Caroline told me about ‘The Fear’ this weekend. I knew about the fear but just hadn’t got around to creating a name for it. Many have written about hangovers in their 20’s (shake ’em off with a coffee and a run) or 30’s (shake ’em off with hair of the dog), but in the 40’s there’s a new phenomenon. You regret the Jaegerbombs of course but that’s simple cause and effect. You can deal with that because that is a tangible known entity. You drank poison, you feel bad when your body reacts to it. Wait it out and the liver does it’s very clever metabolising thing and in a couple of days it passes and you’re good to go. But The Fear is the intangible. The Fear is the bit you have no control over. Because The Fear is the nagging feeling you’ve said something to someone but you can’t remember what it might be. Over 40’s drunkeness has that added component: memory loss. So for example I was out at a big party on Saturday and I remember everything right up until a plate of pork arrived and then I remember walking home carrying Mrs G’s shoes at 3.30am. There’s an unaccounted gap of about 5 hours where I recall fleeting images of people and sounds but not one single conversation.
The Fear lasts until Wednesday. It’s Wednesday because it’s acknowledged by those who live through The Fear that is sufficient time for the the phone to have rung with an irate aquantaince who frankly cant believe how crass you are or for news to have traveled back via Facebook or the wifes network that some terrible truth has been told or some awful insult made. The coast is essentially clear after 4 days and you can either have said nothing that’s going to cause someone to get a divorce or you didn’t say anything at all and as you suspected you spend the whole night with your jaw slack trying to control your eyes.
It’s Tuesday morning as I write. Two more days of The Fear.