As I dragged myself to the bus that promised a quick drive home, all I wanted were some minutes of relative peace and quiet and a chance to divest myself of as much of the stress of the day as I could before I got home.
As I waited patiently for the arrival of the bus, I couldn't help noticing one particularly chirpy looking man who was staring at me with worrisome interest. He was tall, dark, and lean as a whip. His craggy face was devoid of any moustache but his eyes had a hint of redness that I didn't pay much attention to at the time.
I studiously avoided eye contact; something about his cheerfulness beneath the sweltering heat of the sun made him suspect. The fact that he was also probably older than my father made me all the more wary of him.
Happy guy was not to be deterred though. He ambled over to me and smiled, "How are you doing young lady?"
Never let it be said that my mum didn't teach me to mind my manners. I pasted a saccharine sweet smile onto my face as I piped, "Fine Sir. Good evening Sir."
Just as he opened his mouth to respond, the next vehicle which happened to be a Sienna arrived and I dived in with a sigh of joy. I left him standing outside staring at the empty space where I had been standing just few minutes ago. I peered out at him with smug satisfaction pleased with my avoidance skills. I had also taken care to choose the seat at the very back of the Sienna. It was rather close quarters and I honestly didn't think Happy Guy was going my way; but one can never be too safe right? I was prepared to suffer the lack of windows all the way home too.
My phone beeped the arrival of an SMS and I gleefully dug it out of my bag, eager as always to read an SMS.
While I was distracted, someone inelegantly wriggled onto the seat beside me, moaning about the close quarters and his long legs. Two things hit me simultaneously: the STENCH of 'ogogoro' (dry gin) and the putrid smell of sweat.
I gasped as I looked up.
It was happy guy!
Suddenly his inexplicable cheerfulness made sense: he was drunk as a wheelbarrow!!!
I'll say this for myself; I steadfastly refused to wrinkle my nose in distaste at the paralysing odor of the cheap brew. I politely stared straight ahead even though my olfactory glands were threatening to flatline.
The smell of the alcohol seemed to be coming from his pores AND clothes as though he had bathed in the stuff. Or so I thought until he opened his mouth: this time, the emanating smell of alcohol was so strong it promptly took me from mere discomfort to sheer olfactory torture.
"Now we can talk all the way home," he assured me with a happy grin. " What's that on your wristband?"
I managed to gasp the words written on my band, "Supernatural expansion."
And then I promptly began to think, my thoughts whirling furiously as I tried to come up with an escape route.
Quick as a flash, it hit me. I grabbed my phone and called the one friend I knew could always be counted on to provide an escape path. Everyone needs one of those.
He picked on the first ring, thank the stars, and in his usual manner, he said, "Fine girl, how far?"
"Okay are you at Berger?" I screamed like a market woman. My voice was so loud a few passengers winced. I didn't care. I wanted the message to penetrate the drunken haze of the guy beside me. I was getting off that Sienna one way or the other.
"Of course not, I'm at home," my friend was saying.
I overrode him with an overly bright, " Okay, just park. I'm coming out of the Sienna now."
I hung up immediately and almost fell over in my haste to exit the Sienna. My drunk friend was still staring in amazement at yet another empty space.
I stood by the road, looking with focus and comical intent at all oncoming cars as though I were waiting for my imaginary friend. I stayed there until the Sienna pulled away with the happy drunk.
What can I say? A splitting headache was bad enough; I didn't need a flattened pair of nostrils to add to my woes. 😙😙😙
Don't get me wrong, I'm the last person to judge a man for drowning his woes; I mean the present economy HAS driven men of sterner stuff to drink! But at the same time, I'm not inclined to inflict suffering on myself either; and that's what seating beside happy guy and his oozing all the way home would have been. No one attained sainthood from unecessary masochism.
The morale of the story? Drink if you must but once you can't find your mouth with the bottle again, that might be a good time to stop.
Learn the lesson and share the story