Oxford Street 3am
I had a really long day at work yesterday (the culmination of a long week) and almost instantly fell asleep when I arrived home last night. Consequently, by about two o’clock this morning, I’d felt like I’d already had a good night’s sleep and I awoke really hungry. So of course, I took a walk down the street for some Hungry Jacks.
I honestly believe this was the first time I’d ever entered the Hungry Jacks on Oxford Street without being under the influence of alcohol, unlike everyone else there. As I entered the restaurant I noticed, first of all, the security guard look at me in a really odd kind of way… same with the man who took my order. What was wrong, I wondered. Had I worn my shirt inside out? Had I slept oddly and was there a strange pattern on my face from the bed-linen? No, it’s just that I was sober.
I very quickly realised what a bad idea it is to seek fast food after a night on the turps. First, there’s the order arguments: “I didn’t order a Whopper, I ordered a Bacon Deluxe… I don’t want pickles on that… I’d like a vegan burger thanks”. Second, the inability to eat properly: hands became garden implements whose role it was to stuff as much food as possible into their faces as quickly as possible. And third, the stupid conversations: I honestly heard one girl use the word “like” in a sentence (of sorts) up to eight or nine times. “I can’t believe, like, what she, like, said, like, when I told her, like, that I couldn’t, like, do it”. And no, I’m not making that up.
I then wandered further up Oxford Street for a beer which I hoped might help me go back to sleep (it took three). The Oxford Hotel is a reasonably busy place at that time of the morning, and far less feral than the nearby Courthouse Hotel, though not completely. As I gained a place at the bar, I ordered a drink and began to watch video clips. Standing next to me was a fairly attractive, stylish professionally-dressed woman who asked, “Do you have any change?”. Assuming she wanted to swap a note for coins for the cigarette machine, I gave her a few dollars in gold and silver. I soon realised, however, this was no mutual exchange when she said to the barman, “a vodka and lemonade thanks”. Well there you go, either I’ve seen my first case of middle-class begging or I’ve realised what a bunch of desperadoes you’ll sometimes find on Oxford Street at that time of the night.
Looking around the bar, I also realised that at 3am when you’re sober and those around you aren’t, there’s a quantum difference between those who you find attractive and those who find you attractive. Last night helped me confirm lip-licking, staring and crotch-rubbing aren’t high on my list of attractive behaviours in a potential partner. But this kind of behaviour isn’t confined to gay men: as I observed a couple straight men on the street walking on Oxford Street go up to women and proposition them out of the blue. I was shocked: is this new behaviour or had I just never noticed it before?
And so, after beer three (and now feeling sleepy again), I decided I’d get a taxi home. But of course, I needed some money, and so I joined the queue at the ATM. And although there were only four people in the queue, it was a long wait as the first bloke checked his account balance and changed his account details (cheque/saving) and desired withdrawl several times.