I imagine seeing me hungover is a rite of passage of sorts for students in my class. They can come every day, learn everything I’ve got to teach, laugh at all my jokes–”laughing at my jokes not mandatory but is demonstrative of a well-rounded sense of humor and a strong moral compass,” as I wrote in my syllabus–but that only makes them students in my class, not necessarily my students. They’re mine once they’ve seen me dim the lights, close the blinds, and say “I’m feeling a bit sick so we’re going to have a low-energy class today.”
That’s going to happen today. A new batch of students are going to be treated to the hangover day schedule, which is the same as whatever I already had planned only it will be quieter because I’ll lie and say there’s a class next door taking a test. Greasy food, hair of the dog, painkillers, those are the hangover remedies of lesser people. I lie to young people and growl at birds if they sound too happy.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what exactly it would be like for a student of mine upon first seeing my hungover self shamble into class. My thoughts have been stumbling in lethargic circles trying to visualize the exact thought process a student might have, so for my own clarification, I’ve decided to outline what I think two students would say to each other if they saw me in class, which they will later today.
Student 1: The first student to speak. A real go-getter. Has hair but isn’t overly concerned about that fact. Loves trains and tries to work them into conversations so they can show off their encyclopedic knowledge of them.
Student 2: The second student to speak. A well-rounded person with skills and passions and faults and gaps. A person with hobbies they enjoy and work they don’t. Volunteers at the library but doesn’t tell people because they don’t want to brag. Used to steal lunch money from small kids but feels terrible about that now. Has $3.50 for lunch and doesn’t want to tell anybody where they got it.
The teacher: is hungover.
Scene: It’s a classroom. You know what those look like. The chairs have wheels on them. That’s about the only difference from other classes. Use your imagination.
Student 1: Do you want to talk about trains?
Student 2: No, and nobody ever will. Why is it dark in here?
Author’s note: I read somewhere that plays will do this thing where they incorporate scene information within the dialogue. See that up there, that’s what I did. Now you know it’s dark, and I am left to wonder if my degree really was worth it.
Student 1: Maybe a train crashed and knocked out the power.
Student 2: No, that’s a dumb thing. Nobody thinks that thing you said could ever happen.
Student 1: Just an idea.
Student 2: You have bad ideas.
Student 1: That’s not very nice.
Student 2: Trains are dumb. Let’s move on to a new topic. This play-format thing is getting old
Student 1: Good point. Hey, I know why the lights might be off.
Student 2: Why?
Student 1: Could it have anything to do with our teacher sitting at her desk and crying and heaving into a trashcan?
Student 2: Definitely. We should stop talking now because the point has been made that it’s really obvious when the teacher is hungover even if this was an exaggeration.
Student 1: Exeunt all.
It’s probably really obvious when I’m hungover. I’m a pretty peppy teacher, but this horrible, rotting sugar headache leaves me a different person. How could I be enthusiastic about anything when just opening my eyes to write this post feels like I’m being dragged through a concert I don’t want to be at: everything is loud and bright but somehow dim and I want nothing to do with it.
And I’ve got about 5 hours before someone sees me. It’s going to be a loud sort of day.