Rhodes balls were an exciting opportunity to dress up, see all the other bright young things, and get shit-faced in formal clothes.
Complimentary Winston cigarettes on every table ( the Surgeon General’s Warning was years away), free Overmeer box wine, which was somewhere up the food chain from ZimSoc wine, which would have you stripping paint if you licked a wall. Overmeer was drunk by crusty art students at Grey Dam, which is all you need to know about it, really.
Lee, for some misguided reason in the skewed hamster wheel of her female mind, was passingly keen on me on me in first year. She invited me to the Drostdy Hall Ball. I liked her, but not in that way, but dutifully I arrived at her Res on the night to escort her. Lee came down, looking winsome in a satin blue dress. We arrived and sat down in the Great Hall, which was done up in some ham-fisted Andrew Lloyd-one-thought-of-him-and-instant-erectile-dysfunction-Webber theme. We chit chatted enjoyably for some time. As I’d blown my week’s allowance on cigarettes and Kaif burgers, I got stuck into the free box wine. Some time passed, then… I remember nothing.
Darkness and Polaroids
All went black. I must have left the ball early, as I have one or two blurry mental polaroids of evidence from the rest of the evening. Exhibit A: A shifting forest of peoples’ legs. Exhibit B: Looking down and seeing my feet lurching down the centre line of a tarred road. Exhibit C: Stairs and a few sickening thuds. Exhibit D: more blackness.
Take This Cup from Me Lord
I woke up in my clothes, opened my eyelids with a screech like peeling flypaper, and prayed to the God that delivered the Isrealites from Egypt, and comforted Daniel in the lions’ den, to take this anvil of a hangover from me.
”Lee’s going to fucking kill me!” was my first gibbering, terrified thought. So, like a man, I hid in my res room. My neighbour, Sausage, slid slices of res hall bread under my door from time to time. This furtive Anne Frank existence went on for some days. Until Lee came and found me.
“Get Out of Jail Free” Card
“Tim, about the ball…” She said. “Yes….?” I squeaked in terror, from under my duvet. “I hope you had a good time” she sighed. She went on, “I’m, so so sorry, but I had to leave at by nine. I’m sorry I didn’t say goodbye, but I was really drunk. Kate took me home.” “Uh….huh…?” I said, peeking out from my duvet, like a prairie dog peering out from a man-hole. “Yeah. You looked okay when I left though.” She admitted. “You and Richard were playing coinage with the box wine, as I recall.” She blushed, and turned to leave. I sat up perplexed, scratched my head, and stared at the door as she closed it behind her.