Sunday, October 10, 2010

Why I Now Drink Cider

Most universities (and some high schools, I know) have a tradition of locking their students in a room with a great deal of alcohol and allowing them to get drunk, content in the knowledge that they are in a safe place, have a sober ride home, and people to watch over them. In the dorms where I lived during university, it was called a “Brewery Tour” and was a greatly anticipated event. We had some sort of alcohol themed event every few weekends but Free Beer Night was just that – free beer. Are there any sweeter words to broke college students?

The tour was hosted by Moosehead, a local brewery, and involved our House heading across the bridge in a school bus and being locked in a room with a bartender and all the Moosehead we could consume in three hours. It was on that occasion that one of the more embarrassing events from my university days occurred. And those of you who knew me back then (or now for that matter) can certainly understand that embarrassing events involving alcohol were plentiful in those days.

The following is my recollection of those events…

First some background: the brewery that footed the bill for this annual bacchanal is famous for a beer with a green label and, at least in those days, it was common to go to the bar and simply ask for “a bottle of Green.” Being a “snooty Upper Canadian” from Toronto, I instead preferred a nice cold bottle of Labatt’s Blue. Although it is considered good form to drink the local brew when travelling, ordering “a bottle of Blue” was always my own private rebellion.

The night of the Brewery Tour, I had enjoyed several bottles of Green when I, in a beer induced haze, decided to grab the next round for my table. To this day, I remember walking up to the bar and consciously thinking I would ask for “a bottle of Green” rather than simply asking for a Moosehead like a normal drunk person.

You know those moments when an entire room goes unexpectedly silent and only your voice can be heard?

“Ask for green. Ask for green. Ask for green.” The words kept swimming through my mind on waves of free beer. “I’ll take three Blues, please.” Even as the words came out of my mouth, I knew they were wrong but I was incapable of taking them back or correcting them midbreath.

I never knew what the saying “deafening silence” meant until that moment and it was horrible. For several seconds, the din of the room had died and even the music seemed to have screeched to a halt. People behind me whispered in loud drunken tones if they had actually heard me correctly.

The bartender stared at me; the indulgent smirk that had been present for most of the evening was gone. I had just dissed his employers – my free beer benefactors - in the worst possible way. All around me, people fell into one of two categories: drunken outrage at my faux pas, or drunken mirth at my folly. It was awful.

The remainder of the evening consisted of me trying to get someone to remove the invisible spotlight I felt pounding directly into my eyes. “I meant to say green!” I tried to explain to anyone who would listen. “GREEN!!!”

Those friends who weren’t on the floor laughing uproariously at me kept asking me to identify different colours in the room. “What colour are my jeans? Very good. Now what colour is the beer?”

By the next day, the incident had become legend throughout Residence Hall. Mocking Blue Girl had evidently been made an official sport while I slept and everyone was eager to play.

The whole incident came to a head several months later, long after I thought my humiliation had been forgotten. By then, I had participated in a House Free Beer Party where I chugged at least one (or two) straight bottles in our House President’s room to offset the number of free beers I had been swiping for my friends hiding in my room. I had served flaming Sambukas during a Room Crawl, and provided my world famous “’Caper Water” to more than my fair share of drunken friends during the wee hours of the morning. I had made amends for my sins – or so I thought.

During the last week of classes, each House hosted an awards dinner. It was a way to avoid the usual cafeteria food; the various House League teams were given prizes, and the old Presidents could make speeches that everyone would ignore. Although I always joined interleague teams in September with the best of intentions, I was never that good at remembering to attend games so I knew I wasn’t about to win any MVP prizes.

“Next up, we have the award for House Beer Rep,” the outgoing president announced. In theory, the Beer Rep was the liaison between Moosehead and the House. “This year’s Beer Rep is Typ0!!” I was shocked, embarrassed, and giddy with pleasure as my friends and Housemates applauded and laughed at the announcement. The gag award was the cherry on my Blue/Green moment of drunkenness months before.

The Beer Rep award was a wonderful way to end my years of living in residence. I would not be returning in the fall as my friends and I had already secured a house not far from campus for the new school year. Best of all, I had learned my lesson: always order the local beer and when in doubt get someone else to order.


sprinkles said...

LOL! My drunken stories usually involve me removing waaaaay too much clothing.

I'm getting ready to attend a university near here in the new year, I hope they have free beer nights too.

Anonymous said...

Glad you got an award...I think.
A house off campus?

MaricrisG said...

I thought I'll never drink beer again after a very bad experience with it when I was younger but with hubby's great taste for beer, I re-attempted and found that I love Pale ale! It's cool that you did the tour. I bet it was fun!

Lydia said...

You'd like this song, 'Johnny Jump Up' by Gaelic Storm!