It happened Thursday night because Bri’s brother was arriving late, so Drew and I, being gentlemen in the aid of his pregnant wife, stayed up to see lil bro got here safely, found a room to sleep in, maybe scored a morsel of food to hold him over until breakfast. And, if you are going to stay up playing backgammon to kill time, you might as well have a beer beside the board. And, if one beer tastes good, eases the burden of the wait, then a second . . . a fourth . . . And, after he’s gone to bed, cradled in safety and comfort behind locked doors, it’d be apathetic not crack open that sixth or seventh to make sure he’s not up again in need of something. We only wanted to be responsible, to help a pregnant lady welcome her brother from out-of-town.
It happened Friday night because it was Katie’s last night and because Bryant came up to see her off, so I couldn’t very well not play host to my old friend (Bryant) who’d ventured up the hill to have dinner with us, let alone neglect the departure of someone (Katie) I’ve known for a good three weeks, whose put in some good months of work at the school, and fancies herself preserver of the 90 proof Irish bloodline. And, if the guitar is slightly out of tune, even to a drunkard’s ear, then you might as well as have a beer within arm’s reach, something to quell the off-key ringing. And, if the guitar keeps making the rounds, then you can’t very well walk out on someone’s song, and how are you going to do that without a little pull of something nice.
On Saturday, a rare thing happened in that, as a collective, without conference, we all seemed to take the night off, at least light, subdued our thirsts with cups of tea as we lumbered off to bed before nine, shrugging at the fact of a Saturday, that usually it can happen simply because it is a Saturday. And, when it doesn’t happen, something feels askew, the hostel work more like work, with the deadened drone of tasks done clear-headedly. And, not to excuse a night off, but we don’t need a Saturday because we aren’t normal people: We are encouraged, behooved even, to drink on the job, such that, when we do, others will, and when others do, business is good. Taking a Saturday off seemed to kill the party for everyone else, as if we needed the added temptation.
It started again Sunday, mostly, I think, because it hadn’t on Saturday, but then it went down easy like we remembered, and despite Heather’s vow of three-day sobriety, she “only had a little wine”; and when the basketball game was on, Emma didn’t want to ignore the occasion; and when Louis and Kerry (the new guys on staff) realized they were failing in their duty, the sense of obligation equated to “gin-in-a-mug”, and I had already started around four in the afternoon, a beer and a smoke, a sort of ritualistic build-up before going into the kitchen to prepare dinner for our vacationing guests, enjoying “long” weekends, romantic getaways, and benders abroad. And, while you cook, you might as well have a libation beside the pot.
At Earth Lodge, the call to happy hour happens at five, and if you haven’t caved by then, the announcement seems to trigger an internal alarm that . . . that you haven’t caved yet, that surely something must be done about that, perhaps before the guests clatter around the bar for drink specials which still pale in comparison to the staff discount you live with daily, hourly, from breakfast to breakfast. Sometimes, I question such an existence, wonder if life should consist of more, if more should consist of . . . and that’s where I get to. Most of the world works five days a week to get to Saturday to blow off steam, so they can recover on Sunday before they do it again. This past Saturday, I took a break . . . from “blowing off steam”.
This blog occurs once a week, the entries being thematically mixed between expat life in Guatemala and life as an NGO groupie. The photos for this blog, website, and my life are all provided by my beautiful wife Emma.