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Thursday, November 25

Oh. Dear. God.

Well, that was one hell of a Friday night.

Apologies for taking so long to get round to writing about it, but this week has been very, very strange. I've been completely apathetic towards practically everything, and can't seem to find the motivation to get out of bed, let alone go to lectures and do everything else that needs doing. I'll write properly about that after I've done this.

My parents came over to see me last Wednesday, and were here until Sunday afternoon, but once more I'll write about that once I've finished the tale of an epic Friday night. He says.

It all started at around 7 in the evening. I grabbed a couple of friends from my halls and headed to the bus stop to go into town. There was a big table booked at a restaurant / bar in the Old Town, and we had to be there for 7.15. It was a really big deal, since it wasn't just my birthday. It was (rather strangely) also the 21st birthday of a friend of mine, an English girl called Natalie.

Not only are we born on the same day of the same year, but we're both also fanatical Arsenal supporters. She has even had a season ticket for the past few years, the bitch. But she's lovely, so you can't hold it against her. The bitch.

She had a few friends from back home over for a few days, in distinct contrast to my singular lack of mates from England, who couldn't be arsed to spare a few days in their busy schedules to come over for my birthday. It's not even expensive (25 quid return with Ryanair), and it's the easiest thing ever to get to Heidelberg from the airport. Damn them, damn them all.

So anyway, having sorted out the setting of the night's events, I'll crack on with the details. I need to stop going off on tangents.

Once we got on the bus, we met a load of others that I'd invited to come out for the evening. For those of you who have been following closely, the people we'd (me and Natalie) invited to come for dinner and drinks weren't just from our mutual group of friends, the ones I always hang around with. I'd invited the group of English girls that GTIMPBSIITAGTKABB is a part of, even though my usual group of friends aren't their biggest fans. Fuck it, my birthday, I'll invite my friends.

We met this second group on the bus, along with Tim and possibly someone else that I can't remember. They gave me cards and a present, which I decided not to open until we got to the restaurant a little later. The back seat of a bus isn't the best place to be doing that kind of thing.

Unfortunately, we got off the bus a few stops early, because I'd misread a text I'd received earlier detailing the plans for the evening. Hence we ended up at Bismarckplatz rather than Uniplatz. It's an easy mistake, honest! The restaurant, however, was up at the Uniplatz end of town, so we had to walk up the Hauptstrasse for the 546th time that week. I spend a ridiculous amount of time walking along that street.

As we went along, we happened to bump into my Mum and Dad, who were off out to their own restaurant for the evening. I'd told them before they came over that Friday night was my own, to do as I please with without them. Thankfully, they were in full agreement with that, which saved a hell of a lot of hassle. I'd spent all of the afternoon with them, and we'd gone for a nice meal the night before, so it was all good.

By bumping into them, it meant they had to meet a few of my friends, which was decidedly embarrassing. For me, you understand. My parents are great, but I hate them meeting my friends, because you never know what they're going to say. Usually it ends up being quite embarrassing for me. I'll mention what happened when they met GTIMPBSIITAGTKABB the night before in another post.

We eventually got to the restaurant just before 7.30 (only 15 minutes late, not bad), to find most of my usual crowd already there. The restaurant had given us three big tables next to each other, becuase we simply couldn't fit 30 of us around the one table. The middle table was the biggest, and was where all of them were sitting, but the 7 or 8 of us who'd just arrived couldn't all fit around it too.

I grabbed an outside table with all of them, and it ended up with Natalie also sitting on the other outside table when she turned up. I guess it was a little strange that the two people whose birthday it was weren't actually sat at the table with most of our friends, especially since one or two of them had organised the whole thing.

It wasn't that bad, however. I was constantly turning round and chatting with everyone who was there, regardless of what table they were on or who it was. It probably helped that I had a few beers too, just to start things off.

I was a little torn, to be honest. Of course I wanted to sit with everyone, but at the same time I didn't want to outcast anyone. This kind of situation is a little difficult to keep on top of. I think I didn't offend anyone, as far as I know. I always find myself in this situation, trying to be a bridge of sorts between two different groups of friends. It always seems to be just me that's a part of both groups. Meh.

