We are profoundly undelighted to introduce the phenomenon that is the two-day hangover. If you are under 35, you will not have met before. But read this and be afraid. Oh yes, be very afraid. If we cast our calcifying minds back a few years, we dimly recall that there was a time when hangovers were kind of funny. Badge of honour-ish. We were basically fine but required a large sandwich every hour, on the hour, and gallons of Ribena. Oh, for those halcyon days.
Hangovers are no longer fun or funny or cosy or bonding or anything other than gothically horrible. The shame doesn’t help; the knowledge that we should know better. Why don’t we know better? What is wrong with us? Are we alcoholics? Oh, probably. A bit. But we’re just going to let that lie. For now.
Hangovers, these days are gory affairs. Stealthy, like stamp duty – they fool you into thinking you didn’t bite off more than you could chew last night. You wake up and inwardly, idiotically crow to yourself, ‘I’ve got away with it. Ha! One flat white plus a bagel and all will be well.’
Anyway, at some point in the next hour things take a sinister turn. We suspect – based on absolutely no scientific evidence at all – that the coffee and the bagel or the porridge or the gluten-free toast or the bastard green juice gives the body fuel to grind into hideous motion and start to process the abuse that was inflicted upon it the previous night. Because, whichever way you look at it, cells do not reproduce and replenish the way they once did. Time was, you woke up nearly dead and your body had pretty much replaced itself by dusk. Now we are stuck with these poisoned husks for days.
By lunchtime, the acid claw has established its grip around our ribs but we’re being grown-up about it, largely because we are ashamed. And we can’t afford to lose this job – not like that job we ‘resigned from’ in 1998 when we had sex with the IT guy by mistake and slept under our desks once (quite a lot).
The rest of the day and evening are spent in a fug of Midult brain melt and refined carbohydrates until we collapse into bed in a kind of frenzy of relief only to wake up the following morning shrouded in bleakness; cloaked in grim self-loathing and hopelessness. And yet again our Midult memories fail us; entirely failing to establish any connection between the festivities of 36 hours previously and the ‘Would it just be easier for everyone if a bus hit me’ thinking of today.
But, that said, thank GOD dry January is over.