To Hangovers & Uncomfortable Shoes: A Toast To Poor Life Choices After Lockdown

Tiffany Borgese
Our kitchen wore the hangover as badly as we did. It reminded me of last summer when our house was a revolving door of guests. 'Come back', we’d beg. 'Let’s have more drinks at ours!' We’d have our fun, and then at some point in the night scatter like cockroaches to our bedrooms. A graveyard of glasses and bottles would greet us in the morning but we'd be too hungover to care enough to clean, and instead, we’d head out in search of a medicinal beverage. 
And so it begins again. After four months cocooned on the couch, we changed out of our sad, saggy pyjamas and matching tracksuits. Sydney opens like an oyster. I, for the first time in months, walk somewhere with purpose. 
I strut down the street sporting a leather loafer with a stiff heel, the ones that made my feet bleed the first, second and third time I wore them. The angel on my shoulder asks me if I’m wearing the right shoes, if I should run home and get changed into a more comfortable sneaker. The devil on my other side asks how long it's been since I had the opportunity to cry over an impractical choice.
What would Carrie do? I strut on. 
Perhaps I am approaching this with insufferable optimism, the naive party girl Pollyanna, but I am thrilled by the prospect of experiencing everything on a night out that was previously an inconvenience. Overshooting my walking pace and arriving at the venue sweaty and sticky. Being late for something other than the start of Love Island. Waiting in line for drinks for what seems like an age. Asking the girl in the toilet cubicle next to me if she could spare a square or two. 
I made a bucket list for the weekend. I wanted to do everything I couldn’t for so long — leave the radius, eat in a restaurant, have people over, go to someone else's house, talk to a stranger, go into an actual shop. Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick. I, optimistically, jotted down “smooch a stranger”. I have missed the wordless synchronicity. The tension and the thrill. 

I console myself with the fact that poor choices are a pillar of youth, and I have to make up for lost time. 

I found myself on a dancefloor. Sunday afternoon on a lowered level by the harbour and up above there was a guard rail where people walked past and watched. Looking up I felt like I was in an aquarium in a dentist's office, or rather a zoo. My friend and I joke that everyone on the dancefloor is convinced that we look sexy and glamorous but all the spectators above think that we look like caged monkeys.
Ahh how I had missed getting ready for a night out, how it always seemed to be shrouded in a ritualistic glow. We flit around our house bargaining for bags and borrowing bronzer. I haven’t worn makeup for months and have forgotten how to do it. Somehow the finished result manages to look like fan art of my actual face.
My room looks as if it's been raided in some B-grade Hollywood spy flick. Of course, it was just me trying on a thousand outfits before settling on the first thing I tried on. I have never had more clothes, yet I still have nothing to wear. 
I am tap-happy at pubs all week and weekend, convincing myself I am a philanthropist — helping the economy in dire times. I accidentally pay $21 for a cocktail that is garnished with peas (?) and rounds of cucumber.  Uber fees are jacked to extortionate prices, but the show must go on. I chat absolute rubbish to strangers for hours. Eventually, I shepherd my housemates home, they lope along loose-limbed — we’re still ready to wring more out of the night but our phones have all died which now signals the end of an evening. No check-ins, no vaccine passport, no calling up a friend to annex their plans.
I, clad in my indestructible bravado, wrote on my bucket list, do something I regret. By the end of the weekend, I had another item ticked off. Unfortunately, the thing I had forgotten about doing something you regret, is that you do immediately regret it. I console myself with the fact that poor choices are a pillar of youth, and I have to make up for lost time. 
My best friend slept in my bed on Friday and Saturday. Her bedroom is down the hall but we’re not quite done with each other yet. Each morning we wake up, mascara staining my pillow, and dissect the night before, jubilant with the knowledge that so! much! has! happened! We can’t believe how much living you can cram into one night. We groan, feel a headache rolling in and agree wholeheartedly on two things 1) god it feels good to feel bad and 2) we can’t fucking wait to do it again. 

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