Last night I met up with a friend of mine from Saïd, a recent MBA who’s still living here in Oxford. I supervised a project when he was a student here, and we’ve kept in touch off and on since then. The last time we went out drinking I came up with some of the essential ideas in my Future 2.0 argument, so I had high expectations for our get-together.

We started out with a couple pints in the Oxford Retreat, a nice and relatively quiet pub just up the road from my hotel. It overlooks the stream, so it’s a great location, but it’s not popular with (as one of my friends puts it) the students who come here to learn English and have sex; so it was a good place to talk.

Oxford Retreat
via flickr

I’m not sure what’s happened to me, but in the last few months my relationship with alcohol has changed significantly. Until recently one drink would more or less put me out; but now, with my jumped-up metabolism (or something), I can drink a lot more, and not have it floor me. Not that I plan to start heavy recreational drinking; but it’s always useful when your limits turn out ot be farther away than they used to be, especially when you’re on the road and seeing lots of people, a disproportionate number of whom will propose a drink, toast, another bottle of wine, etc..

Oxford Retreat
see– i was working! via flickr

From there we went to the Eagle and Child. For those of you who don’t know, the E & C was where J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and I believe T. S. Eliot hung out (I’m sure about the first two). It’s right across the street from Balliol and St. John’s, so it’s pretty centrally located. At first, I couldn’t believe I was hearing the name of the place right– the friend I was drinking with is from Latin America, so I thought his accent could be getting in my way. But in fact, it is the Eagle and Child, and the pub’s sign does have an eagle bearing away a swaddled baby.

Eagle and Child
a picture is worth a thousand words, via flickr

We had a couple more pints here, and I ordered some dinner.

Eagle and Child
via flickr

Originally I was going to go with the fish and chips, but after looking at the menu I decided to order the Game Pie. When it arrived, I asked the waiter what kind of game it was; I could imagine a big tin of something just labeled “game” in the back. He said, “Tonight sir, we’re serving Monopoly.”

Eagle and Child
via flickr

Served me right for asking, I guess.

After that I walked around to clear my head and take pictures. If I could be drunk for an hour, then switch it off, I’d be a lot more enthusiastic about alcohol. But the fact that I need to essentially engage in an exercise regimen or take a hot bath to clear my head puts an upper limit on how much I’ll ever enjoy it. Which is just as well. I’ve been addicted to enough things in the course of my life, and certainly don’t need one more.