12 August 2010

Rolling drunk

Most evenings I drink a glass or two of red wine. But clearly I am not where the party is. It's at seven in the mornings and I am not invited, complains Susan Erasmus.


Most evenings I drink a glass or two of red wine. But clearly I am not where the party is. It's at seven in the mornings and I am not invited, complains Susan Erasmus.

For the second day in a row, I have been confronted with the news that someone has been arrested for drunken driving early in the morning.

Firstly, there was this snippet from News24:

ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu was arrested for drunken driving in Cape Town on Thursday morning, officials said. But this did not put him off doing his job - he did a phone interview with Sapa about youth leader Julius Malema around 09:00, an hour after the arrest, when he was apparently still being held at the Mowbray police station.

And then today the news that a man who was allegedly driving under the influence had hit two cyclists early in the morning in Hermanus.

OK, let's start with Jackson Mthembu. Apparently his blood alcohol limit was three times the legal limit. That's no mean feat that time of the morning. Even if he had flattened a bottle of something lethal the night before, I doubt his blood alcohol level would still be that high the morning after. So chances are our spokesperson had a run-in with the demon drink shortly after polishing off his breakfast cereal.

But then two things I have to say in his defence: if you had to defend Julius Malema in public, would you not also consider hitting the bottle shortly after your alarm clock sounded in the morning? And then, you have to admire his work ethic: he still went ahead and did his job, commenting on Malema's choice of song (Idols, anyone?) while he was sobering up behind bars. That's true dedication, don't you think? Cellphones are such wonderful things.

Back to the Hermanus guy. Through no doing of his, the two cyclists are still alive. When they were found, however, our morning drinker had apparently absconded. He parked a kilometre away and walked back to the scene. Whether it was his conscience that got the better of him, or whether he was just unable to find the brakes in the condition he was in, we will probably never know.

 The sobering thing is that he was apparently still listing to starboard after a swift one-km walk and a helluva shock.

Having lived in this country all my life, I am under no illusion that we are a nation of teetotallers. South Africans drink, and we drink a lot. We have a lot to drink about. Ours is not to reason why, ours is but to drink and braai.

But at seven in the morning? At that time I can hardly face a glass of water, let alone scotch on the rocks or brandy and Coke. I can't even face either of those two on a Saturday evening, but that's clearly just me.

I could still understand (not condone, but understand) how someone could be three sheets to the wind at 5am on a Sunday morning after an all-nighter at a stag party. But on a Thursday morning?

Right, so in order to fit in in the greater scheme of the SA social scene, we need to make a few alterations to our social habits. I am sending out an invitation for next Thursday morning:

What: party, party, party.

When: 6am Thursday

Where: my house

Dress: whatever

Bring: as much booze as you can carry.

And then afterwards we can all drive to work in different directions. That's if we can still stand up straight. What's a friend if they won't share a prison cell with you?

(Susan Erasmus,, March 2010)




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