In an ideal world we would all go out drinking on Friday and Saturday nights, wake up around midday the next day and head to the pub for a leisurely roast meat/newspaper session. Thanks to the incompetence or disinterest of the creator this is far from an ideal world. In many important ways it sucks, and one of the times this is most noticeable is when you have to spend time in the office environment the morning after a spree.
I would dearly love to take the weekend drinking path, but frequently find it strewn with obstacles. Generally obstacles that my wife has booked in and which involve me driving somewhere, precluding any kind of liver abuse. Just going to the pub and drinking beer fails to rank as a worthwhile social activity, and is also kind of awkward with a young child in tow. As such any drinking that is to be done in the correct fashion, eg. aimlessly, uselessly and regretfully, is chased into the social wilderness of the middle of the week. It is also pretty much the only time you can hope to find a pub quiz.
I therefore find myself blameless, an innocent victim swept along the tide of events by the inevitable march of history. It all starts innocently enough, with vague intentions of leaving after a couple, but I do find beer very moreish. There is also the danger of the round trap. Let me explain the round trap. Say you are meeting a group of three other drinkers, their names are not important. You are the second to arrive, being well-mannered yet not a loser. Your loser friend is already at the bar and you go to greet him. He offers you a drink. You accept. God is in his Heaven and all is right with the world. Shortly afterwards another friend arrives and offers you a drink, basking in the safe glow of your barely touched glasses. You thank him for his empty offer but decline and he sorts himself out. Drinking and laughter ensue.
And then you notice the relative state of the drinks in front of your party. You are reaching dreg levels, your sad friend is close behind you whilst your smug friend is about half way down. You briefly consider slowing right down, hoping smugface will overtake you and fall into the round trap. But he is in full flow about Buddhism or The Wire or something and, besides, that beer is very moreish. You polish it off, and make the offer of another drink, which is gleefully and unsurprisingly accepted. As you stand up in rocks your last friend, almost as if he had planned it. (He wouldn’t have, would he? Skulk out in the cold and dark just to not have to buy a round? No, the idea is absurd).
The end result of all these passive/aggressive machinations is that you are 4 drinks down and have only seen 2 drinks benefit (and late friend has ordered a gin and tonic, typically). Your only option is to stick it out for another two drinks, and hope smug and late don’t wimp out of their commitments. By this point you are four pints down, and have entered the Bizarro World stage of the evening.
“Stupid Humans eat a healthy nutritious meal before going to bed at a reasonable hour! Here at 11pm on a Wednesday night world we eat fried chicken and go to dubious establishments with late licences, before falling asleep on last train home!”
Eventually you make it home, waking up your wife, cats and child in the process which means you start the next day with a negative balance of goodwill. You also start it with a wounded disbelief at why your alarm clock is going off when it’s clearly still the middle of the night. That is, of course, if you manage to avoid the vicious circle of waking up too early, then worrying that you’ve woken up too early and being unable to get back to sleep due to this worry (and the fact that you have the first line of Leggy Blonde by Flight of the Conchords stuck in your head). However it happens, it happens that the healing embrace of sleep is replaced by the unforgiving slap of so-called reality.
At first it doesn’t seem too bad. Despite previous experience you think that this time, somehow, you’ve gotten away with it. It’s not until you’re safely ensconced at your desk that Har-Garr the Morning After Beast strikes with his full might. A hangover, when carefully nurtured and indulged with enough ginger beer and time spent on the sofa can, like giving birth, be a joyous experience. Stick it in front of a computer with nothing but the prospect of 8 hours of spreadsheets to look forward to and it becomes more akin to a breach birth whilst stuck in an elevator with only Zach from Saved by the Bell to assist.
You eventually make it, bloody and bruised, to lunch time and yet again taking a distinctly Humean approach to experience you decide that a big pile of junk food will be just the ticket for sorting you out. You are wrong, as you will shortly discover. The combination of too much greasy food and a ravaged digestive system is total annihilation, and I have yet to experience a workplace bathroom in which the inevitable results are entirely free of some kind of trauma.
And so the clocks refuse to move, your head refuse to stop pounding and your work refuses to just do itself for a change. It’s hell, nor are you out of it. Until you are, of course. The birth analogy is once again useful here because when you make it to the end of the day you solemnly vow to never do it again, but time smudges the horror and buffs the benefits and eventually there you are again, quietly sobbing into our keyboard whilst praying that none of your co-workers notice the congealed kebab stench.
Now, a confession. Though I have used ‘you’ throughout the piece I could just have easily used ‘I’ for, you see, I too have experienced the thrilling high and crippling lows of being drunk on a Tuesday night. It is not worth it. If you simply must drink alcohol outside the permitted time zones my advice is this, do it during the day at work, that way you can sober up by the time you go to bed and avoid the hangover completely.
A cautionary tale