Ah, so you went on a big one then now, did you?
Yeah, you went out on the piss! What did you drink? Whatever it is they had! Who were you drinking with? The lads! You started on the beers and then moved on to more beers. Then you went from the beers on to shots and from shots on to darkness. Yes, yes, and yes! Nothing quite like the spiritual joy that comes from smiling and holding a drink above your head and maybe getting a bit in your hair and being with people you like.
This is your Friday. This is your Saturday. This is your Tuesday or Thursday more often than you care to admit as well.
Now it’s the morning after and your entire body is both looking like and very much near to your kitchen bin. Come the fuck on mate, time roll yourself off the couch you passed out on at 4AM (it’s 8AM now and it’s all so, so, so tough). It’s time to surf. The waves are good or and you promised to meet your friend’s out there. Here’s how it’s going to go:
Expectation: Sit through a wave of pain or four in bed. Have a bit of a wince. Get up quite quickly altogether, though.
Reality: I mean, let’s be honest: you are hungover. Do you want to move? You do not want to move. Maybe you’ll muster up the energy just to grab your phone. You, laying sideways with one eye open. You, with your head barely off the pillow. You, phone in hand. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Twitter again. Alarm pop-ups breaking this routine every four minutes because you keep hitting snooze on every actual alert you set for this morning. Every urge of motivation is quickly shot down with a wave of aching pain.
You are Sisyphus and this is your boulder. Close your eyes and hope for some other Greek god, the god of pain and dehydration or whatever, will swing by and fix you up even though they won’t. No one will.
And in short you’re going to be here for some time. You’ll sit on the edge of the bed for half an hour checking texts, and, when you finally get up to get dressed, there is a sick slosh sound beneath you. Look down. Lift your foot. Well, there’s your wetsuit, still wet from your lunch surf yesterday. You’ve fucked it.
Pre-food and hydration.
Expectation: Put some water and a small bite in your system to balance out the alcohol. A carbohydrate is always good.
Reality: Shag a load of coffee on an empty stomach because you’re already running 40-minutes behind.
Expectation: Hop in the car, flip on a playlist you like and get to the beach.
Reality: At some point in your hangover the evening prior splays itself in front of you like she sort of Aphex Twin video. This happens more often than not the second you get comfortable in your own car. And it’ll send you into an anxious fit. Made unworkable by the recollection and the reality of The Terrible Things You Did Last Night. You’re alone, in a car. It’s quiet, in the car. This is how you die, in the car.
You doing a scan of all your bodily functions like you’re the T-800 in Terminator and the word “ERROR” just keeps coming up as every recorded drunken behaviour and slurred sentences replays itself in your head at the same time. It’s alright, just start the engine and breathe.
Remember trying to hi-five your friend goodbye and elbowing them instead? You’re fine, ten and two. You ran out into the smoking garden to throw up in your hands and you just sort of, well, stood there, holding it, and, like, why would you ever do that? Relax, start the car. Why did you call that bathroom attendant a “cunt” for only giving you a single mint? This is the worst actual part of the morning. You’ll still flip on that playlist you like, though. It just won’t be the same.
Expectation: Things start off a tad stiff but the water does a decent job waking you up. In short: the paddle is the same business it always is.
Reality: You need to paddle out somewhere that is out of the way because at this point you’re an actual liability. You look for anywhere you can get out that is out of the way. You need this. A channel. A rip. Anything. There are bags under your eyes, a metabolized alcohol smell coming off your forehead and hair and you feel like death and you didn’t commit a murder. For some reason your legs are cultivating a heavy bit of sweat underneath your wetsuit.
Anyway, you find a spot that’ll be best for paddling out. Then you immediately get sucked inside because you have no energy. Your body would much rather keep itself alive than help you move your arms around a bit. Unbelievable. After twenty minutes and just as many duck dives you make it. “Big night then, was it?” someone who seems too fresh-eyed and sober says to you and like: yeah, that’s the point. “Feeling it this morning, hey?” “Fucking, yes,” you want to snap back. “How are you fucking not? It’s the weekend.” But you don’t. You say nothing. There’s no point doing so when you know it’ll just come out sounding like a sad wheeze. Forget it. Why bother. Take a few minutes to catch your breath, maybe do a vomit, and breathe. The second you catch your breath a set will come and just house the entire lineup. These are the rules.
The actual surf.
Expectation: The surf will be a bit shit so you can blame surfing a bit shit on that while you feel a bit shit altogether. In and out in an hour, tops.
Reality: The surf is always better when you don’t want it to be and worse when you’re stoked to get out there. This is just what always happens.
So, seeing as you’re sitting in the lineup hanging out of your own arsehole the surf will, more often that not, be: fun.
Yes, the surf will be good and you will surf bad. It’s incredibly frustrating. You’d think you were a wounded soldier who has somehow battled through the Somme the way you celebrate catching one, half-decent wave.
Expectation: Shower, bit of food, and back off to bed.
Reality: All that, yeah. But that “bit of food” always ends up being drastic. Preposterous. Usually some deeply fried number that is less a reward and more an overreaction.
Two whole breakfast sandos from the local counter. An entire pack of Marlboro Reds and the strongest coffee. Twenty euros of McDonald’s breakfast. Whatever makes you feel whole, really.
Quick note on people who go for the latter, there, though: that’s a cry for help, right? I mean, committing such an egregious degree of carbo-cide just to quash a hangover is grim. Like killing a house spider with a cruise missile, that. Anyone who does it is psychotic. What’s going on there, buddy? Can you put that hash brown down please, mate, and have something to drink that isn’t a soda?
Bonus section: Cancelling your plans altogether and staying bed.
You’re already the physical embodiment of regret. So why not pile it on a bit more? Pick up your phone, get to your messages but do not read a thing you sent last night. No. Just send this: I’m not going to make it, not feeling my best. Let me know if you get some fun ones, could be down for an evening sesh.” A final sentence that rings as useless and hollow as you are as a person.
At some point, sooner or later, you’ll have to renounce alcohol in all its forms. And as you lay beneath your duvet, rigid and still, heart palpitating like a rusty generator, you think: why not now?
Yes, just get on with it. You just had to cancel on surfing because you felt like such a garbage human. Just start off by telling everyone you are doing one of those dry months.
“Just some tonic water and a lime for me,” you say at the bar. Don’t you feel, brighter? You’re big into jogging now. Ah, yes, getting up isn’t a chore anymore. Reward yourself with a sugar-free Coke as your friends obliterate beers in a pub garden. Goodness you’re just so alive and — hah, what’s that? The lads are down at the beach? Well, I guess it is Saturday. Might as well drop by. Ah, hold on, they kept some beers on ice for me? Well that’s just too kind. It’s just one Kronenbourg. That can’t won’t hurt. But just one: you promised yourself you’d go for a paddle around sunset. Ah shoot, the wind’s staying on it. Wait, Di-did you bring some nice bottles of wine here too? Ah, mate. Wha—what’s that, hey? Yeah I’d be down to go to the pub. You’re buying? Hah, you fucker. Next scene: deleted. You wake up, roll over, and dozens of bottle caps fall out of your pocket. You start counting them to see what sort of damage you did and just decide to die once you hit eighteen. Six days you lasted. Just six. That’s not even a full week.