"You're going to have to learn how to drive drunk."
That's what my aunt said to me while we were at a bar on High Street Kensington. I was stuttering a reply that would have said something like, "Auntie you know I'd never drive while under the influence. I'd just get Alfie to drive me if I was drinking." She shushed me before I could get a word out and said,
"I was young in Lagos too. Don't bullshit me. You're going to have to learn how to drive after you've had a few."
Youth is sweet. You're filled with thoughts of adventure. You seek out the most fantastic experience as you come to terms with the concept of life. You long for the taste of infinity, and in your quest for it you will probably do several ill advised things. Your favourite adventures will toy with disaster. You'll rage against the machine forgetting that you're supposed to make it through. You'll drink too much, you'll try a cigarette. You may never try anything too hard, like cocaine or heroin because you've heard the stories of life ruining addictions, but alcohol will slip trough the cracks of your fascination with life affirming experiences. I've had my share but I haven't yet had my fill.
If you've been away you're bound to think that life here is almost the same as life elsewhere barring a few infrastructural differences but you're wrong. It isn't the same. You can't flag a taxi down at every corner, and even if you could you probably shouldn't. Your taxi driver could turn kidnapper at the drop of a hat, and you cannot guarantee that he too hasn't indulged in activities best left unadvised. In your search for fun and glory I'd prefer it if you made it home. It's in my best interests. The dead do not care for blogs, and if you mess up, even once, you might die. There'll be no do overs or had I knowns. There'll be a hasty funeral and a closed casket. You'll serve as the lesson for the next generation. When your friends have children they'll tell them about you and how you died. You'll be the cautionary tale for the masses. It's a little bit ironic that getting your life may lead to you losing it, but that is the way things are.
1. You are not invincible
Speed is good. You see the accelerator push past a hundred and twenty kilometres an hour and you think, "Yes! This is what they wrote about. This is what they talk about. This is what life is." The rush of the wind against your cheeks is exhilarating. Your music blaring out on to the street is transcendent. Everything about that moment is beautiful. However, you're drunk. Your reflexes aren't what they are when you're sober. You may forget to look right or look left, and you forget that there are other cars on the road so slow down.
2. The time is ten minutes to two
Your hands. One at ten O' Clock and the other at 2. Focus. Your mind's racing through all the infinity on high moments that the night may bring, but this isn't New York or London, it's Lagos. Someone as drunk as you are could break a light, and your impulsive meandering on a straight road could endanger someone else. Focus on your lane and stay there. You'll also need to turn, and as far as I know, ten minutes to two is the best way to make this happen.
3. Don't forget to turn.
The obstacles you see are not optional. If you do not turn, your corpse will marry a round about or a street light and people will marvel at the fusion between your chest and the steering wheel.
The least drunk driver in front and at the back. The truly plastered in the middle. You'll make it there and back again nine times out of ten.
5. Know your drunk
This one's fairly easy. You should know your levels. If you really are too drunk to drive then say something. Your friends will oblige, and if they don't then they weren't your friends to begin with.
6. Lariats on the ready
One night in hundred you'll be an absolute idiot. Even when you're slurring like a cat, peeing yourself, and falling about like a spineless fool, you'll insist that you're able. This is when you need a kiss with a fist. You need to be tied down like a pig and knocked out like a base ball. You'll understand in the morning.