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Hung and Strung:...

Hung and Strung: Musings from the Corner Office

Door shut and blinds drawn. Phone rolled to voicemail. Excuses for every meeting and two trips to the vending machine before noon. Can you read the signs? Bitchy has a big-girl hangover.  

Yeah, yeah, you know you’ve done it, too. Forgotten how old you are, forgotten how much sleep you need, forgotten just how bad it sucks to work when you are hung and strung.

Back in my high-flying, low-level years, I could belly up to the bar with the best of them and still crawl in by the crack of dawn. A little slow, sure, but damn near bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Frisky young colleagues bonded over bottles, sent each other shots and flirted on the dance floor. And somehow, none of us seemed any worse for wear at the start of the next twelve-hour work day. Ah, those were the good old days of the entry-level hangover ...

Fast forward to today—or where today started, which was last night, and the too-many-Scotches-to-count. I’m not saying I’m exactly over the hill yet, but I’ll cop to being somewhere between cheap beer and a sloe gin fizz, and I definitely dropped out of the co-worker bar crawl sometime around the time I got a door on my office. 

Now the occasional crazy night always crashes in from the clear blue—sometime mid-week with a “catch up over a glass of wine” with long lost friends who log as much overtime as I do, or a “low key dinner” with the boyfriend I never seem to talk to offline.

Once I allow myself to get swept up in the fun, it’s all-out like the carefree cubicle days, right up until the moment when everything suddenly stops being fun. And that’s when the alarm goes off.

This morning, I set an all-time snooze record, only managing to drag myself out of bed after the alarm had gone off at least ten times. A much larger coffee than usual had me convinced I had the whole hangover thing beat. But the worst thing about grown-up hangovers is how they peak and valley throughout the day. Just when you think you are over the hump—riding a Frito-high—you hit a slump. How many times can you go to the bathroom in one day before people start to talk?

Everyone is more annoying than usual, and the simplest questions seem to require brain cells you killed the night before. Inevitably, you have multiple meetings on the calendar and at least one deadline for a project you haven’t even started. It’s classic payback for a night overly well done—and you have no one to blame but yourself.

By lunchtime, I have picked several fights with colleagues and bitched at my staff for multiple minor infractions. I finally force my beleaguered assistant to go out to get me some grease in the hopeless hope it will cure my throbbing headache and queasy stomach. The McFried Crap indeed lifts me up from the depths for about twenty minutes. Then it’s back to the first-aid cabinet in search of aspirin and Alka-Seltzer.  

At 2 p.m., I start the countdown to how soon I can go home and get back in bed. During a (nother) bathroom break, I make the mistake of looking at my ragged reflection in the mirror, and spend the next half-hour studying how much I aged overnight.  

Just as I am about to slink out the door at 4 p.m., the boss calls me down for an impromptu brainstorming session. To feign interest, I try nodding my head a few times, not realizing how bad this plan could backfire until I find myself leaving the meeting with a list of pointless projects I “volunteered” for.

Finally I’m home. No longer on anyone’s thirty-under-thirty list, this Bitch is taking the night off. No need to hit the network circuit when you’re this close to the top. I can stay at home and enjoy a nice bottle of wine all by myself. And why the hell not? I’ve had a really rough day.

Remember, if you don’t have anything nice to say, my door is always open …

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