Hangover, Too

by Tom Swift

You can, of course, experience a hangover without having first consumed any amount of alcohol or drugs. The body reacts to just about any over indulgence.

I staggered out of bed yesterday morning and tried to pry my eyes open — about needed a power tool — as lightning reflected through my living room window like the last slow turns of a disco ball. I didn’t immediately recognize that the lightning was, in fact, lightning. I wondered for a hot minute if the cops were outside.

Is the party over, ocifer?

I wrote a lot the day before. It is how I started my day. It is how I ended my day. I wasn’t so much as in a groove as I had a deadline. I could not sleep on the piece even one more night. And, of course, the daily rounds — work, workout, dog duties, dishes — did not take a vacation (well, maybe the dishes got something of a rest). It was the proverbial long-ass day.

One of the body’s reactions I can count on after deadline is the need for immediate stress release. After sending the piece I was way past tired but still well wired, as they say, and I had already stayed up even later than late to finish the writing. Meanwhile, dinner had been cheap and easy and almost entirely carby.

Deadlines are essential for me or else I might not ever finish. And as someone with a fair amount of experience in higher education, this time of year brings back memories of the rush to wrap up a term, a year, a degree. These are unique times, some call them stressful times, and, to be sure, I don’t enjoy every minute of them. Generally, it’s not advised to go to extremes. Yet sometimes you must. And I feel uniquely alive on deadline days and nights. I think to myself “what if I could always keep up this pace. Think of how much I could get done.”

The body has an answer to that sort of mind distortion, of course. And usually, at least for me, that answer is felt the very next morning.