When this post from the Book Pirate, complete with jagged-toothed drunken photo, showed up in my reader, I was already considering a post here regarding what I was planning to call my "alcoholic menopause." Over the last few weeks, I've been noticing a distinct change in how drinking effects me, and given the major emotional rollercoaster a certain level of booze seems to inspire, it made me think of the changes that women go through in middle life. (No disrespect intended in the appropriation of the term.)
My old routine used to be that as the night wore on, I got louder and more chatty, and that was the major arc of any drinking binge. I would likely get pretty goofy (often depending on how much I had to eat before starting the whiskey flowing), too, and I'd go until I either got sick or just got home and passed out, and usually woke up fresh and dandy the next day, raring to go. I often joked that my mutant power, were I an X-Man, would have been to never be hungover, which would suck in battle but would be quite handy if one were to spend any social time with Wolverine.
Lately, however, not only has a small headache become a common morning-after symptom, but I find my rocketship ride into obnoxiousness now takes dips into other emotional territory. Most obviously, it riles up both my dark humor and my dark humours, leading me from picking on you, good sir, to then turning that same force upon myself, full blast. Also in there somewhere is a crying jag, an eruptive burst of tears that I am powerless to stop. This has happened three times in the last month, and since that actually encompasses most of my drinking in the period, it's a disturbing trend. The weeping tends to be sparked by something real emotionally, but the expession is a severe overreaction. The worst was the night I ended up sitting in an alley as I was walking home, waiting for it to pass. That was the same night that I went home and, in a baffling move, made an enemies list, Richard Nixon-style, detailing who at the festivities I did not trust. I'm happy to report, though, that did not include anyone who I had not just met that evening, the actual friends I had been out with were rock solid. (On that list, I did identify one real danger in bar culture: the end-of-the-night moral relativist. You know the guy, who starts saying things like, "Hey, man, whatever happens, happens--we're all adults here," just before last call.)
Another amusing moment came this past Friday when I was talking to a table of gentlemen that included the Book Pirate, and I suddenly had a flash that I had been in that spot before, speaking to a table of gentlemen, but without any idea of when or whom. This, I would guess, is deja vu. I have never had deja vu before. If this particular instance of it is indicative of what it's really like, it is not so much recognizing a familiar coincidence, but a weird feeling of being haunted by something you can't make fully materialize. It was eerie.
I have no idea what any of this means, nor if I will ever report on it again, but it's something I'm going to be keeping an eye on to see how it develops. I have always been blessed with an excellent drunk's memory, so I do have the ability to sort and analyze the experience the morning after. And lest anyone start to think I have a drinking problem, again let me stress that I imbibe maybe once a week, twice on rare occasions. I am not out of control, I'm just a freak of some kind.
But then, we knew that, didn't we?
"I can haz champagne, and you can't stops me."
Current Soundtrack: Stereolab, "The Nth Degress/Magne-Music;" the Moonglows, Best of...
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All text (c) 2008 Jamie S. Rich