I'm not proud of this, but yesterday I had the mother of all hangovers. The sort of hangover that reminds you each second of your constant decaying and messy mortality. The kind of hangover where you can't even eat. The one where you wake up still slightly drunk, so you have no idea how unfathomably horrible the rest of your day will be, your trauma building and building as the minutes creep up and punch you in the temples.
The reason for this beast of a hangover is my own idiocy. I'm 34, not 21. And frankly, no one any age should mix the kinds of alcohol I did the other night. White wine and tequila? Champagne and whiskey? Yep, I was that stupid.
And, oh, did I pay. I woke up to the phone ringing. It took me a solid ten minutes to reach the foot of the bed for the phone still in my jacket from the night before, barely alive with 8% battery power. It was work. There was a fire in West Oakland and thus the BART system was unable to take commuters either to or from the East Bay. The opening server was stuck in Berkeley. My boss was calling to see if I could come in early.
I assessed the damage. I decided it wasn't too bad. In retrospect, I was still intoxicated, because I was worse than bad. I just didn't know it yet.
I called back and said I'd be there as soon as I could. Still, I sat in bed a solid fifteen minutes trying to move my limbs to the floor. I was finally able to clothe myself and walk the 6 or so blocks to pick up the 9-Bruno.
Staggering into the sunlight, I dragged my body the length of the five-minute walk with immense effort. Naturally, as soon as I boarded the bus and it began its bumpy route, a crashing wave of nausea rose inside me.
"Are you tired or something?," a man asked me.
"Sir, please don't talk to me right now," I pleaded, and he scooted backwards in his seat.
A vagrant who smelled distinctly of pee took the seat right under where I was standing. I choked back the urge to puke. He asked me if I wanted to buy any menthol singles.
"The very idea makes me want to vomit," I told him honestly, my voice ragged.
"Damn. Okay, then," he said back and left me to sway, my face turning ever greener.
A large man dressed like a woman mercifully got up from a corner seat, which I immediately snagged. I watched a young black man in well-tailored pants and a perfect-fitting sweater board the bus. As he did the driver accelerated and he stumbled, stepping on the foot of a dirty white guy listening to a Walkman and drinking Arizona tea from a tall, hot pink can.
"You stepped right on my toe!," the white guy yelled.
"That's why I said excuse me," replied the black man.
Then the white guy began to shout, but the black man quickly eclipsed him with his own shouting of, "Don't TRY ME. Don't TRY ME. Don't TRY ME," until the white guy was quiet.
When the driver stopped to give a passenger bus route information the white guy turned his annoyance toward her. "JUST DO YOUR FUCKING JOB, LADY, AND DRIVE THE BUS. YOUR JOB IS NOT TO ARGUE."
I put my head in my hands.
I then heard more arguing from the front: "Fuck you!"
"No, fuck you!"
I looked up from trying to hold it together to see two senior women, each well above the age of 70, in a shouting match with one another.
"Is that...two old people yelling?," a teenaged girl asked her mother, who was wagging her head at the entire scene. "Yep," she replied. And then the teenaged girl mused about what the world is coming to.
Even more verbal fights erupted before I dismembarked and 5th and Market. With lead legs I lumbered through the crowd. The sous chef and another cook stood at the doors smoking cigarettes. They laughed as they saw me coming.
"One foot in front of the other, Brittney. You can do it," one of them cheered.
And I did do it. I waited tables, albeit few of them--BART being down really cut into our lunch business--then went home and napped, trying to rally for an art show I promised I'd attend. And I did go, but had to bail after just half an hour.
The moral of this story is: Don't be a complete moron like me. And that even if a hangover commute makes for a good story, your liver asks that you consider the consequences. Which? So very not worth it.