I opened my mental folder of 'People I know'. Inside were two mental spreadsheets: 'People I want to go for a beer with' and 'People I have been for a beer with'. I opened them – the lists seemed to be identical. What could I do? My first thought was that I'd have to be extremely brave and approach someone I only knew by sight but had a nice face and blurt out 'Doyouwanttocomeandhaveabeerwithme?' My second thought was that if a fifty-year-old came at me in that way, I would go at them with a garden fork. I re-read the challenge carefully, like a lawyer would. Cleverly interpreting the small print, I worked out that it could be someone I knew, but who I just hadn't gone for an individual beer with. You might say 'But that's not the spirit of the challenge – you're supposed to be brave and leave your comfort zone. That's actually cheating. Cheat! Cheat! Cheat!' My reply would be: a) Why are you speaking in that whiney, high-pitched voice? – it's really annoying, and b) You are not the boss of me.*
It didn't take me long to think of the first possibility – someone I knew from a music night I used to run with a friend a few years ago, but never see now. I had technically drunk beer in the same room as him. I had even spoken to him while we were both drinking beer, but that's not the same thing. It was a long shot anyway, as I needed to do the challenge quickly, and he's away** a lot. I messaged him, he messaged back, and within minutes it was all set up. I drove the half hour to where he lives, checked the rules one last time before knocking on the door, and we were off for a Guinness in a country pub.
So as it turned out, it was not so much a challenge as just a really nice evening out. It was great to catch up with Sefton. He's a sound man, in every sense of the word, and a very funny one. He also happens to be the spitting image of Jesus. I didn't tell him this, but in the pub, I was secretly pretending to be God, out for a Friday night Guinness with his only begotten son.
What's a 'shelfie'?
*I want to reassure anyone with OCD, who's probably feeling quite angry by this point, that I did close the mental spreadsheets. I just didn't think it was worth mentioning.
**Mainly for non-violent offences