Clad in a shabby blue mackintosh, the elderly rogue slurped his John Smith’s in a spectacularly irritating fashion. With sensibilities as delicate as mine I am indisputably in a position to judge.
He would take mind-numbingly long sips, lasting for ten seconds flat, i.e. well over the average one second “beer sip threshold” and then, in a manner which implied a lifetime habit and decades upon decades of soul-destroying practice, he finished each monster slug with a peace-shattering slurp, all the while crossing and re-crossing his legs.
Now when I say slurp, I don’t mean the way people (despicably and controversially) slurp their tea, which is bad enough as it is, violating unarticulated drinking protocol with astonishing acts of flagrant slurpage. It was far beyond this, he took it to the next level, sort of smacking his lips and kissing them with such extravagance that he could be invited to a rudeboy convention as a prize exhibit. He finished the procedure by chattering his teeth and sniffing, conspiring to produce the kind of sound that, I imagine, a wild boar would make after gorging on lemon meringue pie.
It was all too much to handle, so I let my eyes wander across the pub, searching desperately for something to focus on, something which would distract me sufficiently enough so that I could enjoy the rest of my pint.
My gaze settled on five coat hooks, amateurishly packed onto a bit of wood so rotten it must have been pulled out of a ditch. Hanging on one of the hooks was a solitary leather coat, well-worn and grubby. I focussed on it intently, counting and re-counting the hooks and wishing I was cool enough to go for the Matrix look.
Finally the slurper left, peace at last. The barman caught my relief.
“Nice chap,” he said, shaking his head in empathy, “but very, very irritating.”