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Saturday, September 25

On Carrying A Girl Home

Fuck it, I'm giving up my efforts to recant everything that's happened in the last 2 weeks. There's simply been too much of it, and I tend to go into such detail that every post ends up being epic. It will take me forever to catch up on everything, so I hereby grant myself the option to ignore it all.

What does need writing up, however, is the tale of last night, if only because it was so very, very out of the ordinary. Well, when I say out of the ordinary, I really mean that it was a pretty standard night out until a certain point, upon which it became so very different from a normal night.

And so I begin.

The evening started quite early for me, because my class at the German Language course I'm on had arranged to see a German film called 'Der Untergang'. It's about the last few days in Berlin at the end of WWII, and centres on Hitler's bunker in the city. I'd actually gone to see the film last Saturday, but it was one of those films that you're quite prepared to see more than once, even in a week. Plus I hadn't understood all of the dialogue, since my German is still pretty appalling.

The film started just after 5, and ended sometime around 8, after which we trooped to a pub just round the corner for a drink or two. Unfortunately, my main group of friends had already started drinking at the happy hour in an Irish pub we know, and were on the way to another Irish pub for cocktail night and a pub quiz. I didn't want to abandon my classmates too soon, because I don't know them brilliantly as it is, but I also didn't want to miss out on some drunken hilarity.

On top of that, I'd told my friends that I was the daddy at pub quizzes, which I needed to demonstrate as soon as possible, in order to spare my ego from a battering. I stayed with my classmates for just the one drink (German black beer is the best stuff ever: it tastes like charcoal somewhat) before heading off to The Dubliner.

The quiz had already started by the time I got there, but I joined in with my friends, corrected a few answers they'd already written down, and helped them out with the rest of the quiz. Oh, and I partook of a cocktail or two. Hell, if it's going to be Buy One Get One Free, of course I'm going to have a couple.

We ended up finishing 2nd in the quiz, which is a mighty fine achievement. I personally take responsibility for at least 13 of our total of 26 points. Ahem.

2nd prize was, quite fantastically, a 40 Euro cash prize. We thought about dividing it between the 6 of us that did the quiz, but then I came up with the novel concept of spending it on booze.

Specifically, on a 4 litre jug of Long Island Iced Tea at a bar called iPunkt we know and love. Yes, a 4 LITRE jug of the strongest cocktail around. It costs 40 Euro exactly, and it blows you away.

The previous Monday (Christ, it seems like so long ago!) 4 of the guys had drank 2 jugs between us, which amounts, for the less mathematically inclined amongst you, to 2 litres each. This was after a good few beers in another pub, and resulted in some quite hilarious drunken dancing and all-round lairiness.

And so the consensus once more led to us arriving in iPunkt, going straight to the bar and ordering but one jug of cocktail for the whole group. It then became a bit of a race to drink as much of it as possible before the jug emptied. Being a guy, I had a natural advantage over the girls in the group, which I was not shy about utilising. There are sometimes plus points to being a bloke.

I was not, however, all that drunk. For once, my drunkenness is not the central feature of the story. There was another, more drunk than I. I shall call her J, since that is the first letter of her name.

J has been in our group of friends since the first day here in Heidelberg, but recently has become a little tiresome, sometimes leaning into annoying. She's American, is only 19, and questions absolutely everything.

And I mean EVERYTHING. Even rhetorically, when something has been done, she'll question why you didn't do it in a different way, which "would have been better". One particular instance springs to mind: We all had a big barbeque one Sunday, and one of the group took it upon himself to go make a load of sauteed potatoes in the kitchen while we fired up the barbeque.

He came out a little while later with two big frying pans full of food, but we only had room on our makeshift table for one. Obviously, we just tipped one pan's contents into the other. He was halfway through doing this when J pointed out that we pouring out of the slightly larger pan and into the slightly smaller pan. The difference must have been around 2cm diameter-wise, and it made no difference whatsoever to the pan's ability to contain all of the potatoes. No difference whatsoever.

J wittered on for about 2 minutes about how it "would have been better" if we'd poured into the bigger pan, even though we repeatedly pointed out that they fitted perfectly in the slightly smaller one. "Yeah, but they would have fit better in the other one," came the reply.

Another friend was getting quite exasperated at this point, and told her that they fitted in the smaller one quite nicely, and that at any point it didn't matter, because they were now in the smaller one, and people were already taking some out onto their own plates. "Yeah, but it would have been better in the bigger one," she said for what seemed like the 50th time. I think Jamie came close to throttling her, I really do.

That is but one example from over 2 weeks of her company. Something of this ilk tends to happen about once an hour, sometimes more often, but I still think she doesn't realise quite how much she annoys us. Everyone else in the group recognises it, and we talk about it when she's not there (yes, shame on us for being gossips), even sometimes when she is around.

Oh, and she's also an unbelievable cheapskate, but has the audacity to keep rubbing it in our faces that she's getting a shitload of money from the US government every month that she is here, because her family is "poor". She thus has the means to live it up, and certainly to live much better than the rest of us, who still fall into the poor student stereotype. Fair enough, if you don't want to spend money, then don't, but also don't keep repeating the fact that you do have loads of money when the rest of us are scraping by on a small budget.

Saying all of that, though, she is a nice girl. She can just sometimes get more than a little irritating. She also cannot hold her drink, which is the subject of this post tonight.

Usually, it only takes 4 or 5 drinks for her to be pissed, due (I think) to the fact that she hadn't really drank at all back in America, and thus has no resistance to the glorious effects of alcohol. Her annoyance factor increases exponentially when she's pissed and we're all still relatively sober. Her volume also goes up by a vast amount.

