Creatures of the Night
Recently, at a crowded house party on a Friday night, I found myself in that situation when you are relatively sober just as everybody else seems to be reaching the peak of their intoxication. My eyes fell on two French girls not far from me having an animated discussion in their native tongue. Stood next to them, caught in the incomprehensible crossfire of their conversation, was a guy who was quite clearly very drunk. As he faced the girls he swayed on his feet, head lolling and eyes completely unfocused. I watched him listening to them chatter for a few moments and had just started to wonder if he did, in actual fact, speak French, and if indeed he did, would he at any moment shock me by plunging confidently into the conversation with rapid jabbering of his own? He dispelled these thoughts when he indignantly cried out, “Juh nuh comprenday pah!”: a pidgin phrase which was the knee jerk reaction of a drunk being swamped by an unfamiliar language. He repeated it about three or four times, practically shouting in the girls’ faces as he struggled to stay upright. What made it funny for me was that they were both completely oblivious to him, being too engrossed in what they were saying to each other. This, added to the fact that nobody else was watching, meant that I was the only witness to what was a fairly bizarre scene.