Me (drinking Macs Ginger Beer), with Michael and Steve Whittaker
The night before last, a bunch of us went out. For the third time this week. We ended up at Longroom on Ponsonby Road. If you haven't been there, imagine a long, semi-upmarket bar filled with tanned, 30/40-something year old Ponsonby businessmen and tanned, 18/30-something year old blonde girls searching for the former. That's a very sexist statement, but I'm sure it's the truth. Anyway, it's always packed. And always packed with excited people. It's a nice change from the cultivated nonchalance of most DOC-goers. There's nothing like a bar filled with hipsters to suck the fun right out of your night.
I'm a non-drinker. (For the record, I have drunk alcohol before.) It has its advantages - no hangovers, a happier bank balance and I can drive myself home at the end of the night. I'm pretty good at the whole non-drinking thing - my energy levels don't get depleted too easily and I'm more than happy to sing karaoke sober. But I'm not going to lie to you, drunk people often seem like they're having a way better time than me. It could be a grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side thing, but they do look like they're loving life and having adventures that I can only envy from the sober outskirts.
So there we were at Longroom. Sometime after midnight, the shots began. My friends had an unquenchable thirst for Agavero. Here's how it usually goes down. Somebody will suggest shots and everyone will cheer. I'll join in the high fives but sigh into my bottle of Bundaberg or Schweppes or Macs (depending on how I'm feeling). One of my sighs must have been all too apparent, because my friend Marc had an idea. While eight shots of Agavero were being lined up on the bar ($84 damage in case you were wondering), he pointed at me and mentioned something to Tom, the friendly bartender. Tom nodded and called me over.
He placed a ninth shot glass on the bar. "Oh, thanks man, but I don't drink," I told him. "Don't worry mate," he said to me, "I know how it is." Curious, I watched as he poured half a shot of soda water. Then came a lemon and lime - the full juice of both was squeezed into the glass. Then Tobasco sauce - five drops. And a chaser - a lime quarter dipped in sugar. The cheering started again and we all took our shots. Mine was a little sweet, a little sour and a lot spicy.
I had six more that night. And it was one of the best nights out I've had in ages. Sometimes all it takes is joining in the frivolity.
Special thanks to Tom for taking six times as long to make my cheap non-alcoholic shots as it did to pour the expensive rest.
In the interests of public safety, if you're planning a night out on the non-alcoholic shots, perhaps limit yourself to three or four. You'll find the next morning they're the equivalent of eating about 17 Indian curries.
I LIKE YOU!