MY friend Bulz, fixed his eyes dead-straight at our front doorway. He stared at it like a lion watching a zebra. Moving his head about and narrowing his focus towards the doorframe got me curious.
"'What the heck was he doing?".
He staggered to his feet, eyes focused on the doorway, but it looked like his body was unwilling to leave just yet. It was then he made his move. His whole body jerked back and forth as he walked toward the doorway but he narrowly missed it.
It was then I realised, he was (yaqona or kava) grog-doped.
Getting grog-doped is nothing new in my neighbourhood, and experience has taught me not to drink too much grog far from home.
Luckily for Bulz, his home is close by. So another friend Tawake helped him outside.
As we close in on the festive season, I'd like to share stories about kava drinking and its effects.
Yes! There are health issues, but here's another side only grog drinkers will know.
My friends and I refer to grog sessions as "brawl sessions".
Sessions where someone is bound to hit the ground, crawling at times. Sessions that can give you a bad hangover as well. I've had grog-doped friends return from the toilet with their pants wet because they couldn't aim properly, some friend's never make it out of the toilet and some never make it to the toilet. And others like Bulz, who miss the door and hit the wall.
Whenever I meet Bruce the day after grogging, he'd ask me: "H you guys whacked the grog last night, or did the grog whack you guys?"
I'd reply swiftly: "We were whacked."
He knows too well that brawl plus 6pm to some ungodly hour of the morning equals zigzag.
You'll more likely meet it at functions like funerals, weddings and all sorts of family gatherings where a lot of grog is served.
At a recent family event, a huge temporary shelter was built in front of a relative's home.
Family members from near and far converged for one big grog drinking session.
Late into the night, one gentleman admitted he was doped before making his very strange farewell.
He gripped the iron post in front of him and pulled himself up.
Once on his feet, he shot quickly to the next post, and then to the next, moving closer to the exit on the other side of the shed where a small stairway led to the open ground. The posts were his guides and support, I suppose.
He continued until one more post was left to hug near the exit.
He took a deep breath and with a little momentum, rushed forward for the post. I thought he was doing OK until he missed that post and crashed into the nearby bushes. His sulu vakataga flew open exposing all there was to see.
An elderly man saw him fall and ordered a group of young boys to help him.
They did within seconds, and brought him back inside the shed.
The unlucky thing was, they sat him down close to where his journey all began. I'm sure that man was on his way home, and was almost there by the looks of things, until that incident. Now he had to start all over again.
At my place in Raiwaqa, it's music that brings us together over grog, coupled with other topics like rugby, missing flip-flops and many more that keeps the conversation rolling around basin.
Similar to other places where people enjoy their kava, the weekend brings more people together and new surprises at times.
Throughout the years, a lot of funny incidents have happened when grog is involved.
There are my Delainavesi cousins, Martin, Thomas and Liqa who do not believe in small kava bowls. Whenever there's a family function, if Martin or Thomas catch you eating in the kitchen while the men are drinking grog, they'd surprise you with a big bowl of grog. Experience has taught me to go with full belly to such gatherings, especially when your tavale are hosting the dinner.
In another incident, my other cousin Martin B. has the scars on his body to prove it.
Martin has had more incidents with grog than I have.
As usual, I like to spoil young Martin, and as usual, he returns with a joke.
One night, after grog, he went to buy bread from the shop. He was extremely doped. Martin was warned not to go to the shop, but he insisted on bragging in front of his two visiting cousins.
"Au na gone ni Raiwaqa, (I'm a Raiwaqa kid), don't worry !" he said.
So off Martin went.
The other two cousins caught a taxi some minutes later. They didn't reach far in the taxi when they bumped into Martin near the bread shopâ€¦ I mean they actually bumped doped Martin and his bread.
Only god knows what the heck Martin was doing on the road and not on the footpath.
Luckily no one was seriously hurt. Martin later admitted he was doped. They had a big laugh afterwards. So to all grog drinkers, I leave with these words of advice for the festive season — make sure you catch the last post, don't fall, and please walk on the footpath, the roads are for cars.