Opening my eyes was my first mistake. When you wake up, and there is an eerie calm for just a split second, before a mayhem of panics rush at you screaming, you should cancel the day. Squeeze your eyes shut, hard, like a child wishing for something it really wants. Shut them and cut deals with the God of sleep, let me go back to sleep and ride this one out.
I tried, but like Macbeth, it would appear I had murdered sleep.
With bed being of no comfort, my body willed me downstairs to where water and medicine could be found. On my way downstairs, and in an attempt to figure out how I came to be like this, I cued up the highlights of the previous night. While the beginning was quite clear and detailed, the rest of the night’s highlights resembled an out of control carousel. Out of the motion blur, random faces or incidents would jump out yelling at me. It would take a trip upstairs to the video referee to see exactly what went on. That or a spectator. I’d have to call someone. I didn’t appear to be injured, and this seemed to be my house, so the “how” could wait.
Thinking about the previous night was only making me feel worse anyway. All that spinning… It was time to address the elephant in my head and whatever poltergeist was causing me to shake and walk with a stoop.
I located the head medicine, and washed it down with 2 pints of water while I propped myself up on the kitchen counter with one hand. I knew I was in a bad way. I did that sloppy, fevered oasis in the desert drinking. Rivulets of water making their way across my face and down my neck, soaking what turned out to be the shirt in which I slept.
I old manned it to the couch and lay there. My eyes told me not to try the television. They weren’t able just yet for colors. My ears agreed. I tried to do the shaky leg thing. It was just upsetting my stomach. It would appear that most of my body was at odds with my brain. The brain was being sensible and trying to fix things, while everything else was telling it to shut up whilst locking themselves in their personal safe place to get their shit together.It looked like I would have several hours of this ahead of me. The panic was getting pretty bad and I was developing The Yips…
Golfers get The Yips. It happens when they try those delicate little putts. Everyone goes quiet in the gallery. The commentators are whispering as the golfer calms himself and goes through his routine, shutting everything out and allowing the muscle memory that comes with hours of practice to take over. He stands over the ball and lines up his shot. As he moves confidently into his backswing, for no good reason other than his nerves finally storm the barricade his reason had erected, his brain screams HOLY SHIT WHAT WAS THAT!!!!
Hangover Yips are much worse. They are the poltergeist inside you. They are in control of your body, particularly hands (when attempting to pick anything up) legs/feet (when moving around) and heart (palpitations). The Yips also work in conjunction with The Dooms, a malevolent anxiety based entity that is the chief cause of most people’s Sundays being ruined due to worrying about going back to work.
With all of this horror bedding down to stay with me for the foreseeable future, my brain got an idea, and sent out an email to all the other Heads of Department in my body. It read:
I know how to fix this! We need a bottle of cold Club Orange and one of those chocolate fudge bars we had that one time. You know the one. Thorntons right? I know, I know. We can only get one of them by walking all the way into the Thorntons shop in town, but listen, I’ve done the maths. This will fix everything. I guarantee it. If we all work together we can get there and make this nightmare end.
It appeared that everything in my body agreed with this risky plan, primarily because right then I could think of nothing else. It was like I was possessed. For the first time in my life, my mind was blank. I sat upright and said aloud “Thorntons chocolate thing and fizzy orange…”
I looked down and I appeared to be wearing some sort of pyjama bottoms, so, speed being of paramount importance in this endeavor, I decided these would compliment the shirt beautifully. I eschewed socks in favour of whatever shoes were already downstairs. They were shoes. Not runners. Happy not to have a mirror, but secretly not really giving a damn I went for a jacket. The closest one was a second hand denim jacket with the fur, ripped, with holes everywhere. I was ready to go to the ball.
I left and began my near death march. The streets were way too loud, and the people seemed to veer into me. It was at this point I saw a clock and realised it was just 9am, and it occurred to me I was definitely still slightly drunk. This shocking realisation that the hangover had not yet shown its true power steeled my determination to complete my task.
Upon reaching town I stole a glance at my reflection in a large shop window. What I saw confirmed what I already knew, but chose to ignore; I was displaying some world class bed head to finish off the whole ensemble. I was still walking with a limp, and I was definitely wearing pyjama pants.
I started to feel worse. My stoop had become more pronounced, and what I was doing was less a controlled walk and more me throwing my head forward and willing my body to follow. And I was having ever increasingly powerful Yips. It was like every couple of minutes I’d get a fright, and my body would tense up and I would involuntarily spasm slightly. I needed to get my supplies and get home.
Soon I was in a shop purchasing the sweet wet Club Orange. I went outside, opened it and drank so lustily I drew worried looks. I realised I looked like a junkie needing a hit of sugar. I went back in for a second bottle.
When I got to Thorntons I was still taking sugary gulps from the open bottle in my hand, while the other was awkwardly sticking out of my pocket. Thankfully the shop was absent other customers, with only a security guard, whose ears pricked up when I walked in, and a cashier.
I sloped around the shop muttering “fudge…fudge…fudge…” and eventually found what I was looking for. The security guard was by this time very interested in me.
I picked up around 6 or 7 bars, and along with the bottle of orange, arranged them in my arms like I would if I was hurriedly trying to steal as many doubloons as I could from a treasure chest I happened to stumble upon.
The cashier looked at me cautiously. There was no doubt from the look she threw my way that she was both worried for me and of me. As I went to put the precious chocolate on the counter BANG! A giant Yip tremor shot through me. It rushed up my spine, into my neck and threw my shoulders forward and my hands jumped up to see if everyone was ok.
The chocolate and the bottle fell on the display counter and then on the floor. My brain, having used all of its power and influence to get me this far, had nothing left to give. I sighed an exhausted sigh, gave the cashier a Deputy Dog Poor Me look and hung my head as I collected myself to gather my cargo once more.
When I turned around the security guard was picking the chocolate off the floor, and when I motioned pathetically that I was gathering myself to help him do the very same, he put up his hand and said he had it covered.
The cashier took everything and put it in a little bag. She was smiling. That sort of smile you give to a kid who is really trying but is still being shit at whatever it is he is trying to do. I managed to thank her and the security guard, and once again shambled my way out of the shop.
So remember, in future, opening your eyes will be your first mistake…