I woke up around 9 AM on Sunday, the Lord’s Day, and the first thing I noticed was that I was not wearing my clothes. Not that I wasn’t wearing clothes; I was. But the clothes I was wearing were not mine. I do not own a “Hollister Varsity” sweatshirt, and I certainly do not own bright red sweatpants.
Sadly, this was not the slightly embarrassing end to a casual love affair begun the night before, and I did not wake up snuggled next to the man whose clothing I was wearing. Instead, I woke up quite alone, face down on my common room’s imitation-suede futon.
I thumped my hand around on the floor surrounding the futon until I found my glasses, clumsily pushing them up onto my face before heading downstairs to wash the stale taste of cheap booze out of my mouth. It was only after splashing water on my face that I realized the gunk blurring the lenses of my glasses was not the cluster of greasy fingerprints I had assumed it to be, and that it was, in fact, gore. My own gore. Just a quick glance in the mirror revealed that my left cheek was decorated with a smattering of scrapes, while my right eye (the main cause, I believe, of my blood-smeared glasses) sported a sizeable gash and a bruise.
Seeing the blood jolted my brain’s pain-receptors out of their groggy slumber. All at once, everything hurt. My head began to throb, my face felt sore, and I became dimly aware of a bruise somewhere on my left thigh. Not the most pleasant start to the morning.
I added “bloody face” onto the growing list of the morning’s mysteries. Then, confused, I did what any good college student does when faced with a dilemma: I hobbled back upstairs into my room, climbed into my bed, and went back to sleep, leaving my problems to be solved at some time in the indeterminate future.
Three hours later, I woke back up. This time my mind was clear and my headache had dissipated, but the rest of my body was in revolt. It is important to note that until this moment, I had been one of the #blessed. Never in my life had I had to answer for my previous evening’s shenanigans in the form of a hangover. Ever. It was a kind of happens-to-other-people-but-not-me phenomenon. But now I understood. Hangovers are real. They are real, and they are terrible, and they are something I never want to experience again. Every part of my body was chastising my Saturday-self for his irresponsible revelry, especially my stomach, which had decided for me that food was out of the question for the rest of the afternoon.
When I finally convinced myself I would not immediately throw-up, I ventured out into my common room to begin to search for answers that would fill in the several hours of the night that were missing from my memory. Thankfully, my concerned roommate was at his desk waiting for me to emerge from my hellhole.
“So, what happened?”
He was able to tell me that he had found me (remarkably) back in our room, but that when he had woken me up to move me, my had body decided that it was done for the night and I had had the (presumably) unpleasant ordeal of experiencing each of the night’s drinks in reverse. Gin and tonics, White Russians, beer, and a heavy-handed frat-style punch all mixed together with my stomach acid. Once I was done, he had helped me change out of my street clothes and into his own sleep gear before leaving me to spend the night on the futon with a trashcan a safe arm’s breadth away.
Okay. One mystery down: I now knew whose clothes I had woken up in. Even better, he pointed me towards the pile of my own clothes in the corner. But…
“Did you help me out of my jacket, too?”
“Yeah, you mean this one?” My roommate cheerily dug something out of the heap of clothing and held it out to me. A Kids GAP denim jacket complete with plaid paneling on the lining. I had gone to the street with a knee-length, heather-grey topcoat from Banana Republic. How any fully developed human could have confused the two jackets—even in an intoxicated stupor—was beyond me. Yet somehow I’d managed to do it.
Unfortunately for me, my roommate had no idea where my real coat was, nor could he tell me why my face was bleeding (“I found you like that”). And so even though I was able to cross the sweatpants mystery off, I had to add the coat mystery onto my list.
It was now around 3:00 in the afternoon, and I still had only the last fragment of the night figured out. My roommate had exhausted himself of relevant information, and I myself was still as useless as when I first woke-up. It was here that I remembered that God in his good grace had blessed man with the mobile phone, and I triumphantly unlocked my iPhone and opened its archive of drunken wonders: iMessage.
The first clue that my text message threads provided me with was a catalogue of people with whom I had interacted throughout the night. I had walked to the street with _____; I had met up with _____; and _____ had tried to find me on the dance floor. It was this final tidbit that was my epiphany:
“HEY WHERE ARE YOU I HAVE YOUR TI PASS.”
I remembered going to Cap, but had no idea I had even tried to get a pass for TI. Did I actually make it there? Was that where my jacket was? Had I fallen on my short trek across the street and scraped my face? Or had I perhaps gotten in a fight in the crowded TI basement, wrestling some stranger for domination over the Kids GAP jacket?
Eventually, I found out from said friend that I had indeed made it to TI, where I was seen smooth-faced and grey-jacketed. I even found my topcoat at TI still hanging innocuously on the coat rack. But I had reached a dead-end in my investigation; I had sent no more text messages the rest of the night, not even a Snapchat.
Although I’d manage to relive most of the night’s events in reverse, the most disconcerting mystery remained unsolved. No one knew what had happened to my face.
My best guess is that I grew disillusioned with the charms of the TI dance floor more quickly than the friends who had accompanied me and that I left the club alone to go home. Then perhaps I tripped on the modest heel of my boot and landed face-first in the gravel that lines the (unnecessarily) narrow sidewalks on Prospect. The striations on my left cheek fit this theory. However, two things do not add-up. One, I’ve tried various reenactments in which I try to imitate a fall that could simultaneously injure so many parts of my body and both sides of my face all at once, and it just isn’t possible. Maybe MythBusters would have more success, but my own recreation of such a fall requires so many convolutions that I might as well have log-rolled down the hill to Fine Hall. Secondly, whenever I leave TI early and unsatisfied (which is frequently), I always, always, always go to Frist for chicken tenders and fries. For me, there is no other way to do a Saturday night. Yet eerily, there were no student charges from the dining gallery on my account from that night, and my roommate swears he spotted no masticated chicken bits in my alcoholic upheavals.
And so the rest of the week I was forced to merely shrug whenever someone asked why my face looked like it had gone through the meat grinder, and I had no answer when my Spanish teacher inquired as to the purple bloom above my right eye. I don’t know whether I was mugged or simply clumsy, and most likely never will. But I learned that even at my lowest, I am able to self-sufficiently get myself back home, and that peace-of-mind gives me comfort as I learn absolutely nothing from this episode and continue my nights of college debauchery.
P.S. If anyone has any information regarding the happenings of this night, be a Good Samaritan and contact me. Also, if you are missing a Kids GAP jacket, I have it.