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Rock bottom is a funny place to be. You know that the only way you can go is up, but that really doesn’t deliver any comfort in the moment.
For some reason my company decided to send some of my co-workers and myself on an international business trip. Given the fact that I’m barely out of college, this amazing opportunity meant one thing to me. I would have the chance to explore a new culture, taking in everything that it had to offer and opening myself up to new perspectives. Just kidding, it meant free booze. The plan seemed foolproof: Pre-game the airport at a restaurant, drink at the gate, order free booze on the plane, pass out and wake up on arrival to keep the buzz going into that night. What could possibly go wrong?
Perhaps it’s my lack of experience with flying, vastly diminished alcohol tolerance since graduating, or the complete and utter lack of understanding I have about the effects of alcohol on the human body, but suffice it to say, things did not go according to plan.
The total flight time was about eight hours. Roughly one of those was spent extending my carefully honed buzz into a full scale blackout. To be fair, I felt both the flight attendant and my lack of self-control are to blame. This man just wanted to see the world burn. More specifically, my world. The last thing I remember before waking up was him handing me a nip of Hennessy and giving me a look that I took to mean, “Don’t be a pussy, drink it.” In hindsight, his look was probably of concern, and I was more taking the bottle than him giving it to me, but that’s neither here nor there.
Anyone who has woken up on a plane after drinking heavily has most likely experienced exactly what I was feeling in that moment. Panic set in as I realized I was about to endure a stage five, life-altering hangover at 30,000 feet. I checked the time, praying to see that the plane would land soon, only to be greeted with the haunting realization that the flight had only just crossed the halfway mark.
At that moment is when I began to fully grasp the gravity of what I had done. Normally when hung-over I’ll utilize a variety of cures that I’ve learned over my drinking career. Easy-Mac and a bottle of water? Cured, but not available on a plane. One metric fuck-ton of ice water, coupled with some eggs over-easy? Cured, but not available on a plane. Stay in bed all day and wait for it to pass? Cured, but not available on plane. More booze? Cured and available! But the cost in this situation was just too great. My only option was to flag down the flight attendant and beg for water. He acknowledged my request and poured me a glass, all the while looking disapprovingly down upon the shattered remains of a once confident young man.
The rest of the flight, as you can imagine, was a disaster. A mix of dry mouth, a pounding headache, and desperately trying and failing to fall back to sleep summarized the next four hours of my life. Upon arrival, I made a bee line for my hotel room while my co-workers went out and enjoyed the city.
Should I have tried to rally? I wish. Unfortunately at this point, I was just too far gone. The mere idea of ingesting more alcohol gave me cold sweats and made my liver cry for help. I had to cut my losses, learn my lesson and move on, hoping to know in the future that when the flight attendant offers you cognac, it’s probably best not to drink it.
So why am I sharing this story with you, reader who doesn’t care about my life spiraling down the drain? The glimmer of hope that it will cause at least one person to think twice before getting annihilated going into a long flight is enough for me. Don’t make the same mistakes I did. In a piece of advice that my friends would be shocked and devastated to hear coming from me, if you’re flying and planning to drink, it would benefit you to do so… in moderation..
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