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[For an audio version of this blog story click here.]

OK, I’m probably not the best housemate to have. More precisely, I’m closer to being the worst housemate.

Drink-from-home boozers

Why drink at home when you can have a cheaper tipple in a tienda?

The biggest reason for this is that I wish I didn’t have to share accommodation whatsoever. However, I’m forced into such arrangements for financial reasons.

To get my own place in Bogotá, one that isn’t like something from the 19th century, that is, I’d have to pay at least double my current rent. Right now, with few paid projects to sustain me, I just couldn’t justify such an increase in my expenditure.

Home alone utopia
So, house-sharing is my lot and most likely will be for quite some time to come. I’m not very good, though, at grinning and bearing it. It’s more a case of being grumpy and bewailing it.

I get this sinking feeling upon opening the door and realising I don’t have the place to myself.

This adverse reaction would be lessened somewhat if I was living with family or very close friends, people who I know well and vice versa. They would understand that my desire not to talk, to keep myself to myself, isn’t a hostile act. It’s just my disposition, especially when I want to concentrate on something or simply relax.

Having said that, as shared accommodation goes, my current situation isn’t too terrible.

For the most part, when I want to cook, my housemates are mercifully not around. They also keep the common areas fairly clean — there hasn’t been a need to wage kitchen wars.

Bottle battles
Although, I will never come to terms with this habit of throwing bottles and cans with liquid in them in the bin. Pour the damned liquid down the sink first! Not doing so smacks of extreme laziness. Or just plain stupidity. Or the arguably worse mixture of both.

Indeed, it’s liquid-linked affairs that get my blood up the most in my current abode.

While I enjoy the odd tipple, boozing in the place where I cook and sleep has never appealed to me. Even in my student days, I preferred to drink in a public house than stay at home, even if it cost me a little more. And the idea of parties in my residence has always been repugnant to me — well, since adulthood anyway.

You see, contrary to the impression this blog may give, not every action I take has value for money at its heart. If that were the case, in Ireland I would have drunk at home when wanting to get merry. In most high-income nations, drinking out is more expensive than drinking in.

‘Rather than get up and, quite literally, face the music and merrymakers, makeshift chamber pots have been found instead’.

As it so happens, in working-class areas of Colombia the opposite is generally true. This suits me perfectly — when it comes to being in a beer-drinking mood that is. If I was trying to cut beer entirely from my life, making it cheaper to down a few at home would be of greater help. In such a scenario, I’d be far less inclined to imbibe.

So Colombians who otherwise seem fairly frugal, are eager for the best deal, why they drink from home perplexes me (let’s use “from home” rather than “at home”, in keeping with the work-from-home zeitgeist).

Not only is the alcohol normally cheaper in a barrio tienda bar compared to the supermarkets but there are utility savings to be made as well. Electricity and water use at home comes at a cost.

This cost concern would irk me somewhat if the sum of the utility bills in my current accommodation was divided equally. It’s not. My rent is all-inclusive. And not too exorbitant as it is.

It’s simply the act of drinking from home that annoys me. There’s the additional rubbish from bottles/cans, the smell, the potential that guests are invited and, with that, the ever-present risk of boisterousness.

There’s also the fact that it’s inescapable. When I’ve had my fill in a tienda, I want to go home to sleep in peace.

With housemates who drink at home in shared spaces, it’s like having to enter a tienda just to get to one’s bed. What’s more, if the home boozers are merry, they’ll invariably try to drag one down with them, to partake in the “fun”. Eh, no thanks.

Even a normally mundane matter of going to the toilet becomes a very uncomfortable high-risk mission. ‘If I go now they’ll try to get me to drink. Surely they’ll be finishing up shortly.’

An hour later and they’re still at it. ‘Will those plastic bags next to my bed hold my urine? Let’s see.’

Yes, rather than get up and, quite literally, face the music and merrymakers, makeshift chamber pots have been known to be found.

Thankfully, this worst-case scenario of resident revellers rarely happens in my apartment. Most of the time, the main culprit drinks quietly in his room with his girlfriend, who also happens to be the normally absentee administrator of the property.

On odd occasions, though — at birthdays for one — a jamboree breaks out. A couple of times a year for this tienda-at-home affair is more than enough for me all the same.

Rather than a boisterous bar pad, what I want these days is a benign bachelor pad. I might have to get out of Bogotá to find such an ideal.
Listen to The Corrigan Cast podcast here.

Facebook: Wrong Way Corrigan — The Blog & IQuiz “The Bogotá Pub Quiz”.

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La vida en Colombia desde la perspectiva de un periodista y locutor irlandés, quien ha vivido en el país desde 2011. El blog explora temas sociales y culturales, interacción con los nativos, viajes, actualidades y mucho más. Escucha su podcast acá: https://anchor.fm/brendan-corrigan.

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