We munched on our dinner (mmm, Flammkuchen) and then some presents came out. I'm a bit worried that two different groups of friends both got me huge beer mugs. Do I have that kind of reputation? Shit. I also got a few comedy presents, as is standard practice in our group. Hence I am now the proud owner of a cycling poncho and a sewing kit. Hurrah!

We paid for the meal (incidentally, I had to pay my way, which I was a little miffed about. Usually the birthday person gets all of their food / drink paid for by everyone else, which amounts to about 1 or 2 euro per person. I think this might be due to the bill being divided over the three tables, which meant I wasn't part of the bill division of my usual friends. Meh) and headed to a pub called Sepp'l, which is my new favourite pub in Heidelberg.

It's an "historic student pub", which means it's been around for years and years. All of the tables are carved with names and dates, and the walls are covered with photos of classes from back in the 20s and sometimes earlier. Of course, an historic student pub in Germany (and especially in Heidelberg) doesn't imply the same thing as in England. Sepp'l is evidently the kind of place where epic late-night debates on the existence of God (etc) took place, all over just the one beer between 7.

That didn't happen on Friday night.

The whole atmosphere of the pub was dominated by the 40 of us (we'd picked up a few stragglers on the way) coming in at the same time. It was admittedly practically empty when we got there, but we literally took it over. We had to get 4 tables, and it got very loud very quickly.

I was on the 1-litre beers straight away, having arrived too late to get one of the 2-litre boot-shaped (Stiefel) glasses. Natalie and her friends had grabbed both of those already, damn them! Never mind, a 1-litre glass is plenty! Once more I ended up on a table away from my usual friends, though I don't know how. I was flitting between tables all the time, chatting with whoever there was a spare chair next to for a few minutes.

Oh, I know what I forgot to mention: photos. I'd bought 2 disposable cameras during the day, and gave one to Jamie to take pictures of whatever he wanted that night. I'd done the same on my 18th, and it was fucking hilarious to see what Steve had found interesting in his drunken stupor whilst I was taking photos with mine. I planned on the same thing happening again, but Jamie put a bit of a dampener on things by deciding not to drink! Never mind, one sober series of photos and one drunk album, that'll do.

I was pissing like a racehorse all evening (when you drink beer, it goes with the territory), and at one point when I got up, Natalie thrust an empty Stiefel into my hand and asked me to get it refilled at the bar. Or so I thought.

When I came back from the loo, the Stiefel, along with its 2-litres of foamy filling, was sitting in front of my place. Shit. I still had nearly a pint left in the 1-litre glass I was working through. This called for some speedy drinking, especially as the pub was heading towards closing time. We cracked open the playing cards I'd been given (oh yeah, another one of my presents was playing cards, due to my fondness for drinking games that require them), and laid out a game of Pyramid.

I got stuck with a 32-second drink at one point, and I promise that I tried my very hardest to drink for the entire length of time. Honestly, I did! The problem was that I was already drunk, and had had a hell of a lot of beer already. Hence I only managed about 25 seconds before having to run to the loo.

No, not to throw up, although I came really, really fucking close, but to empty my bulging bladder. Never has a piss been so satisfying, I swear. I got back to the table, and carried on with my task of finishing the 2 litres in the glass. By this time, the pub was getting very close to leaving, but a few of us were still drinking. The rest left, to go to iPunkt, and we sat around finishing everything off.

We then got the remainder of the bill.

Everyone had paid up before they left, but we got stuck with an 82euro bill for around 50euros worth of drinks. And that was including mine, which I'd thought had been paid for. I couldn't be arsed arguing, so I threw in whatever was needed to make the full amount. I wasn't up for hassle on my birthday, even if it cost me a fair bit of money.

Looking back on it, I spent a fucking fortune that night, getting on towards 70euro. I guess I am a little peeved, considering the previous two birthdays in our group. Then, the birthday boy and girl didn't have to spend a cent.

But whatever, water under the bridge.

I have since found out that one of Natalie's friends from back home did in fact steal one of the Stiefel glasses from Sepp'l. They only have two as it is, so to steal one is very bad form. I'm almost ashamed to go back there again, which is a shame because it's a fantastic pub. What makes it even worse is that the guy put it down an alleyway when they went into iPunkt and then forgot to go get it when he left. A nice find for someone that night, no doubt.

