Last night I drank a bottle of wine over the course of watching “Top Chef: Texas”, “The Daily Show”, and “The Golden Girls”. Nothing big. To me it was one, insignificant bottle of affordable chardonnay that gave me a comfortable buzz and would be forgotten by breakfast.
The first warning sign that something was amiss was that “breakfast” came at 6 AM, when I bolted up wide awake with no alarm. Since my coffee was set to be brewed at 8:15, until then I found myself in a no man’s land of odd TV programming and even weirder status updates. Who *starts* watching a movie at 4 AM, and then throws that info on Facebook? At 4 AM, I would expect myself to be posting much more colorful status updates. And they’re usually the ones I have the good sense to delete before anyone besides the smattering of responsible morning people can ever see them.
The worst part about all this was the insane and–dare I say–disproportionate hangover I was experiencing. I repeat: ONE bottle of wine, and I felt like I had cleaned out half the liquor cabinet and floated Jaegermeister for another financial quarter. Granted that happens sometimes…but this was not a dramatic breakup. Or Christmas. Or Flag Day. It was just 750 mL of wine on a Wednesday night.
My original plan was to go to the gym like I always do, and put in a good 1 ½-2 hour workout to get me jazzed for the rest of the day. However, the hangover had me over a barrel, and I’d never worked out with one before. I decided to see if it was even possible. I Googled “Can you exercise with a hangover?” and found an article from Men’s Health that addressed the issue. Setting aside the fact I was starting to feel like a massive douche just by reading this article in the first place, I pressed on. Apparently, you can, and according to one trainer, it can actually be a hangover cure. I was sold. I loathe making up excuses and how bad could it be?
The drive to the gym went well, and I thought I could feel myself returning to normal when my friend texted me a hugely embarrassing incident he had just endured. I felt as if laughing out loud at his unfortunate situation had jump started the endorphin flow, and I was quite thankful for that. Sorry, Eric.
I could tell I would be dragging ass, but the hour ahead didn’t seem terribly insurmountable. In fact, the worst part about getting started was this man and woman who had clearly just met, and were having one of those tacky “gym pickup” conversations. They were just standing right in front of the towels, not moving or paying attention to anyone, so I had to sort of duck around them to get what I needed. It was then I heard the guy drop the words “Bulls” and “Michael Jordan” while she enthusiastically nodded her head. That topic seemed awfully outdated. One long patented Nathan Eye Roll later, I was on the treadmill.
I set up shop between an old man who was leisurely walking, and an Asian lady who was just absolutely killing it; I did so because this was my only option, unless I wanted to be too far away from the TVs to watch “The View” on mute. One click of the iPod later, and I’d begun my hungover workout with A-Ha’s “Take On Me” and all the optimism in the world.
Trouble began almost immediately. Five minutes in, and I’d accidentally hit the emergency stop button with my uncharacteristically flailing hands. A minor inconvenience, it could happen to anyone. I made note of the 40 calories I’d burned and reset the program for 60 minutes. Or so I thought. Six minutes later, and I realized I forgot to hit the “0” after the 6. OK…so I’m a little off. I made note of the additional 50 calories I’d burned, and set the program for the third time.
As someone who can power walk 7 or 8 miles a day with ease and has been exercising consistently for over a year, I started to feel like I was coming across as a moronic newbie to my fellow gym patrons. I even felt obligated to explain the situation to the people around me so they wouldn’t have that impression of me, but thankfully I didn’t. I began sweating profusely and starting to feel dizzy.
Usually I zone out by a carefully selected combination of watching TV and listening to music, but the former was especially troublesome at this time. I wasn’t sure if it was for real or the hangover playing tricks on me, but even with Will.I.Am riding an elephant on the moon in a music video, the strangest thing on the televisions had to be Dr. Oz standing in front of a huge screen that boldly read: “HAIRY NIPPLES”. Squinting, I realized that this was indeed for real. Some lady in the audience giddily bounced onstage and started putting on a lab coat. I swear to God, they *must* be paying these people; who in the hell would go on national TV to be Dr. Oz’s lab assistant for the “hairy nipples” segment without some sort of suitable compensation? I made a mental note to research this more fully in my spare time.
The segment was distracting, but not distracting enough to hide the fact that I was not power walking, but slogging away while dripping like I’d been sprayed with a garden hose for good measure. The Asian lady hadn’t even broken a sweat, and the old fart next to me had traded up to a light jog and was kicking my ass. Meanwhile, I was still in warm-up speed and about ready to faint on the spot. I had these awful visions of blacking out while watching Whoopi, and then waking up to the hot guy trainers gently slapping my face awake while they also realize I was two songs into the “Pretty Woman” soundtrack. This shit couldn’t go on. I cut my losses and hit the Stop button, this time on purpose.
I name my running accomplishments after celebrities. For example, 7 miles is a “Katie Holmes” (Joan Rivers said Katie runs 7 miles a day, and “almost makes it to the gate to escape”), and 8 miles is an “Eminem” (after the movie). How many miles did I get hungover? A whopping 0.99. Dumbfounded, I decided to name that distance after some fat celebrity, and it’s still officially a toss-up between Val Kilmer and Dog the Bounty Hunter’s wife. The absolute worst part was that as I was leaving, that couple was STILL standing by the towels. I hadn’t even run long enough to outlast an insipid, ridiculous, straight- person gym conversation. The shame was palpable.
As I entered the locker room, heaving and sweating as if I’d rolled a giant boulder up Mt. Everest in Hell, I finally came to a conclusion. Wine may be a lot of things: icebreaker, dinner companion, and therapist…but it was definitely the shittiest workout buddy one could ask for.
F*ck you, Yellow Tail; you’re not invited back to the gym with me ever again. I’ll take back that 7-day visitor’s pass now, thank you very much.