Some people (like me) probably have a nack for getting into embarrassing situations often, and maybe we are just worst at hiding our stupidity. I think the reality is that some of us just laugh at ourselves easier than other. Which is really great, but the flipside is that sometimes you can become the butt of the story. Over and over again. Like a good party trick that never gets old or that one joke that will always get the crowd going.
Unfortunately, I have experienced a few of those embarrassing moments that I’ve had to relive time and time and time again. One particular story is very popular and was unfortunately witnessed by three current and one ex work colleague, one of whom was my boss.
I did tob a bit about hanging my dirty laundry out here for everyone to see, but I maybe I am hoping that one of two things will happen:
- You will say “Aah, that’s nothing! Guess what happened to me” or/and
- at some stage when one of these guys starts to tell the story, someone will peep up “That’s an old one!” (Yup, I am a dreamer)
Anyhoo! Let me tell you the Ice Bar story.
Two years ago I travelled with the aforementioned work colleagues to London. We were there for an audit committee meeting, from which you can assume these were all high-up-in-the-company-managers. Most of us were staying over in town on the Friday night and flying back to Joburg on the Saturday evening, fitting in a bi’ of shopping on the Saturday. So, we decided to ‘hang out’ on the Friday night.
The Ice Bar in London is located just off Regent Street and built out of ice, and is kept a chilly -5⁰C all year round. It operates in 40 minute slots and the entry fee includes one complementary drink. It is really quite awesome and if you ever go there you will spot the sign on the outside with a snapshot of me, listed as a patron that is not allowed back inside. Or that’s how the story goes, I have never been back.
When you arrive at the Ice Bar, you are given a thermal cape with hood and gloves to wear for your 40 minute session. Even the glasses that you get your complimentary drink in, is made of ice. The guys I was with decided, after the first drink was done, to try out some of the other cocktails and drinks. After all, we only had 40 minutes, and they were going to try and fit in as many drinks as possible. With names of drinks such as Suicide Blonde, Purple Rain and Tennessee Swizzle, they could have been entertained all night picking drinks, but of course we only had 40 minutes.
After around 25 minutes, we were already three drinks down (the glasses are tiny, so it is more like shots, and judging by the speed we drank, you can imagine that these drinks went down like shooters). I do not do shooters well. So after the third (or possibly fourth) drink, I firmly declined another one, but of course the guys were “Aah, come ooooon, just one more”. And since I did not want to be a spoil sport, I obliged. BIG mistake.
Now, another little thing about me you won’t know, is that I have a bad gag reflex. I am very sensitive and choke fairly easy. What happened next still feels surreal. I started chugging back the fourth (or fifth) drink and all of the sudden started choking. And instead of just spitting out the alcohol or swallowing it back or something (anything), I started hurling. I kid you not. I barfed, puked, threw up, whatever you want to call it. And then we all witnessed a very interesting chemical reaction taking place. The former-content-of-my-stomach solidified on the spot. There was to be no quick wiping up of my shame. Oh no, they had to scrape it up.
By now, my red face were nicely contrasted by the splatters of frozen vomit still stuck to the cape, so I left the Ice Bar and waited outside for the other guys to finish retelling the story to everyone inside.
It was not the end of the evening, (un)fortunately, as we still had a booking at Belgo’s where we had to sample beers of the world (and thankfully eat something), and then went on a bit of bar hopping in London, and you can imagine that by the end of the evening, the guys could tell the story with all the fanfare of well seasoned actors. The fact that one of the boys barfed in a bin on the side of the road somewhere late at night went by completely unnoticed. By the end of the evening, even I was laughing along at my shame.
If only it stopped there. In the last 6 months, I have heard the story being retold a staggering four times. We would be at a lunch or a function or something and all of the sudden one of the guys would start talking about going to London or being cold or any damned thing that could spark this memory and next thing I would hear is “Have you heard the story of the Ice Bar in London?”.
So next time, I am hoping, praying (or if not the next time, at some point in time in my future) that someone will come to my rescue and say the words I would love to hear “Aah, that’s an old story”and proceed to make fun of someone else.
Is that too much to ask for??