We were thus a bit later leaving Sepp'l than everyone else, and instead of going into iPunkt, we first went into a bar opposite, lured by the promise of cheap vodka shots there. I think I only had one shot, bought by the only other person from King's who is over here. GTIMPBSIITAGTKABB bought me a cocktail, and the three of us sat at the bar for some length of time, talking about fuck knows what.

I wasn't particularly drunk by this stage, although by rights I should have been. I wasn't sober, don't get me wrong, but I wasn't all that drunk. I was merry, let's put it that way.

I must have been at least a little drunk, because I don't really remember the next half-hour. This is just about my only memory gap of the night, an achievement in itself. I think, and have been told, that we wandered over to iPunkt, but were only in there for a matter of minutes before leaving as a massive group and making our way to the bus back to Bar Drei.

Remember Bar Drei? The late-night, ultra-cheap bar in the student village up at my end of town? Guess where we went to!

By this stage I had my antlers on (another present, forgot about that too!), and was jingling with every movement of my head. Thankfully I wasn't the only one with them on, but I must have looked fucking ridiculous. Actually, I know I looked fucking ridiculous, because I've seen some photos of the night already. Never mind, we all wear antlers on a night out at some point, right? Ahem.

I have no idea what time it was that we got to Bar Drei, but I'm guessing it was somewhere around 2-3am. That's the usual time of arrival for us lot. I also have no idea what I was drinking there, but I know enough to know that it got me so very drunk. I may have chatted with people, I may not. I can't be sure, given the lack of memory.

As far as I know, I didn't disgrace myself, which is always a bonus. I like not getting phone calls on a Saturday morning asking "Do you know what you did last night?!" Generally because I can't answer such a question and need to ask what the fuck it was I did last night. Stupid bloody alcohol.

I think I left sometime around 6 or 6.30 in the morning, which isn't bad going. I half-remember this because I walked with Sarah, an Irish friend of mine, back towards my place, around 15 minutes away. She came with me because the tram back to her area of town is practically next door to my building. Oh, and because I'm such great company of course.

No doubt we were both pissed as farts, and I can only imagine the conversation. We have 27 million in-jokes between us already, and are constantly laughing at something whenever we're together. Usually it's something very smutty and rude. But I'm a good boy normally, honest!

By the time we got to the tram stop, she'd missed one, and there wasn't one for another hour or so. Saturday morning public transport in Heidelberg is fucking terrible, and you have to wait for ages if you miss your bus or tram. I've been told since then (by Sarah) that the reason she missed her tram is because I stopped somewhere to have a piss. That 30-second pause caused her to miss the tram, according to her. For shame.

In our drunken state, we decided it was a good idea for her to crash at mine for at least an hour or so, before she caught the next tram down to her place. No, nothing ulterior was planned (she has a boyfriend, who is also a fucking great bloke), just some sleep or drunken unconsciousness. I needed some, I assumed she did too.

I think I may have passed out when we got to my room, but at least I managed to get undressed first. I know this because when I woke up to find her poking me on my arm, I was wearing just my boxers. I'm clever when it comes to deducing facts like that.

She was poking me to wake me up and take her to the tram stop again. She knew exactly where it was (approximately 2 minutes from the door to my halls), but still wanted me to go with her. I think it was just spite! I managed to throw on some jeans, a top and a fleece, and out the door we headed.

It was fucking cold, and I felt absolutely horrible. This may have been because it was only just after 10am, which probably meant I was still drunk. Or at least a combination of drunk and hungover, which is never a good thing. We had time to grab a bottle of juice from the local shop, which I desperately, desperately needed to get down me.

I rememeber sitting on a bench at the tram stop, repeatingly stating just how ill I felt. Sarah was rubbing it in by saying that she never gets hangovers, but it was all in good fun. The bitch. I had a hangover, I had a fucking big hangover. Never have I felt that bad the morning after, I swear.

She hopped on the tram, I went back to my room and collapsed into bed once more, and that was that for my 21st birthday. Just another standard Friday night!

I apologise if this post has been rambling and boring, I can't find the enthusiasm to write with my usual flair and style (ahem). I'll get back on form soon, hopefully!


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