Total and complete shame on me. The next time I encounter alcohol, I am 18. I have just graduated high school, and I am about to go on a trip to Ireland!! I have been dying to go for years and it is finally happening!! My mom, Eli, and I board an afternoon flight for a quick 8 hour trip across the Atlantic. We get over international waters, the flight attendants start walking down the rows with drink carts. “Anything to drink for you, Miss?” The friendly flight attendant waits with a smile on his face. My mom and I both order a glass of wine, Cabernet, while Eli gets a gin and tonic. “Cheers!” This trip is going to be great!
We land in Dublin in the early morning. Being jet lagged and in a mental mindset of still being on US time, our first stop is to the Guinness Factory. Eli cries at the beautiful factory full of beer. Throughout the tour, mini samples are available. From the first sip, I am not a fan. I drink it anyway because as everyone knows you have to acquire a taste for beer. It is heavy and thick and I suddenly understood the meaning of the phrase “sitting in your stomach like a lead balloon”. I have 2 more samples and at the end of the tour in a glass circular room overlooking the city, we each get a full Irish pint of Guinness. I drink less than a third and give the rest to Eli; I really can’t stomach the taste or the bloating I am feeling just from the samples.
After the tour, we go bar hopping and explore the city. I am 18 but I look like I’m 14 with my braided pigtails, which furthers the excitement of not getting carded. The whole day is a whirlwind and by the time we get to dinner, all of us are quite drunk (even my mom who rarely drinks). Eli is practically falling asleep in his soup, my mom and I am too busy laughing to wake him up. It is hazy and fun. The next thing I know, we are in a little gift shop – the hazy feeling is now turning into the world spinning. All of the sudden, I feel like I have been spun around several times with my eyes closed and when I open them the world has become a one year old’s finger painting. I can’t focus, everything is spinning, I feel like I can barely walk straight yet according to my mom, I did quite well. The focus I have when walking around drunk would become a useful skill that I would pride myself on years later when I was clearly not sober.
We go back to the hotel and it is the first time I have ever thrown up when it wasn’t the result of a stomach bug. This is the absolute worst feeling on earth. Please somebody, knock me out and make it stop. I’m crying because I don’t feel well, I’m begging somebody, anybody to put me out of my misery. I fall flat on my back onto the bed and hear my mom say “oh no, sweetie! Turn over onto your stomach, you won’t be so dizzy”. She helps me turn over and that’s the last thing I remember before passing out.
The next morning, I’m pretty sure death has washed over me and by way of some magic spell I have been brought back to life. My eye lids are stuck together, my hair is a mess, my stomach feels like it was turned inside out, and my head is pounding like someone took a jackhammer to my brain. What is the answer to this horrible feeling known as a hangover!! Someone please for the love of humanity give me a cure!!
I find the cure an hour or so later in a little Mexican restaurant down the street from our hotel. I know…a Mexican restaurant in Ireland, but are were desperate. Even though the thought of food completely repulses me I know I need something in my stomach to calm it down. “Hair of the dog!” Eli says as he orders a drink. My mom doesn’t like the idea but I get one too, a mimosa. Hey, it has orange juice in it which is a breakfast drink, appropriate at 10am! And everyone knows that a healthy dose of Vitamin C is good for your health! Eli is right. Almost instantly I felt better. Another useful skill that I would continue to use later on in my drinking career. In the years to come I would be drinking mimosas anytime they were available, even if it was 11 at night, again for health reasons. The next 9 days are filled with excursions, travel, music, and of course, drinking.