Reflections

On Beer and Love

By Timothy Bamwita, Uganda:

There are two very obvious sides of a coin- head and tail; but there is the neglected third – the edge, so to speak. It could be rugged or smooth depending on the denomination and mostly the authors of the fiduciary issue but undoubtedly less vital. It is the same with Life. There is the good, bad and ugly; of which the ugly is hardly dispensed but when it is, adds odd fixations to character. Only just lately, I met up with a colleague, whose business it is to make Friday evenings legendary- as they say. It is said some memories are better off lost – for their own good; keeping them only triggers occasional awe and lingering residual recollections that ought to be left to lodge in Diaspora. Forgive my indiscretion but damn it! I beg to differ from that principle.

Rui, a colleague of Latin origin once summoned me for a chat in an unfamiliar and not-so-decent bar. Basing on the ethical work standard of following seniority and taking immediate action once beckoned, I followed suit. While there, I met him seated at a booth with a click of unappealing ominous females chitchatting away like they were somewhat old friends. I figured he summoned me to be his intermediary and translator within the first five minutes of observing the “short wave-like” communiqué between them. As I drank down my Carlsberg, my mind was lost in thought about my next pay cheque. I was indeed more bored than concerned. But something peculiar happened. The DJ switched to hip-hop with Petey Pablo's “Me and my bottle” to which Rui perfectly sang in clear audible English despite his normal handicap at the Queen's language. I wiped the froth of beer off my mouth and gave him a stunning look. I was impressed. These particular lyrics of the song drove me to gracing him with a unique version of how similar beer and love are (with a concealed motive of frustrating the harlots beside him). Rui and his crew were all ears.

I said: I like to liken a fine woman (of course whose palpable beauty is evident in both her upper and lower loins) to a nice and fresh ice cold Carlsberg before me. I care less if many frown at this. In fact, to make it more comprehensible to many whose vow is never to taste anything “ethanoic”- for reasons best known to them; it is a classic refreshing, thirst quenching and reflective moment that gets your wits blown away into a necessary quick hype. Many can absolutely attest to this. That's how I equally and can almost perfectly describe the start of a good intimate relationship. Every sip and second that ticks away plainly chains joy. And the ones that follow have quite a similar enthralling effect till they get you tipsy; where everything is remarkably funny and likeable. This is very typical of the many niceties and pleasantries usually affixed to new and blossoming intimacy with the fairer sex. Someone should be hi-fiving at this already, I added. I noticed a coy look one lady gave him as the rest seemed not to approve of my statements, leaving my palm floating in space alone. I was sure they didn't understand as much since English wasn't their preference. I bet they preferred to use flirtatious innuendo – knowing sex is a universal language.

As the night grows older, so does the beer effect; to a mental state where a lot gets eccentrically hilarious. Amused by everything around you; you get open minded to crazy ideas like driving to another part of town, pointlessly playing time keeper as you call absentee friends, being unusually sociable and sharing light moments with random strangers or better then, buying strangers whatever poison they deem essential. At this point, most stories told and shared are equally comical.

To make more sense, let me flip the coin to its other side of love. This is still characteristic of growing romance filled with public display of affection (PDA), formal introductions to friends, promises of possible betrothals to the smitten and all the many fantasies that linger on your mind.

But at the point when your mind gets dazzled into drunken oblivion is when you ought to realize you're “almost wasted” and your judgment impaired. For most people, it's the level where a slight argument intensifies into an unnecessary terrible fight. This is when my advice squarely fits in; don't subject your body to physical humiliation but get your car keys, ignite your engine and what is left of your usual fair judgment can safely lead you home. Similarly for a relationship that seems to have taken an evil twist on its authors; it is at this point that despair should be stashed in the din and both victims take a permanent vacation from the relationship to save the tiny thread of friendship left, lest reincarnation of the devil sets in.

The very last phase is always devastating: A level where you're frail, staggering your way out of the bar. It is not advisable for colleagues and any fairly sober onlooker to catch a glimpse of you in such a deplorable state. The climax of it all is when you literally beat yourself up- clearly physically incapacitated and with a noticeable mental limitation for you to even start up a levelheaded dialogue. A relationship at this point is one where seeking counseling is a waste of time and money: suffice to say agony and anger rule its victims – and a probable crime of passion is an evident variable; the peak to a fruitless or failed relationship.

To this end, I managed to cajole Rui into thinking that the random strangers weren't worth his type after all; noticing the rude manner in which they walked away intoning insults on curtailing their plans of relieving him of his hard earned mzungu money. They weren't surely the likeable type anyway. The ones that get to look like princesses after one-too-many but get you thinking otherwise (Like – damn it, my beer lied to me) the next morning. In a rather subtle tone, he said – you're my right hand man. All I extended was an inarticulate “uhm” that resonated from my beer mug in pretentious approval.

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