The Day After The Night Before
Hangovers are glorious poetry; the ultimate display of causality if ever anyone needed a lesson on the topic. You drink hard : you suffer.
end of the year is always the best time for observing this wondrous
beast. Emotions running high. Departures. Reflection on the year that
was and the one to come. Plenty of chances too – every Friday and
Saturday and often at least two or three of the others booked out for
something end-of-yearsie for all of December.
Example: my Friday night. After eleven months working on The Great Gatsby at Animal Logic, I not only had my final day at work, but it also coincided with the last working day before the holidays: people were thirsty,
myself very much included. I won’t bore you with the blow-by-blow
account of what followed – we’ve all been there – but suffice to say the
night ended shortly after I stumbled quietly out of a crashed party, at
least five different alcohols in my system (“Don’t mix”, they say…)
having just completed a stirring karaoke rendition of George Michael’s “Careless Whisper“.
Others were less fortunate to have finished up at such dizzying
heights. Reports are only still just coming in on the three guys who
legged it back to work to pick up their cycles, foolishly riding home
drunk at 1am, deciding to do a few jumps off one of the granite-lumped
cliffs in Centennial Park. Naturally, this ended up pretty much as
expected, provided you expected one of them to end up being rushed to
hospital, unconscious, where he’s been receiving cosmetic surgery on his
face ever since (having tried to eat a mouthful of face, dirt and
handle-bar during the inevitable it’s-all-fun-and-games-until moment).
Saturday hangover was definitely worse than mine, I’d bet, but I still
took my punishment in the form of a killer headache from late-morning
through til when I started on the wine again before dinner. (Fair enough
– mixing drinks was bad enough, but butchering a George Michael classic
in public is unacceptable.) Of course, I ate through the tail end of it
without any further whining.
If only everything was as
simple as that: mix your drinks, take the punishment, eat an egg and
move on. It’s much murkier waters when you start looking at the other
stuff. Like how to move on from the post-gig hangover. You work on a
creative project for that length of time and no matter how you felt
about it at the time, once you’re suddenly on the outside there’s that
momentum of habit that still has you waking up thinking you’re heading
back to your desk tomorrow to open up that shot with the curtain issues
in it again. Or how you escape the lingering dark emotions that come of
deciding to cut a lot of ties and move cities: no matter how fun the
adventure, you’ve still got the fee of the guilt or the sense of loss or
the revoltingly poor timing (as you discover you’ve only just made a
couple of the greatest friends ever right at the point that you’re
putting an ocean between the lot of you). A bacon-and-egg roll can cure a
lot of ills, but not those.
And I like a hangover because
there’s punishment where it’s due. Fair’s fair. Not like someone in
their mid-thirties contemplating perhaps never meeting Mr-or-Mrs Right.
Or six-year-old kids gunned down in a classroom. Or my three unrelated
friends who’ve parents have died of cancer in the last few months, with
two others’ currently on the staying-strong-but-counting-down
waiting list. Cancer is swift justice for what, exactly? It’s
depressing, because it’s unfair, and unfair because it seems to be an
effect without a cause.
That’s why you really have to respect a
good, pounding hangover. At least – eight hours down from shooting
straight tequila after a few rounds of beers, wine and a neat Glenlivet – you know where you stand.
And you’re (mostly) cool with that. Especially if there’s bacon.