Every so often I will come across an article online that estimates the average American will spend eight years of their life cleaning, or nine years watching TV. While math has never been my strong suit, I estimate that by the time I die, I will have spent two years of my life with booze blues. “Booze blues,” as it has been named, is something that I posit everyone will experience at least once in his or her life.
As alcohol is a depressant, booze blues should be fairly self-explanatory, as well as irrefutable. Still, I have encountered the rare breed of drinker that claims they have never woken up on a Saturday, Sunday, or Wednesday morning for that matter, with this special blend of truly horrible emotions. This means one of four things about the person:
- They are a healthy adult that knows how to drink responsibly.
- Alcoholism does not run in their family.
- They do not know how to have fun.
- They may not have gone to college.
For those “responsible adults” who have never experienced booze blues, I will attempt to explain.
First of all, you can’t wake up after a night of binge drinking to the point of booze blues without being hungover. Your 7-10 range hangover (10 being the worst) will always be present for booze blues to occur. The only exception to this rule is if you are clinically depressed, in which case you just have blues, minus the booze. Go seek help, and prescription drugs.
It all begins when you wake up, which is undoubtedly just after 10 a.m.—since it’s impossible to sleep through a truly great hangover. Before your puffy eyelids have fully opened, you know you have a headache. A bad one. You start to move but then realize your stomach feels weird—no, terrible—and you could maybe puke. Nope, you can’t puke, but you wish you could. You’re now wishing you were bulimic, so you could take care of that.
You assess the situation you and your body are in for the next ten minutes. Then your brain kicks into gear and wants to know how the fuck you did this to it. You start thinking to the night before, which you remember, but given your hangover, you start to doubt your ability to remember everything. Did you brown out? That’s embarrassing. Blacking out is totally unacceptable at this age, so a brown out is the next worst thing. No, you couldn’t have.
Or could you?
Fuck! You don’t know; I mean how can you know if you’re this hungover? You should call your friends and find out.
Friends. That’s if you still have them. Now your body starts responding to your brain waves, and fast, because it needs to locate your phone as soon as it physically can. You scramble around your bed and nightstand only to find it under your other pillow, with 12% battery left. Two unread texts. One is from a close friend at 2:03 am. “Where are you?” Well that’s not promising. You stopped looking at your phone at 2:03? That’s early. And you left one of your friends. What if they’re mad at you? The other text is from a number you don’t know at 3:34 am, “Hi.” Great, a mysterious number exchange.
Who else could you have been with? You remember meeting up with some friends of your friends, who you had met once before. Great, what if you offended them?
Recap: you lost one friend, they’re probably mad at you. You were with some other friends, but you probably said something insensitive, since you’re estimating you were seven to eight drinks deep at the middle/end of the night. So they might be mad at you. So you might have no friends.
You quickly send a text to your best friend, who you know you were with for most of the night. Ten, twenty, thirty minutes go by without a response. Your paranoia grows.
Now let’s go back to the scale system. If you’re a 4 or above on the physical attractiveness scale, about 35% of the time you drink this much, you go home with someone or bring someone home with you. Roll over. Are you alone?
If you are, just go back to worrying about how you have no friends. Mix in some thoughts about how you’re irresponsible and need to start acting your age. Where is your future going to go if you keep behaving like this? Will you be able to have a family? Probably not. Great, you’re going to die alone.
If you’re not by yourself, creep the person beside you. Is it an ex? Someone your friends hate? Someone you’ve never seen before? Someone ugly who might fall into one of the aforementioned categories? If so, this just got a lot worse.
If it’s an ex, now you have those emotions to deal with. No one likes those emotions—not even the people who actually enjoy Lifetime movies or romance novels. Not to mention, you’re kind of at emotional capacity right now. If it’s someone your friends hate, you have to keep this to yourself or suffer their judgment. That is, if you still have them as friends. If it’s someone you’ve never seen before, your job of piecing the night together just got a lot harder.
You’re also left with the predicament of either a) how do I sneak away without my new bed-mate noticing and minimize the shame aspect of my walk of shame? or b) how do I get this person out of my bed so I can go back to thinking depressing things about my future?
At this point your mind and body are awake, and your hangover is in full effect. Still no text back from your friend. You definitely have no friends left. Awesome. Then you remember something! You remember some older (insert gender of the opposite sex) buying you and two of your friends a round of Jager shots. Why the fuck do people drink that? Instant bout of nausea.
This remembering-parts-of-the-night-followed-by-stomach-feelings-that-land-you-in-the-fetal-position-in-your-bed period lasts for another hour or two.
In the final stages of the booze blues you end up home, alone in your bed (if you weren’t already), texting and calling all of your closest friends who you think might love you unconditionally—because they can’t be mad at you, right? You get confirmation on your night. Turns out you remembered almost everything—except that stranger you made out with. That explains the “hi.” You were drunk and probably talking too loud, but you didn’t say anything unreasonably stupid. Your other friends are also still in bed (except that one overachieving friend who just got back from breakfast with their significant other), so you haven’t even missed brunch. Although let’s be real, you’re not making it to brunch. If you so much as put on pants the day will be a success. Don’t expect to get out of bed until 4 p.m. If you get out earlier, it’s for a glass of water, and you retreat immediately afterward.
This will give you a sense of perspective for maybe the next three days. You’ll want to act your age, or older. Then the weekend will come and you’ll remember the laughs you had on the phone with your friend while lying in bed, and decide to risk the booze blues again and go out. This time you won’t brown out or think you did when you didn’t—you’ll have a nice, responsible good time. Because you’re way too fucking scared of that happening again. But it will happen again, when you’re least expecting it.
The good news is, you know you know how to have fun, and you know that’s important.