After that last post, y'all now think of me as some tonsured, bread-eating, tap water drinking woman content to live in the same sack-cloth jumpsuit for the rest of her apathetic life (but with happy undies), right?

Well. You're wrong, I say without defensiveness. Contrary to any assumptions, this post isn't rooted in some juvenile need to prove myself but rather was prompted by a recent unsettling experience that has confirmed a strange conspiracy going on involving me and spirits. Spirits of the drinky kind.

In my entire life, I've only gotten seriously inebriated three times because (a) more than many things, I deeply loathe being nauseated; (b) I have a high alcohol tolerance level; and (c) I fear what comes the morning after. For all of you dismissing (c) as merely a silly euphemism for a hangover, you're wrong. It's something else, something far worse.

Oh, sure, I've been my share of tipsy and more, here and there. But I generally wake from these episodes curiously refreshed and raring for an obscenely large breakfast. When I say "seriously inebriated," I'm referring to those times when memory quite literally goes on vacation somewhere far, far away. It just so happens that my brain quite recently took trip number three, while I was away in Canada, and the events that followed seem to prove that something sinister and inexplicable is at work here.

Allow me to present my case.

Seriously Inebriated Episode #1
    The drink responsible: This was my ruinous one night stand with tequila, partially the bartender's fault because no way in heck could those tumblers have ever been considered shot glasses, and partially my sister-in-law's fault because she got all starchy about how each tequila shot had to be chased with lots of beer, like it was some unbreachable law forged in lime wedges.

    Hazy summation: I did something that made enough of an impact on the bartender that when he saw me a few days later, he actually asked me if I was "feeling better"--what I did might have involved some loud, impassioned speechmaking, possibly perched on top of the bar (I've been part of a choir since I was 12 and I have really excellent projection, or so I've been told).

    The morning-after punishment: I woke up the next morning to the novel and freaky experience of having no recollection of how I'd gotten...wherever it was I was--thankfully, it turned out to be my own bed. I was not feeling peppy, but I was handling it. Until, I stepped out of the room and found myself engulfed in a putrid stench, moist and wrenching, infinitely nausea enhancing, and inescapable--we were in a very small apartment. I staggered to the kitchen to find the source of my misery, and there I came upon the sight of my mother, merrily making duck soup at nine in the morning. First of all, my mom does not do things like cook in the morning--not even pancakes. Second, she does not ever make duck soup. Chicken, yes; not duck, not a meat so full of fat if you roast it without draining, you can tip the carcass and a river of oil will come flooding out. And third, do you have any idea what duck soup smells like? Suffice it to say you don't want to when you're hung over.

    As if I hadn't been tortured enough, my mom then told me not to go anywhere because we were all going to be spending the day together, as a family. I managed to find a short reprieve by dragging a large amount of laundry down to the blessedly duckless basement of the building, but the rest of the day was spent huddled in the back seat of a minivan with my big, noisy family because it was such a nice day for a drive.

Seriously Drunk Episode #2
    The drink responsible: I was really all over the board this time, but the fact that even now, I can't seem to enjoy wine indicates where my enthusiasm primarily lay.

    Hazy summation: I don't remember anything except that I threw up, something that hadn't happened since I was about five years old and down with a bad flu.

    The morning-after punishment: We were actually on vacation and supposed to catch a ferry, but the ongoing typhoons should have kept us land-locked. But, no, at 7am, there was a jarring wake-up call and what ensued was a two-and-a-half-hour torture session in oceanic hell boat trip, with much rolling and slamming over the playful, bouncy waves. I'll spare you the pretty details, but suffice it to say, I left such an impression on the woman seated near to where I stood clinging to the boat rail that when she saw me a few days later, she came over and asked me if I was "feeling better."

