A wedding, some booze, a hotel and the most awful people in the world

Copa“I picked up a family of blacks from London the other day. It’s as black as the ace of spades up there now.”

I’m in a taxi after a horrible stop-start train journey, on my way to a church where my friend’s getting hitched. I’m now trying to conceal my utter contempt for a man I’ve just met. He looks at me, as if, probably purely because I’m white as well, he expects me to be interested in his bigoted twaddle. I look out of the window.

I’m in Portsmouth. I don’t think I fit in here.

Fast-forward to the early hours of the morning, and I’m supping an ill-advised last beer of the night at the hotel bar with my friend Matt. We’re two blokes, both wearing pink ties, sat next to each other at a hotel bar in the small hours of the morning. There’s a newly married couple, still in their wedding outfits, sat nearby. The groom is staring at us. The bride looks fucked. She orders a sambuca. Turns out they are the most awful couple in the world.

Matt goes outside to smoke. Wanker. Now I’m here on my own. The groom is still looking over. Like an idiot, I somehow manage to catch his eye. He speaks to me.

“No offence pal, but you gay?”

No, I’m not, I retort. He moves over, sits next to me, and shakes my hand. He has scabs and blood on all his knuckles.

We have a conversation. Well, he talks at me. It’s his wedding night, he confirms. Why is he sitting here talking to me, a bloke who he thinks is gay, then, I ask myself.

It gets worse.

This couple, this ridiculous pair of cartoons, have just come from a kebab shop. Where the groom had a fight. An actual fight. ON HIS WEDDING NIGHT.

I’m in Portsmouth. I don’t think I fit in here.

The couple get bored of harassing me and Matt, and go to bully a group of blokes elsewhere in the bar. We make a swift exit.

Upstairs, I start to realise how truly, monumentally pissed I am. I begin to think that I’m so drunk I might die. Here in this hotel. In Portsmouth. I pick up a pen and paper. This could be the last thing I ever write.

And what are the words, which could quite easily be my last, remember, that I scribble on the little notepad by my bedside? Something profound, you’re probably thinking. Maybe a thoughtful poem, or a clever existential quote from someone brainy like Sartre? Nope, I write, and I have absolutely no idea why, the words to the chorus of Barry Manilow’s horrible song Copacabana.

I’m in Portsmouth. I don’t think I fit in here.

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