I've just come back from an evening of semi-debauchery with The Hobo. I had to do it. After all, I have to knock this ridiculous habit of 'weekly working and straight to bed providing I drink myself unconscious at the weekend' mindset. (The key is to not drink yourself unconscious during the week - half way through tonight I bought an overpriced Coca Cola.)
It was All Hallows' Eve and a few American students were wandering about in daft costumes and good cheer which kinda made me think they were on a hiding to nothing as no-one gives a toss about Hallowe'en here, but I digress.
The Hobo had an Epiphany tonight. I've heard about them before. Those glorious states where everything seems to make sense after a defining moment. Hobo's was to smoke crack* after 11 years off the pipe. I told him not to do it but he seemed determined, citing a belief that it would help him write Crack And Ruin, a sizzling rollercoaster of a novel about a schmuck on drugs. I took a libertine view eventually, after my initial pleas of common sense fell on deaf ears. I helped him toot away, witnessing the madness congeal in his eyes, but stopping when he thrust his money at me to buy more rocks.
'No', I said. 'I cannot stop you as an adult, but I won't assist you as an addict.'
I thought that very profound.
Some time later, as we found ourselves in another bar once the calming effect of class A's left his system, The Hobo took it upon himself to confiscate my cigarettes. I thought this very unfair. After all, I had empathized with his addiction, why couldn't he empathize with mine?
We talked. We debated. We pissed each other off. Just because he had seen the light, that's no reason to force it upon me when still in darkness. Nevertheless, his reasoning was sound. I'm 32. I'd like to be a miserable father one day. A lovely wife and good job would really seal the deal. And in this fantasy world of potential real-life, I wouldn't want to be a hopeless smoker either. And so I must learn to drink with moderation and smoke never again.
If I can couple that with not eating rubbish food plus exercising like a banshee, I'm made for life. Technically.
On the sex side, I remembered why I'm resolutely single. Early on, in a snug bar near Trafalgar Square, two women of indeterminate Eastern European origin sat near us. The Hobo had just been "Eye-Fucked" (his words) by some other ladies in the bar, and my recent conversation of wanting to Put It About was still ringing in my ears. Yet I couldn't put anything about. I was happy talking shit with a hopeless maniac. I didn't want to ruin a beautiful evening by potentially annoying two women and getting into a stilted conversation. After all, two lone men + two lone women sitting next to each other doesn't necessarily = Must-Have Conversation.
If my future love life depends on meeting women in bars, I'll have to stock up on a job lot of Kleenex instead. I honestly don't know how Girl manages it. I think I'll have to evaluate my role models - and give up fags while I'm at it.
Damn and fucking nadulas. Taking control of your adult life sucks.
But on a lighter note, I got the last tube home with a gang of American teenagers still dressed up for Hallowe'en. For some reason, I felt empowered, as if I held fate itself in my hands (but clearly not my own). I overheard one of the girls complain that British guys never buy women drinks, so I knelt down and butted in to beg to differ, charitably pointing out the young Englishman behind me, covered in fake blood.
'I'm sure he'll get you some drinks', I said.
'No I won't', slurred the teenager opening his empty wallet. 'I'm all out'.
Why bother. Always the matchmaker, never the, erm... match.
Christ, I want a cigarette.
(*Could've been crack, may've been fruit machines.)