Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The feelings of the collective

I was never a wallflower at college, unless in some dictionaries "wallflower" is defined as someone who needs to lean against the wall in order to stay standing after drinking too much keg beer. I don't think I've ever come across that specific definition, so we'll stick with the theory that I wasn't a wallflower.

When big groups of people get together to drink, there is always something very nice about the fact that if they start drinking at the same time, and end at the same time, everyone arrives as a similar level of inebriation at roughly the same time, meaning that any of your embarrassing comments and stunts are hopefully forgotten by others the next morning, since hopefully everyone is sharing in a collective hangover and can't pinpoint specifics from the night before. The timing is key though - if your best friend started drinking even an hour after you, for instance, she might still be clinging on to some morsel of sobriety just as you decide it's the perfect time to belt out "Come on Eileen", solo, standing on a beer pong table. Without your shirt on. Or something like that.

Anyway...if collective advancement toward drunkeness is a good thing, the same cannot be said for meltdowns. One person of four, say, having a meltdown at any given moment isn't good, but it's tolerable - the other three are able to keep their cool and recognize that the melting one will eventually get over it. At about 8:30 tonight, Noah should have been asleep. He wasn't though - he was crying. Shrieking in fact, like a baby fox (I think this is what a baby fox would sound like, not that I have probably ever really heard one). Blake was downstairs with me in the kitchen, having ignored repeated attempts by Matt to cajole him into the bath. Blake decided that rather than be in the bath, he would rather be wearing a colander on his head, but as he pulled the colander off the counter, he also pulled with it two leftover curry takeout boxes from two nights ago that I was about to reheat. As chicken biryani and sag aloo splattered all over the floor, I decided I had had enough of Mrs Nice Mom. If ever you need a way to get a tired toddler to start crying, have him spill curry all over the kitchen floor after you've spent 14 hours being his slave and see how you react. At this point 3 of the 4 of us were either shrieking, shouting or crying - and it just made me think about the power of the group mood. Neither hangovers or meltdowns are much fun, but at the least the hangover was presumably preceded by good times. Not that I can remember much of them.

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