"Ugh," I moan pitifully. It's Saturday morning at 5:30 a.m. My body is waking up prematurely. It doesn't know that we can sleep in today and that we desperately need to.
My mouth is dry. I reach out for the tepid water in a glass on my night table. It tastes gorgeous with only a slightly sickening hint of warmth. Speaking of warmth I am hot. The sheets are a ball of fire around me. My ex used to say that when I was hungover "It's like you're the inside of a ton-ton," in a rare and pithy Star Wars reference.
But my thoughts turn to last night. I'm on vacation with my family. We went out to celebrate my first few months being cancer-free. It's ironic that I'm hungover, as I previously wrote when I was sick "The best part of cancer is that I'm never hungover." Perhaps you'd be surprised to know that a hangover basically feels like a mini chemo session. It's not nearly as bad as chemotherapy -- but probably approximates it most closely in regular human experiences. In fact, a young lifetime full of whimsy and half priced beers may have prepared me for chemo better than most things I did.
I try to go to sleep. I fall into a fitful reverie with the hope I'll feel better. 9 a.m. -- this is more like it. "I'm not that bad," say to myself. I can do this! It's hardly along the lines of "Yes, we can," but I'm trying to muster up some positivity. I go downstairs in the condo and see mom and dad. One look at me and dad laughs. Mom says, "Why do you do this to yourself?!"
"Oh, Mom I don't know. Please euthanize me," I beg.
They just laugh and we have tea and begin to plan the day. Maybe I'll go out for a long walk. Yes, that sounds refreshing. I go upstairs to y bedroom with all the intentions of returning to the outside world to face my fears. I'm still hot though and walking around with a T-shirt and pants now feels like punishment. God why doesn't the CIA just make prisoners hungover?! I'd trade anything for this to stop.
Instead of making it downstairs I take off my shirt now and like the hungover Wookie I am, go back to bed. "Your dreams of exercise are foolish," I tell myself. We must retreat.
Remember when it wasn't like this? Remember when you peaked in your party career and you could go all night and get some sleep and be okay? Remember what it was like to be young?
I feel like an athlete past their prime. The sense of defeat is sinking in as I curl up under the covers. 11 o'clock will be different I tell myself as I close my eyes. Chewbacca is passed out.
At 12 o'clock I awaken very aware that I have a functioning bladder. "Why isn't there a way I can pee in bed?" I ask myself. "There is," I reply to my own stupid question. "It's called a catheter. Do you want a tube in your urethra you moron?"
I deserve no sympathy. I am all that is worthy of being reviled. I have now moved on to being emotionally hungover. I feel guilty and unloved like a puppy who has crapped on the floor. I briefly consider becoming Catholic in order to practice the sacrament of confession, when my family calls out for me to get ready -- we're going to dim sum. Food? Yes, that's a wonderful idea. I take a cold shower -- the water sizzles off my body and evaporates into steam. Or so I imagine.
I get into the back of the car. It's sweltering in those moments before the air conditioning comes on. The Wookie inside me is not pleased. We begin to drive. I am instantly motion sick. "Oh, please," I tell my brother. "Do not drive like this is GTA."
We eat a delicious Chinese meal, which I inhale. For the first time today I am able to look around and see clearly. I am returning to life. But returning into the back of the car and feeling my heart beat frantically I am reminded that my recovery is still elusive.
How could this have happened? I only had seven drinks. When did I become a lightweight? The truth is that I used to be hold my liquor, but like a punch drunk champ I am fighting in a league I'm no longer qualified to be in. I've got to retire. I'm too old for this s@&$. My brother is Riggs to my Murtaugh. But like a young Mel Gibson he can bounce back faster. I am the old buffalo.
It will be approximately one month before I try this endeavor again and hopefully with better results. "Alcohol is the devil," I mutter to myself. I think to my mothers' earlier question "Why do you do it?" And I realize I do so because even though my body has aged my mind has stayed the same. I'm still that 22-year-old kid mentally. I still feel like celebrating in the same way I always did. And because when I thought about it -- eating great food and drinking good wine seemed like a good idea at the time.
Some kids never grow up.