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2005-06-23 - 4:09 p.m.

Yesterday was a hangover day. Not just in the usual, desperate to crawl underneath a large rock and slowly rot away day, but also in the notice absolutely everything around you kind of way. For whatever reason, when your stomach churns and burns, flopping over itself as it stirs down the gasoline it’s trying to process, the world seems to slow a little bit, and in your quiet misery you begin to notice all these little things which probably shouldn’t be noticed.

The girl on the subway, weighed down by a crammed carrier bag on her left shoulder, a black purse dangling off her right; her left hand engaged with a bag of groceries and an open phone she was poking at with fervor. As she flipped through contacts and schedules on her blinking cell, her left hand, her only appendage not thoroughly occupied, laid flipped back and open, her pink nails twirling the air as if she were fingering the possibilities.

The two women, sloshed enough on a Thursday night to spend a full minute fighting the women’s room door. It was a pull door. They pushed. For a full minute. Each shoving the other out of the way, insisting she had the magic touch to tame the unyielding knob. I wandered into the bar for the sole purpose of abusing their bathroom. Mingling about the hipsters playing classic video games against the wall, I accidentally caught eyes with the bartender, who shot the me “big-tip” smile while she reached for the taps. My allowance spent, not wanting to arouse suspicion, I quickly jumped into the old “I’m-looking-for-someone" ploy followed by the sigh of frustration, and the “Oh, well, I guess I’ll go to the bathroom” eyebrow raise. Despite all of that work, and a busting bladder, I stood rapt in the squabble outside the next bathroom. It was wonderfully capped, as the woman who had been inside the entire time, unlocked the door, and crept carefully out, much to the stunned surprise of the two ladies who’d been having a wrestling match on the door.

On my corner, as the last of the drunks shuffled their way home, two large men, bulging out of their slim cut wife beaters, chain smoked cigarettes and stared down anyone who dared pass by. I never caught eyes with them. My attention was drawn to the tiny little white dog that shivered between their feet. No more than the mass of a pair of cotton balls, I figured he didn’t make much of an attack dog.

At home I flopped into my chair, again to dine on Bud and canned Mac and cheese. A day of noticing everything in slow drippy hangover existence can wear on one’s being. Thankfully, a full stomach and a bit of the hair of the dog can cure this momentary lapse in communion with normal space-time. Before I finally fall asleep I realize why people drink on weekends. It’s not responsibility. Simply the ability to avoid the inundation of reality. That…or better parties.

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