A pub table is a dangerous place to plan adventures. The devil’s in the glass, the mischief’s in the music, and the old chairs creak meddlesome suggestions to you like the bows of pirate ships or the hammocks of forest hideaways. There is a reveller’s riot spirit lurking there under the table like discarded gum, ready to stick itself to you with the leftover minxy scent of Juicy Fruit. Plus you’re drunk. That almost never helps.
We were sat down at such a table the Sunday just gone – me, Paige, Dean, Liam, Matt and Michelle. A colourful gang with Sunday fun on their mind. Paige and Dean had just moved into their new flat so we were clinking to them and their new walls so they could blithely ignore the fact they now had a heckload of unpacking to do. To distract them we were attending to all the important stuff of life, like how long can you hold your eyes wide open without it really hurting? Can you put your arm around and up your back and touch your head? Can you do that really quick finger-clicking thing that makes a cool snapping sound? The big stuff. Like if Mensa did Twister.
Now. I think there is something intrinsically dangerous about sitting opposite people. Hear me out. When you are physically able to see each other, something happens. You incite mischief together. Something alchemical happens as your eyes spark off each other. Trouble ignites itself. You egg each other on. You get the giggles. You indulge in a precarious “what if”. Less stuff happens when you are all facing the same way. When was the last time you formed a human pyramid just to see if you could, at, say, the cinema, or queuing up in Primark to pay for a 50 pack of socks? No. That is because you were all facing the same way. Most of life’s big moments can all be tracked back to the moment when eyes locked together. Human eyes are the start of most of the trouble. Especially when they’re drunk. That almost never helps.
Then, around our table of weekend champions, as can happen, talk turned to the local airport. Not to bemoaning the noise or the flight paths, but to adventurous plottings. To that possibility of adventure residing in our very own town in the form of a magical portal to Other Places.
“Let’s all go to Another Place, just because we can.” said someone. “Alright”, said everyone else, not entirely in unison, but we can work on that for next time. We talked about Barcelona, Prague, Lanzarote, Reykjavik, we got so fired up at one point someone even mentioned Jersey. I made that person calm down. The central tenet of our adventure logistics was that when we went, and go we would, we would hike to the airport by foot, eschewing the use of cabs, because we could. Because it’s there. Because the airport is so flipping local you could almost wake up in the morning and clonk your head on the 07:23 Easyjet to Glasgow.
The trouble with carousing with your mates around a table in the pub, planning pan-global recreation eyeball to eyeball is that your phone’s sat there in front of you. There you are, all together, all excited, existing in the modern world, with real-life phones sat there right in front of you. Drunk.
And I can only presume that is the reason I woke up the next morning and saw in my inbox, to my surprise, a confirmation email telling me “Dear Sadie, Congratulations! You’re on your way to see Ludovico Einaudi at Waldbühne Berlin!”
I wonder whose eyes are to blame. Whose mischievous brain. Whose adventurer’s calling. Someone is at fault. And they were almost certainly drunk and that almost never helps.