Seriously Inebriated Episode #3
    The drink responsible: Whiskey on the rocks all the way. Lest you're beginning to entertain the notion that I'm some sort of secret lush, let me just state for the record that I went straight for the bar with the express purpose of getting totally smashed. Now, now, "judge not," etc. At the risk of revealing my inner wuss, I was going to make my matron-of-honor speech that night and was pretty much standing on the edge of a total, fear-induced meltdown. I...(wipe sweat off brow)...don't like public speaking. Quite frankly it scares the living hell out of me and can only successfully pull it off when I'm just before that point of losing consciousness.

    Hazy summation: I was told my speech went okay. I think I blubbered a bit toward the end, which gave it some emotional impact and earned me a few possible sympathy votes. I might not remember all that I said but the important thing is that I'll never know just how big a fool I made of myself. After that, I do recall dancing up a storm, as was everyone else at the wedding--I was not the only one who had partaken of the spirits. That dance floor was seriously worked and I remember having a truly excellent time. Until the fact that I hadn't eaten anything the whole day and my stomach was pickling in scotch started catching up with me. Fast forward.

    The morning-after punishment: Okay, I guess it's pretty tough to top duck soup and a stormy boat ride. But have you ever driven the road between Vancouver and Whistler? It cuts through a few mountains. You wouldn't call it a straight road. No. Well, it just so happened that I absolutely had to be on that road that day to get back to Vancouver. Funny how I always remember the trip taking 1 1/2 hours but this time it was really more like 3 1/2. And then when we got to our destination, there were some complications that I won't get into, but essentially, nauseated and exhausted, I found myself sleeping on a stranger's couch, with said stranger snoring in the neighboring room, while I waited for someone I didn't know very well to come get me because of those complications I won't get into. The snoring stranger awoke, baffled to find a not-so-cute Ungoldilocks napping in his living room, I babbled incoherent explanations, the person I didn't know very well finally arrived, and we spent a strained few hours together. I'd never wanted a shower and bed quite so much in all my life.

What do you think? Am I crazy? I think not. Some people get hangovers. I seem to have been gifted with the deluxe You Are Never Going to Have Another Drink Again or the Next Time You Will Really Suffer treatment. Fine. Whoever is in charge of torturing me, you win. I don't think I could handle another round. And even though it's been almost a week since the experience, I still don't want to even smell alcohol. Ah, this new abstinence is going to fit right in with my monk image.

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Haha. Have to just laugh at your episodes. #3 seems to have had the most painful morning-after - yes, I choose duck soup and ferry ride over series of bizzare awkward events with splitting headache. At least, though, no one was around to ask the "are you feeling better" question. My singularly worse alchohol episode was back in college. I don't remember much, but I did learn something. I hate the loss of control and I never want to do anything to induce nausea ever again. Pregnancy aside, of course. 

from Hsin

3/09/2005 11:39:00 PM  

I think you should continue to have "episodes", just for the pure fun (ours) of blogging about it afterwards! :-) 

from Jessica

3/10/2005 12:35:00 AM  

My god, they all sound so awful! Did that stranger not know you were sleeping on his couch?

from Lynn

3/10/2005 07:02:00 PM  

Hsin-Li, I'm glad you were able to laugh at my misery. Well, technically, I never had/have a headache after a bout of drinking. There's only one suffering I undergo and that's pure, undiluted Nausea City. I think it's because my stomach is very stubborn about not throwing up, which would actually be the best thing. It just holds all that poison inside and we both end up miserable.

Actually, there were lots and lots of people asking me the day after Episode #3 if I was feeling better, including my friend's dear old granny, which made me feel most ashamed.

Yes, I totally agree with you that I hate that loss of control, and of not remembering afterward.

Jessica, I will try my best to undergo more torturous experiences for your entertainment. It does seem as if people find my worst stories the most amusing. There is one childhood experience of mine, which *I* thought was rather traumatic and just plain sad, which never fails to squeeze a giggle out of my friends when I recount it. Humph!

Sorry if I horrified you, Lynn. They WERE all awful, I assure you. The next time we meet up, if you're still curious, I could give you the uncut, full-length version of why I ended up sleeping on a stranger's couch in his living room.  

from Rachel

3/17/2005 01:12:00 PM  

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