Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Drunk Tom

A couple of weeks ago I noticed a new guy in our hostel, it was around midday, I was just having breakfast, he was just having a couple of beers. I didn't think much of it, people do that sort of thing in hostels, though it's a little dangerous in Argentina as you often don't stop drinking until the next day. Later we met and he turned out to be a nice young American thinking about getting a flat in Buenos Aires. That evening I came back to find that he was still drinking, though holding it together quite well, just going a little slow, though later he lost the ability to string a sentence together, and later still made a female friend of mine a little uncomfortable.
The next day I went down for breakfast at about the same time to find the same scene, Tom drank a couple of beers while I was eating my breakfast. This is when I first started to suspect that there might be a problem. Things continued in this vein for a week until one day he came to our room saying that he had to leave as there were no spare beds, I went down to reception as I hadn't booked a bed in advance either. The receptionists gave me a bed on condition that I didn't tell Tom. Apparently Tom was being subtly chucked out of the hostel for breaking some stuff and attempting to punch someone, I'd only ever seen him as a peaceful drunk. After he'd gone I felt a bit guilty that I didn't try to offer him any help. But not that guilty, he returned to the bar one evening and I remembered how awkward things could get.
Skip ahead to yesterday evening, I and four friends were eating at a restaurant a couple of blocks from our hostel when Tom walks in. Slowly. He comes over to our table and attempts a conversation but we couldn't really make out what he wanted to say apart from "should I leave?" and "should I eat here?" We weren't really sure of the answers to these questions. Eventually he sat by himself at another table and the waiter came over to apologise, I told him not to worry, we knew him. During our meal Tom repeatedly tried to engage in conversation, in vein, once apologising, for what we weren't sure. After a while he started to pace a couple of times and the waiter came over and told me that he needed to go to the loo but couldn't make it on his own, the toilets being down a spiral staircase. I got up to help him, but as I got up I could see that I was too late and sat down again. Tom got up leaving his books and jacket and left the restaurant. The waiter wanted us to pay for his bottle of wine. We refused.
This morning I went to find Tom to tell him where his stuff was and offer him help. He didn't take me up on the help, though I'm not sure what I could do. He told me that it's happened a couple of times, he's been half way through a book and lost it. I wondered if he really thought the book had caused him to lose his temper. It took two people to explain to me that he meant he'd lost the book and not lost his temper.
So that's my (attempted) good dead for the day, now where are some kittens I can kill?

In other news Jordi is famous after appearing on TV at a competition to see who can do the most convincing rolly-polly. She appears at 1:25 here.

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