The other Saturday afternoon had one of those seven-hour EPL football marathons between 3pm and end shortly after 10pm. The trick to a peaceful football outing (without getting into wars with the ‘Carols’ next door) is quite simple.
Read the newspapers at sunrise, so that by the time ‘watu’ wake up for breakfast, they have your full attention. Learn to watch a movie mid-morning pamoja, Saturday (odd, I know – like going to a movie theatre alone on a Tuesday afternoon!), have lunch, and leave only after 2pm – with vows to be back before midnight.
Anyway, in the course of watching the footer-thon at a large nearby ‘local,’ I got insights into a dozen kinds of consumers of alcohol. See if you can place yourself.
There are the alcoholics who have made the pub their second home. Then there are beggars of beer, mostly broke, long term ‘customers’ – except they buy little to no booze. They are experts at the LOUD greeting, and most are master raconteurs, telling silly funny stories as alcohol flows – then vanishing forever to the ‘toilet’ (next table).
Then there are the company people you will find in pubs, of course more often in December than at any other time of year. These are colleagues who hang out together, often extending office alliances and gossip right into the pub – and very dull for an outsider to hang out with because you do not know, or care, about ‘nasty Nancy’ from HR or ‘wily Willie’ from IT.
The Diehard patrons of a local bar or regular hangout act as if they are shareholders – which in a sense, they are. You cannot sit at ‘their spot.’ And the bills they have at that local are like recurrent expenditure. For them, draughts of beer are acquired on rolling credit like bank overdrafts to a business. And ‘Management’ is always on their side.
Then there are the End Month Splurgers, like the Saturday I was there last weekend.
‘Tony, come sit here I buy you vodka till you throw up!’
Excuse me, monsieur, but I’m not exactly some alcohol anorexic.
These ones burn the money in the pocket, then ‘chop’ some more off their credit card ni ka wako na money msumeno! Spend on liquor pleasure, then in January, regret at your leisure.
Of course there are football fanatics at the pub. We, err, they want that Manchester Derby played at the loudest possible volume ‘ndio tuskie ni kama tumeketi huko Old Trafford …’
Add to this the latter day footie gamblers hooked on ‘Bet In,’ and you have a volatile cocktail.
Other customers are just there to flee from the wife, and run away from responsibilities of life. Once in a while, as I did, you will find the drunk who is a drunk because the wife left him.
“I used to go home at 9am weekends from the bar after drinking all night,” Matthew told me. “These days, weekends, I drink all day and I am home by 9pm to black out in an empty house.”
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This one may be on his way to becoming a post-midnight intellectual cum philosopher. You know the ‘deep’ drunk who pulls you close by the neck to spew wisdom in your face – but all they are doing is slurring as they spray you with breath of kachumbari and onions?
Then of course there are the omnipresent members of #TeamMafisi, out on the prowl to see what pickings (of the female kind) can be found at the pub – like ravenous felines patrolling a nyama choma table, waiting to see what juicy morsels may fall their way.
Flip it around, and bars these days have modern-day harlots posing as normal girls out for a drink, and mchele never quite goes.
Other people with ulterior motives are those oldish men who come to watch news in bars.
And whoever introduced pool tables in pubs in the late ‘90s really did many youth a disservice.
Because, you see, pool is a way of making a fool think he’s doing something cool (like leaning over a table to squint your eyes and shoot with your cue-stick), when in reality you are doing absolutely zero.