It’s been a while since I had a good old-fashioned hangover. I can’t say I’ve really been missing them. I think I jinxed myself a while ago, because I actually said out loud, “You know, I haven’t drank myself sick and had a vile hangover in quite some time! Maybe I’ve finally learned moderation!” Then I spent several weeks at a high altitude. Then I returned to sea level, where my red blood cell-rich blood kept my brain and other tissues hyperoxygenated, to the point where I was crumbling pot brownies into my ice cream for an entire weekend and achieving nothing but a faint buzz, while the owners of the pot brownies were encouraging me to finish them off, since the very same brownies had caused them to spend the night in the bar of the local Holiday Inn unable to find their way home.

This altitude change and subsequent intoxicant tolerance enhancement lulled me into a misguided sense of invincibility. Unbeknownst to me, sometime between last weekend and this weekend, my body re-adjusted to this altitude and my oxygenation ability returned to normal. I was unpleasantly surprised to find that without an extra storehouse of red blood cells, you can’t split a bottle of wine with a friend, then go out and have a few pints and a shot, without making a tacit committment to spend Sunday curled in the fetal position cursing the end of Prohibition.

A hangover is such a weird thing. One minute you’re drunk, the next you’re violently ill, the next you’re unconscious, and the next, it seems, you’re experiencing what it would be like to have your brain surreptitiously removed, used in an infomercial demonstration for a fruit dessicator, and placed back inside your skull.

A hungover day is a loop outside time. It brings the week to a screeching halt with the last thing you remember Saturday night, and you wake up Monday morning having blocked out the entire experience of Sunday. “I had the most horrible dream,” you might think. “For twenty-four hours, my body became an apocolyptic wasteland.”

But sometimes the hangover can abate in the early evening, giving you the strange burst of energy that comes with the euphoria of being able to move your eyes without inducing nausea. It doesn’t make it worth the agony, but the moment you return to your body is always interesting. The gyroscope in your solar plexus suddenly stops spinning, the vertigo disappears, your eye sockets no longer ache. That’s a good moment.

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