I hear it’s not smart to have a television in your bedroom, but I do. I turn it on when I’m nursing a hangover.
The TV usually is muted, and on a Sunday news show. I lay there in the glow of silent Sunday pundits, wondering what they’re saying. I wonder about stupid things, like how early they have to get up, and if they ever go out on Saturday nights.
It’s also the only time I read that scrolling news ticker at the bottom of the screen.
I wonder why the television always casts a blue glow, even if nothing blue is on the screen.
I wonder why I had so much vodka.
I wonder why I gave that one guy my number.
Did I close my tab? My jeans are on the floor next to my bed. I could just check for my credit card, but I don’t. It’s easier to think about it.
Today, I’m going to text-message my friends to piece together the night before. I’m going to eat mac and cheese, and drink regular Coke.
I’ll think about the boys I really wish would like me, but who I never ask. No matter what their response is, I don’t want to hear it. It’s easier just to see them occasionally, and pretend I’m too unapproachable. I’m terribly bashful. Wince.
Arianna Huffington’s face is huge on the TV. I wish the sound was on. I like her voice.
I force myself up to brush my teeth. In the bathroom mirror, I see the PJs everyone makes fun of me for. They’re giant Christmas “Ho Ho Ho” pants I wear all year long. Some people sleep in their underwear or just a shirt. I sleep in my oversized Christmas PJ bottoms.
I’m dehydrated. I like the way that looks in the mirror—like an instant four pounds of water weight vanished overnight.
If I had a boyfriend, I would want him to see me like this, except with my hair done. I’d style my hair for him right then and there, just so I could show him the full package. He’d want to wrap his arms around my waist, I fantasize.
I walk back into my bedroom, and look at the place where he would be, but isn’t. Because I’m too picky, maybe. Or because everyone else is just picky enough.
So goes the Sunday morning routine that I maybe should be more embarrassed about, but I’m not. If something embarrasses me, I stop doing it.
While real grown-ups are doing responsible things like running errands and working out, I’m holed-up in the cool dark of my apartment, exchanging sarcastic texts with my friends about how hungover we are, and how responsible that makes us. We say things—like that we’ll never drink again. It makes us laugh.
When the texting is exhausted, things feel lonely. It’s the moment when you realize that you’ve got great friends, but you don’t have him. Damn. It always goes back to that.
Did you miss meeting him because you were too drunk? You’re hurting for a reason, you know. Or maybe it’s because everyone else can see through that unapproachable veneer, and it actually looks rather sad.
It’s the hangover magnifying otherwise passing thoughts. The hangover makes everything more emotional, more important.
So many ups and downs. So many what-ifs and whys. So many reflections, self-pities, and promises that next time will be different. The night will be just as fun, but with less pretention. Maybe that will welcome him in.
The hangover makes us suffer for the memories we made, the blurry judgments we reasoned, the poignancy of sometimes-painful solitude. It fills in for Mom by punishing us for acting stupid. It’s one of those gross things that’s just common enough, though, to continue doing.
The night before was so much fun. Nothing embarrassing happened, and a few new friends were made. You will understand this when the hangover washes away, but while it’s there, you have nothing else to do.
They say that alcohol brings out the truth in us. People take this to mean that we’re at our most candid when we’re drunk. I think it’s the aftermath, though, when we are most honest with ourselves. Thoughts scroll from the fun to the sappy, always in the extreme, teetering on that stinging headache and upset stomach.
It’s like reading that damn little news ticker scrolling beneath Arianna Huffington’s face—it tells the truth about what’s going on in the world, while talking heads spout out only their opinions.
The hangover mutes the noise, and reminds us, like that quiet informer, about what’s really going on.
Maybe it’s our age that lets us fall out of focus. To be honest with ourselves, some of us, sometimes, suffer for it.