I don’t think I’m exaggerating in the slightest when I say that hangovers are the worst thing that exists in humanity today. Hangover symptoms read like the possible side effects of a major drug. They include (but are not limited to) massive headaches, nausea, dizziness, joint pain, severe anxiety, inability to leave my bed, and the kind of dehydration that usually can only be found in people that have been lost at sea for months. These symptoms all combine to a totally different world perception than when you’re not hungover, and I’ve detailed the differences below.
Normal: You awake gently to birds chirping outside of your window. It’s 9:12 a.m., and you slept in just enough to feel refreshed but not groggy. You make your way to the kitchen, put on Spotify’s Morning Acoustics playlist, and make yourself some coffee.
Hungover: You wake up with a jolt of panic due to the midday sun that is blazing through your window and hitting you in the face. Your body immediately barrages you with demands that you’ve been too intoxicated to fulfill over the last 12 hours. Your mouth, which feels like the Sahara Desert, needs a gallon of water ASAP. Your stomach has to be filled, or possibly emptied. It’s not sure. Maybe both. Your head and eyes both need there to be less light in the world, but your body’s number one priority is not moving ever again. Your brain attempts to triage these demands, but is operating at around 3% of normal function, and freezes up like an old computer attempting to open iTunes for the first time in years. You sit on the edge of your bed, too tired to move, but too dizzy to lie back down.
Taking A Shower
Normal: It’s a shower. Nothing to write home about. You clean yourself, mentally plan out your day, and sing along to four songs that your iPhone is playing. You wish you could stay in the warmth longer, but you’ve got stuff to do today.
Hungover: You want to kiss whoever invented indoor plumbing and/or water heaters on the mouth. 90% of your hangover symptoms seem to be gone. Although you know it is but a false hope that will disappear as soon as you shut off the water, you cling to any relief you can get. There comes a moment when your scented shampoo reminds you of a Vegas bomb you took the night before and you nearly throw up, but you power through, and on shaky legs, finish the basic task of cleaning yourself. You stand directly under the faucet until the hot water runs out, and then cringe as you shut off the tap, knowing what lays in store for you.
The Grocery Store
Normal: Shit, it’s crowded on Sundays. Costco is a disaster as always, but you decided the extra savings was worth the trip. You pick up chicken, veggies, and various other ingredients you wrote down on your list in order to meal prep five day’s worth of healthy eating. You mindlessly scan social media on your phone while you wait in line for 20 minutes. You begin to get slightly annoyed when the eight-year-old kid behind you flat tires you for the second time, but you shake it off, smile at him, and maintain your cool.
Hungover: Fuck Costco. You’re at Trader Joe’s because it’s the closest place to your house, and therefore, your bed. It’s a nightmare, but at least it’s a nightmare that didn’t involve getting on a bus to get to. You almost turn around and bail when you walk in the door and are met with a thousand sights, sounds, and smells, but you keep your sunglasses on and power through your nausea. You forgot to make a list, and you have no desire to look up any recipes on your phone. You toss three frozen pizzas, two pounds of skirt steak, and a gallon of water in your cart as you keep your head down and navigate to the checkout counter. You perform between 8-10 double handed face wipes while waiting in line and remove your glasses only to glare at the mother of a small child that is crying behind you. An employee, seeing tension begin to mount between you and a 4-month-old infant, opens up a new line to get you out of the store ASAP.
Normal: You’re not here to break any fitness records, but you feel good about your workout. Hitting the gym on a Sunday is a bonus day, and even though all you did was a few miles on the stationary bike and some light reps, it’s good that you went at all. Hit the sauna for a half hour to unwind and sweat out some of the grime of the weekend, and you’ll be feeling great in no time.
Hungover: Haha. Fuck you. You take your Fitbit off and throw it on your dresser. You don’t need that little fucking screen judging you and your lack of steps today.
Going To Sleep
Normal: Well, it’s 10pm. Time to wind down and get a good eight hours before work tomorrow. You checked on your work email inbox and have a rough idea of what you’ll need to do tomorrow. You have some minor anxiety, but you know you can handle this workweek, and you’re ready to give it 100% in the morning. You had a great phone call with your parents earlier and even managed to get in some light reading on the habits of successful people. You drift off to sleep at 10:30 p.m., comfortable in your clean sheets.
Hungover: That grocery store experience tired you out so much you decided to take a three-hour nap on the couch this afternoon. Now it’s midnight, and you could not feel more awake if you had been railing lines all day. You desperately stare at your phone, knowing you’ll feel like human garbage tomorrow morning. You’re on the verge of a full-blown panic attack, and the “68 unread” badge on your email app is burned into your brain. You think back on what a useless piece of shit you were all day. You ignored a call and several texts from your parents, knowing their confidence and optimism in you would only further your self-hatred. None of your texts have been replied to in the group chat, confirming your belief that your friends all hate you. A promising conversation you’d been having on Bumble has dried up since last week, and you know for a fact that you’ll die alone. Your sheets smell like sweat, booze, and late night Chinese food. You slide into a restless sleep, and with your last lucid thought, you lie to yourself that you won’t be drinking next weekend. .