Last night, something else was coming out of her mouth: vomit, and lots of it.

As I said, my friends had all started drinking at 6, and by the time I got to them, J was quite pissed and beginning to become unsteady on her feet. I was stone cold sober, what with having only just left the cinema, and the rest of our friends were merely merry or jubilant.

By the time we left The Dubliner and headed for iPunkt, with its promise of huge cocktails, she was very unsteady on her feet, and just wouldn't shut the fuck up. I think her entry to iPunkt was followed approximately 60 seconds later by being sick in the toilets, which continued for the vast majority of the evening.

She came back out, and seemed a bit better. I didn't even know at the time that she had been sick, she seemed that normal. Well, normal for her. We had our huge jug of cocktail (picture soon) on the table, and a random German guy came over to us. It was his stag night, and he asked if he could try some of the cocktail.

I'm never one to refuse such a request, so he grabbed a straw (3 foot long ones, mind you) and took a gulp or two. He then started chatting to J, and got her to dance with him. Incidentally, J has already gathered something of a reputation as being a bit loose with men. It probably sprang from taking home one of the other guys in our group of friends on our first night out. Nice.

She ticked a box on his custom t-shirt, which had a checklist of things to do on his last night of freedom. I think this one was something like "Pick the most drunk girl you can find and get her to dance for you." She was still upright though, and seemed to be having a good time.

I was once more absorbed by the cocktail and the company I was keeping, so didn't notice her disappear again, along with a few of the other girls. It was only about an hour later, whilst chatting with a couple of random German guys, that I noticed a lot of fussing by a few other girls in our group.

It turned out that J had been throwing up in the loos for ages, and that someone had in fact gone so far as to call an ambulance for her. You know you're really drunk when...

I grabbed Jamie (sorry, too many Js) and dashed outside, where we found J and everyone else milling around the recently arrived ambulance. Nobody wanted her to be taken in the ambulance, since it would inevitably involve the police and God knows what else, so me and Jamie grabbed her whilst the paramedics were distracted, and legged it down a side alley with her.

I'm still not 100% sure why that was such a good idea at the time, but I guess it worked out alright in the end. I was still relatively sober, and Jamie wasn't a whole lot worse. J, on the other hand, couldn't physically stand up.

We knew that we had to make it to the taxi rank at the other end of the Old Town, and get her back to her place come hell or high water. Unfortunately, that taxi rank is a good 15 minute walk from our location on a normal day. It took much, much longer than that last night, I can assure you.

J was between myself and Jamie, with an arm round each of our shoulders, and we alternated between a slow, shuffling walk and carrying her. Oh, and stopping for her to be sick from time to time. I was having to say the words "left, right, left, right" for the entire time we were walking, she was that incapable of controlling her limbs. She's a lot shorter than both Jamie and I, which meant we were stooping a fair amount for the whole time. Coupled with stints of carrying her, our backs didn't have the best of times.

We also couldn't walk down the Hauptstrasse (Main St.), because the ambulance was hunting for us, and possibly police too. Hence we ended up on a crappy little side street, the 4 of us (one of the other girls was there too, carrying my and Jamie's coats, since it was such hard work for us to carry J) moving at snail's pace towards the taxi rank. We had no idea where the others had got to, all we knew was that we had to get her home.

Luckily, they were at the taxi rank by the time we got there, but you could see the fear in the taxi driver's eyes as we turned up with an incapable girl hanging from our shoulders. He said he would take us, but that if she was sick in the car it would cost us 50 Euro (I haven't found the Euro sign key yet).

I only had about 20 on me, and Jamie had fuck all, so we had to ask around our group of friends to scrape together the 50 in case we needed it. As it happened, we didn't, but you couldn't have foreseen it either way.

The taxi driver pulled up outside her student halls, and we hauled her out of the car, told the driver to wait, and rooted around her bag for her key. Somehow she managed to tell us her room number, and the key worked in the door. She collapsed onto her bed as soon as we let go of her, face down in the pillow. We rolled her over onto her side, in a rough version of the classic recovery position, before pulling her quilt over her.

No, we didn't undress her. We are gentlemen, after all. I wrote a note telling her to go see one of our friends who lived in the same building as soon as she woke up, and put that on her quilt. I then wrote another note, the first line in German, explaing what had happened to her, and asking one of her corridor-mates to check on her in the morning. We left that one in the corridor by the bathroom, and hoped that someone would be as much of a good samaritan as we had been.

All of this was done in a great hurry, since the meter was still running on the taxi outside, so I can only imagine how bad my handwriting must have been. We legged it back out to the taxi, and headed for home.

Well, when I say "home", I actually mean the bar in the basement of Jamie's building, which is our favourite place in the whole of Heidelberg. It's a student-only bar, is dirt cheap, and would be referred to in an estate agent's advert as "intimate". It's very small and cramped, you see?

Its best feature is that it is open every night until the last person leaves. This can be midnight, or it can be 5am. Fucking brilliant, it is. A few of our friends were already there, so me and Jamie rewarded ourselves for our benevolent natures by getting fairly shitfaced. We didn't arrive there until sometime around 1, and I have no idea when I left.

I assume that I walked home (I live 10 minutes away by foot), because I woke up this morning afternoon in my own bed, but I have absolutely no idea. I don't even remember a couple of my friends being there, and had to be told by them today that they were. Good times. Good, drunken times.

All this led to me missing yet another day of classes, the second this week, and the fourth overall. Not bad out of fifteen potential days... I'm such a crap student.

So there we have it: a night of drunken debauchery, but for once not for me. I was instead the saviour, the good samaritan, the carthorse. Well done me.


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