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Sunday, 26 April 2015

Not Up for Whatever: Why I'm Done Saying Yes

You know what? I'm done with "yes to life". It's time for some "no".

This was brought home to me kind of forcefully this weekend, as I ended up having a couple drinks too many after work, which led to crashing at a coworker's house (after having more drinks), sleeping on a couch impregnated with dog hairs and curled up so I wouldn't kick another coworker in the head, and listening to a third coworker, who'd drawn the short straw and ended up on the floor, alternately talking in his sleep ("That's up to you, Francesco" was uttered at one point) and snoring like a drain.

And when they finally woke up, a couple of hours after I did (I caught up on email, social media and Premier League scores, as well as listening to someone upstairs having sex), I had to get dropped off at the office so I could pick up my car and drive home. Which is when I was finally able to take a shower, brush my teeth, etc etc etc.

I'm done.

There's a lot to be said for spontaneity, and Bud Light appears to have built an entire ad campaign around the concept of "being up for whatever". Totally admirable. We're urged to say yes to everything that comes our way, because that's how we end up with stories to tell over a beer years later, or with notches on our bedpost, or whatever. If we just say yes to everything, the thinking goes, we won't die alone and unhappy in our miserable little hovels.

But this obscures the fact that, at least for me, being up for whatever has pretty much always ended up with sleeping on someone's couch (or floor), vomiting my guts out somewhere unpleasant or seeing the person I'm into go off with someone that she's into. Or some combination of the above.

On the other hand, if on Friday I'd just stopped at a beer (and a tequila, because come on, I'm not made of stone here), I could have made my way home relatively early, had ramen from the place next door to my house (instead of half a posh corndog and a couple handfuls of not particularly distinguished popcorn), done some writing, messaged someone I'm chatting to on OKCupid, and watched Netflix.

Instead I got my illusions about someone I'm kind of into at the office pretty fairly punctured, declined the offer of a line of cocaine (because even when I'm up for anything, I'm not fucking around with a drug I've never taken before just as I'm about to go to bed), and had to deal with the guilt of staking out my spot on the couch instead of the floor. As well as the concomitant paranoia throughout the night that if I got up to pee I'd lost my spot on the couch.

I guess it's good to have my illusions punctured about the person I fancied, but I'll be honest, there's really no good takeaway from that night. Except perhaps this blog.

Other times I've "just said yes" and "gone with the flow", I ended up getting swindled in Malaysia, or chatting to Colombian strippers in Austria. That may sound exotic, but at some point, like when you're ridiculously drunk, you just want it to end so you can go home and sleep in a proper bed.

So yeah, done. D-U-N. No more "crazy nights", no more going with the flow, and especially no more descending on some unsuspecting person's house and drinking all their booze. No more being paranoid that at some point I'm going to be woken up by the two people sleeping in the living room with me are going to give each other handjobs.

I'm still willing to be spontaneous (spontaneous trips to Singapore or even just down a street I've never been down have proven fun), but I just need to read situations (and people) better. And I urge you to join me in throwing off the tyranny of "yes" and "whatever". It may result in fewer crazy nights, but you'll feel a lot better for having slept well and gone to the gym.

And then I won't feel so jealous of the people whose crazy nights do turn out fun. Win-win. Fuck you, "Yes Man", the 2008 movie starring Jim Carrey.