Throughout the ages, humankind has been compelled to document the great triumphs and tragedies of their brief lives, to bear witness to the events that form histories and shape realities, and to create the narratives that will help them to take tentative steps into an unknowable future.
It’s with this in mind that I succumb to the urgent impulse to tell you about the EPIC hangover from which I have just emerged; pale, sweating, and profoundly grateful for every minute of existence that does not see me groaning with nausea and longing for death’s sweet embrace.
It was the gin and tonics that did it. Or, more accurately, the gin. And I was doing so well. Really well. I was at a pretty messy ‘do and had been congratulating myself on my relative sobriety when the clocks chimed midnight over Brixton.
It wasn’t even the point when we began to run low on tonic (and therefore began to ‘conserve’ mixers) that did for me. No. My evening began to unravel at around 2 a.m. when I lost the ability to differentiate between gin and tonic.
As a direct result of this oversight I have for most of the New Year been totally incapable of doing anything except staying very still and concentrating hard on my breathing. A New Year’s blog post was completely out of the question.
However, now that my world is full of sweetness and light, I am inclined to resort to a subject on which I have used the last 48 hours to accrue a great deal of material. In the spirit of allowing future generations to learn from the mistakes of their predecessors, I have decided to retrospectively live-blog my hangover, as I remember it.
Sunday 1 January 2012
04.00 I board the tube at Brixton and am alarmed to discover that, far from being nicely tipsy and more than usually witty and urbane, I am in fact very very drunk. As I change trains at Victoria, I experiment with closing one eye and then the other. In this way I discover my eyeballs’ hitherto unknown zoom function and walk into the train doors before they have opened.
04.30 I arrive home and collect the post from the downstairs table. I am now totally on top of things. Only a sober person, surely, could pick up their post.
04.40 I experience an episode of rather unladylike burping, but put it down to the excitement of the evening. I undress and get into bed. Outside the birds are singing. It is so beautiful that is causes me to pass out.
11.00 I wake with a start. Something is wrong. I am lying on my left hand side. There is a sheet of paracetamol directly in my eyeline. At some point in my immediate past I have displayed unusual prescience. I take the paracetamol and go back to sleep.
11.05 SLEEPING IS NOT WHAT I NEED TO DO. I NEED TO NOT BE IN BED. HORIZONTALITY IS NO. OH GOD. OH GOD.
12.00 Jane calls. I answer the phone but am strangely unable to communicate. I ring off and receive a tweet from Jane: “I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone sound so hungover as @D_for_Dalrymple. If any of her friends or family are nearby, they should assist.” I attempt to retweet this to my family but then remember that they are not on Twitter. Oh god.
13.30 It is very important that I go to sleep. If I go to sleep, I will wake up and everything will be fine. The only problem is getting there. When I start to drift off my breathing becomes slow, and that is not a good thing. The sensation is turbulent and seems to go on for hours – like being in a lift that shoots skyward without warning, or being wrenched from a daydream by a slice of Stinking Bishop held directly beneath your nostrils. Oh god.
14.00 I call my mum. It is by now clear to me that I will be unable to conduct a proper conversation, so I concentrate on conveying my most basic needs: “Yes. Happy Year. Not good. Bad. I need you to tell me… bicarbonate of soda. Bicarbonate. Of sofa. Soda. Makes better? Stomach? Please tell me. Help. Oh god.”
My mum has recently read something to the effect that when your stomach is upset, it mistakes acid for alkaline. She recommends that I mix up some sugar and lemon juice with water. I am too mentally and physically impaired to argue (as I feel sure I would normally) and agree to take advantage of the next post-vom lull in nausea to follow these instructions.
14.10 I hack up a lemon, add sugar, and drink the juice with lukewarm water.
14.15 I learn that, when one is very hungover, warm, sweet lemon juice is neither pleasant to drink nor to throw up.
15.00 I am sitting on the toilet floor. No, this is fine. This is GOOD. This is a totally different perspective. Perhaps I can do some breathing while I am down here. Yes. Breathing is good. But not too much breathing. No, that is bad. Wait. That’s good. No, bad. Bad. BAD.
15.05 I try some gentle rubbing of the area I believe my oesophagus to inhabit. I am half-naked, sitting on the toilet floor and burping myself. I could be the star of the most niche porno ever made. No. No. That is not good. Oh dear. Oh god. Oh god. Oh god.
15.30 My toilet is very small. When I sit on the floor like this with the door closed, there is no getting in from the outside. I occurs to me that if I had an aneurysm right now, not only would no-one know about it until long after their help would cease to be of use, but the emergency services would have enormous difficulty gaining access to my bloated corpse. Luckily, some more vomming takes my mind off things.
16.00 I go back to bed and try the sleeping thing again.
16.20 I wake from a small snooze. I feel fantastic. No nausea. Everything is ok again. It’s fine! I have definitely turned the hangover corner. I call mum to let her know the good news. I state that it is my intention to come round for dinner later. I express particular excitement re: the possibility of roast potatoes. Everything is going to be OK.
16.40 Everything is NOT going to be OK.
16.45 NOTHING WILL BE OK EVER AGAIN.
17.00 Sweet Jesus. I have no memory of eating a highlighter. Oh god.
17.20 I experiment with wrapping myself in a blanket and walking in tiny circles whilst muttering ‘ohgodohgodohgodohgodohgodohgodohgod’. This definitely helps.
17.25 I remember that there is one Lindt Sex Ball left in the chocolate tin and begin to cry weakly with happiness. My tears are pure gin and leave tracks where they pass through the glitter with which I am mysteriously coated.
17.30 The smell of the chocolate makes me retch. However, I acknowledge that I may be hungry later (when all of this is over) and put a potato in the oven. I set an alarm for 20.00 and go to bed.
20.00 I wake up feeling a bit better and get up to watch Sherlock, reflecting that if I am too sick to do this, I may as well end it all. However, I make it to the sofa without incident and start the first shift of Cumberwatch. I tweet several times in what I judge to be an witty and urbane way before remembering that it was being witty and urbane (read: ‘utterly battered’) that got me here in the first place.
20.35 I become arrogant and attempt to eat a small morsel of baked potato sprinkled with salt.
20.40 I discover that there ARE worse things to sick up than warm lemon juice and sugar. Holmes and Watson are getting up to all kinds of exciting things in the living room but I cannot leave the mind-numbing chill of my toilet floor to join them.
21.30 Mum calls to check on me. She suggests that I may be suffering from a stomach bug. I laugh hollowly, but this makes me feel ill and I hang up on her.
22.30 I am now too exhausted even to cry. I check in with mum (who is concerned that I have salmonella) and finally go to sleep.
Monday 2 January 2012
07.30 I wake up. I lie very still for a number of minutes and try to decide how I feel.
07.32 I do not appear to feel nauseous. My eyes have resumed their normal operational status. My entire torso aches as if I’ve been stretched on a rack.
11.00 I wake again to a frantic phone call from my mother, who is convinced that I have succumbed to norovirus in the night.
11.30 I get out of bed. On the kitchen table is a pile of post. It is all addressed to my upstairs neighbour.
New Year’s Resolutions?
Happy New Year.
EDITED at 0850 on 3/1/12 for spelling and lols.