Breathalysed for my birthday
My latest proud possession is a home breathalyser kit. With Christmas and birthday combined, I’ve had loads of presents over the last few weeks (from shoes through iPhone accessories – yes I have one, “come friendly muggers” – to a new suitcase instantly recognisable on any airport carousel). But a couple have only just turned up.
The first is a jolly Victorian Parian-ware figure of the Muse Ourania (Astronomy), courtesy of Willingham Auctions. (Actually, the catalogue said just “a classical figure”, but the globe and compasses clearly identifies her, I think.) She is going in my study at home, as soon as I have got some more shelves, and then got books off the floor – so I can actually walk into it again and there’s space for her.
The second is the said home breathalyser.
What prompted this present was this Christmas’s drink-driving campaign, suggesting that a good dinner would very likely leave you still over the limit the next morning. I feel quite confident that I know when not to drive during or after an evening out. But I haven’t got a clue what the score would be the day after.
The good news is that I haven’t yet, after many times of trying, been over the limit at 8.00 am (or at least not according to my kit – assuming it’s accurate). But there are still all kinds of odd discrepancies on the evening before, between me and the husband. Which is to say, after about half an hour into a shared bottle of wine I am regularly twice the legal limit – he is only half way there
Question: am I surreptitiously drinking more of it than him, or is there a gender thing here? We plan some controlled experiments: carefully measured quantities, consumed at fixed intervals, with regular experiments on the breathalyser.
In real life (I mean, with real policemen), I have only ever been breathalysed once. It was about 15 years ago, coming back from the library one Saturday/Sunday morning at 2.00 am, when I hadn’t had a drop since a small gin and tonic some eight hours earlier. I was got by the cops because of a non-working brake light and asked to breathe into the machine.
It was strange how scary it was, even though I knew there was no risk that I was over the limit.
The irony, on that occasion, was that I had actually been looking for the police a few hours earlier. Alone in the (ground floor) library with another female night-worker, I had been assailed by a group of the local youth who came up to the windows and waved their willies at us for what seemed like ages. Where were the boys in blue when you wanted them? Nowhere to be found. But quick enough to pounce a few hours later, when my brake light was on the blink.
That particular affair didn’t finish till the following Monday, when the then University Security Officer came to visit the scene of the alleged incident. I was not to worry, he assured me -- men were never dangerous when in a pack. Hadn’t he heard of gang bangs?
Maybe I got off lightly just being breathalysed.