Jun 3rd, 2006 by Peter
We have all seen him. The above average age person living in your block that looks just a little off key, and even though you never took a sniffer you can bet your ass that he reeks of liquor or beer on a daily basis. His clothing would be the same all year round, and even though he don’t look to live on the street, he still has that something about him that is hard to pinpoint. Small things like badly shaven beard, or always wearing a cap to hide greasy hair (now thinking about it, it could be me on a lazy-cap-day). We are not talking the normal Friday night drunk (of which I could have been one too), but the get-new-bottles-every-day-alcoholic.
We all know the discomfort of hopefully silent meetings on the stairs where you try to avoid eye contact, as you don’t dare risk a polite “hello”.
We all know the fear that one day he will address you with a question that takes more than a “no thank you”.
Even worse, we dread that he will target you as a potential subject for hang-out-drinking-friendship and endless battles of “drunken-wit”.
We know that would only leave us one option: Bust his bubble and risk triggering his drunken pride.
Worst case would be to fend him off on a daily basis after enraging him. Hey we all have hobbies and maybe stalking you is his?
Okay, okay – exaggerated but it was worst case, right?
So for all you newcomers to this sport, I bring to you: The ultimate guide for dodging your neighbourhood alcoholic (part 1 of 2).
If you spot the neighbourhood alcoholic and he really looks like the kind that needs attention, please make sure you’ve mastered the key skills to stay clear of potential drunken small talk and want-to-be friends séances.
Key skill nr. 1: Observation – This is THE key skill. Wielding this power can save you from a lot of unwanted encounters.
If you spot a could-be neighbourhood alcoholic (NA), make sure you get all information possible. Most important would be his exact address and walking patterns. What time of day does he frequent the nearby shop to refill? Have you seen him talk to a more in-shape booze-buddy living in the neighbourhood too? Pin down all spots where encounter rate is doubled.
Key skill nr. 2: Eye contact – If you are living in a country where you have been taught to be polite, this skill is difficult to master.
The average Joe’s eyes are automatically drawn towards strangers to scan if a polite hello is needed. It’s a tough trade to control, but it can be learned. A perfect way to practice this is to regard all NAs as that girlfriend you cheated on and meet out of nowhere on the street. I bet you’ll find something much more interesting to look at in your bag.
Key skill nr. 3: The I’m-a-psycho-look – Nothing repels NA like projecting a potential ass whooping.
If you have the ability to change your normal everyday Alfred E. Neumann grin to a mask of I-hate-the-world in a split second, this can be a valuable skill. If you fuel this with the random crazy talk-to-yourself state, you’re in for a win. Just make sure the NA doesn’t think you address him. Most NAs will feel intimidated by your mood and instantly see you as an alpha male. The result will be at least one month with no work needed to keep the distance going. You may need project this mood once or twice every half year just to hold the line.
Well, actually this skill can go both ways. It can be a moth to the flame if you’re unlucky that your NA is suicidal too. Some NA just need attention so bad, that even a potential assault and near death experience seems like a good change to drunken life.
Note: If you decide to test this skill, note that this may not work if you’re 5”1 / 120 pounds or aren’t carrying an UZI in a shoulder sling all the time.
Btw.: also make sure you don’t use this skill with your girlfriend/wife under your arm, as this may trigger normal by passers to call the police.
Key skill nr. 4: The fake phone call – You know how the phone always rings at the wrong moment? Yes? No more an annoyance but a blessing.
Vision this: You are on the stairs going out, as you see the NA walking in 1 floor below. A quick calculation tells you that you are 5 seconds away from an unwanted encounter so you have to think fast. You’ve tried using key skill nr. 2 and 3 at earlier occasions, but no luck. You are getting desperate. This is when you turn to last resort. The fake phone call. Your hand dive for you phone always ready in your pocket and smash it to your head. Then crank up your voice and say “Hello – this is insert a fake name” and start babbling like there is no tomorrow (the fake name part is essential). The NA will not wonder why you now look straight into the stairs as you walk on, since you now have to do two things at the same time. Beneath his drunken appearance he is somewhere deep down a man too, and know that it is mentally impossible for men to concentrate fully on more than one thing at a time. He will understand that you are far away in your own thoughts.
Tip: Don’t stop while you’re fake calling, as this might give the NA a reason to stop as well leaving you trapped for unwanted conversation.
Next part of the guide will be about entering the high-risk areas in your neighbourhood.