it was always that moment between the last sip of the first, and the first slip of the next. With our lip to the precipice of bonhomie and break-through. To The Present. It could be a long way down but we were willing to risk it. Just the one…time of the week to let it all go.
Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the pub to see his mates. To blather and belly-laugh his way into the here and now. In the one place where you’re judged by your character and ability to hold your own, not the letters that trail your name. Where one person’s laughter is the background to another’s loss. Where bosses are skewered on a stream of consciousness. Where no-one is conscious of time passing.
Our relationship with drink goes a long way down, but we know a charming tour guide of the soul when we hook up with one. And though long broken up, the longing can still come knocking, as loudly as ever.
Just the one… fleeting thought of a pint leads back to the last sip of the first, before the first sip of the next. Freeze it there. To before I moved away and waved goodbye to my people. Before other people started drinking. In. Their. Houses. Before wine became a hobby before ending up as a personality trait. To Friday.
To The Pub.