The Anatomy of a Hangover
The human machine has turned on. Spots appear before your closed lids upon each exhalation of breath. It fumes out of your mouth, then French inhales into your nostrils, burning nose hairs and other areas of the skull – namely directly between the ears – with its stale, empty exhaust. Your mouth is hot and thirsty, and as you sit up for water your stomach drops into the mattress you’re propped on, only to Slinky back to the level of your heart, which also feels stale and empty.
You pause, as your thoughts assemble and your brain’s GPS slowly finds your position and maps your surroundings. You know you’re not Home, not your Home, or wherever that “H” word is meant to connote. But, you know that your relative location in space/time has positioned you in a place where that “H” word holds great significance if used in this very spot by someone other than yourself.
Your motor skills are working on a basic, primal survival mode, and you’re able to reach your hand out for the glass of water, whose rightfully anticipated necessity has placed it not too far from arms reach. You raise the glass to your lips only to have the first several gulps-worth pour down your chin. By this point, it’s apparent that you have a drinking problem. Tossing the empty glass onto the bedside table’s edge, you give it a few half-assed nudges toward the center in foresight of your own clumsy habits.
Now it hits you. The sickness. There is an impulse of what needs to be done, with little regard for self-image or pride. As many abstract expressionist painters or freeform jazz musicians claim, ‘there’s an inner-burning creative compulsion deep in one’s core, and something needs to come out.’ In this instance, the creative product will likely resemble partly digested food and stomach bile.
You spring up too fast, causing the bubble inside your torso’s spirit level to tilt all the way to one side, and then back, and then forth, and back, and forth, and back, and forth until centering just enough to plow through the bathroom door, where the dominatrix of your instinct forces you onto your knees, and here you are submitting yourself to just another john.
Swinging open the lid, you grab hold of the piss dampened rim and heave your head into the bowel, bobbing for apples of dignity that never surface. The puke spills out in a cacophony of white-noise-feeling. It splashes your face and hands, but at the moment this isn’t a concern.
After fully dispensing bodily fluids, your brain drops into reality, suddenly aware of its surroundings. You now feel the filth of the instance; depraved, demoralized, disgusted. The high of instinctual motions has faded away, leaving your analytical reason to feast on all that is wrong with the moment. Kneeling on the bathroom floor, the stale urine that coats the toilet is now much closer, and there is an overwhelming feeling that you have committed what Catholics might call a sin.
Straightening back up, you strain to look at yourself in the mirror. Your hair is pushed up on the left side, your face is sickly and unshaven, and you have water splashed down the front of your shirt; or maybe it’s vomit. The mirror becomes a low-res television screen, and every channel is broadcasting a marathon of infomercials, advertising the miracle cure to rid you of your grayscale life.