Huge thanks to GMR for contributing to the core of this one. He is the opposite of a bad buddy.
There are few tragedies greater than the those which occur under the cloud pocked skin of the summer sky in British summertime. Luminous-as-bone bodies, most recently shielded from the elements under cotton, nylon or wool, with only the smallest of areas of pearlescent pelt allowed to peep out suddenly are all on display. Legs, arms, shoulders, backs; all decorum is lost when the sun has got his hat on. It’s 24 degrees folks, it is not the Cote D’Azure. In the days that follow the first emergence of that big yellow thing we are so ill-prepared to exist under, luminosity is still the problem, but now it is the luminosity of your fluro sunburn and casual disregard for potential melanoma. Beer bellies with a rainbow of red arching over the projected curve; runways of white bisect the rouged shoulders of the girl who will embark on a summer long project to fill those strap strips in; the reverse panda eyes of the shame and red faced Dads who have fallen asleep in the park with sunnies on.
While we are chasing the sun, the greatest tragedy however is the brevity of the friendships you make as you wile away the hours in the dappled light of a Sunday afternoon. A BBQ, a picnic, a beer garden; it’s a reunion of sorts as every summer you relive the groundhog day of this friendship. You embrace Beer as a old friend, quickly reprioritising Beer as your new best friend. You can do anything together, you and your buddy beverage. Beer is the kind of friend that makes you feel better, more confident and reassures you that even if you just have that one more, you’ll still be fine. Witty, hilarious, practical joker, strategical planner (in terms of bathroom breaks:beer ratio); you’re a superhero of a kind for the strip of afternoon which defines your friendship. Later you will come away heartbroken once the morning after arrives and you awake to the discovery that Beer is the worst friend you’ve ever had.
Instead of the warm, amiable character you enjoyed your time with the previous day, you awake to discover that Beer has another, darker side to it. Beer is not interested in your pleasure but ultimately, only your pain. Beer is the cause of the dry mouth, the feeling that your eyes and teeth don’t quite belong in your head. The reason behind the disproportionate way that your body subtly refuses to obey your simple commands, promising action but lagging behind in the delivery. The cause of the bouncing in your head, which began with yesterday’s indulgence at Beer’s insistence but now might as well be Beer physically represented in steel capped military boots, kicking you in the head with unnerving accuracy in the same place, every time. To round this all off there is slight dizziness. Presumably caused by the aforementioned boot.
You’ll build your bridges back up, of course, and put it all behind you; water under the hopps so to speak, willing yourself to forget the pain Beer has caused you. Ultimately you’ll blame yourself, ‘no, no, it wasn’t anyone’s fault…I should have known better’, and you will forget – until the next morning-after-the-night-before – that Beer comes from the wrong side of the tracks, is as much of a bad influence as your mother warned you, is part of a gang of bully beverages! Be wary with your friendships this summer, folks. Heed the warnings: do ‘Drink Responsibly’. Do consume with caution as Beer is a bad friend.