I wake up in my foreign hotel room. The TV is still on. Despite a cool breeze that flirts with the slightly ajar window, my skin radiates a furnace heat. The sheets are damp with my sweat. A thick, sour-tasting film binds my pallet to my tongue and the inside of my cheeks to my gums. I'm naked. I hate sleeping naked - especially in hotel rooms on foreign sheets. An earth-shattering throb reverberates from my temples. I manage to smack my mouth open; I reach for the well-placed bottle of water and down a few gulps. I have drunk too much, too quickly; I'm out of breath, and the throbbing intensifies. I look down to the floor and see a shoe and my brassiere. My skirt is hung over the chair. I am hungover.
I expected this.
The fat book I'm reading goes into some detail regarding feasting excesses in this part of the world. I am in Krakow, and Poland shares a penchant for fulsome feasting and vodka shots with its large eastern neighbour. I didn't consciously realise that this would be the case. My choice of reading material is purely coincidental to my current location. I bought the fat book many weeks back in Terminal 5; I'm always buying things needlessly when I'm in transit. At the time I justified it as a birthday present.
The similarity of the Polski and Ruski exuberant approach to excess dawned on me the evening before the wedding. An Englishman advised me to take the precaution of filling my shot glass with water when no one was looking. Two thoughts went through my head.
That's what Stalin did! (Sometimes)
Shot glass? Who says I'm going to have a shot glass?
Turns out a shot glass is a standard component of the wedding table setting at a Polish wedding.
Turns out I share my eastern comrades' penchant for a party. I close my eyes and run through the inventory of my potentially embarrassing antics. If my memory serves ...
please let my memory serve
.... my worst crimes of the evening are my animated renditions of the troika, the polka, the whatever-other-kind-of-traditional-dance was on display.
At least I didn't end up in Polish hospital. At least the mother of the bride didn't find me passed out on the floor outside my hotel room. At least the Polish police didn't come looking for me the next morning.
Turns out, I'm relatively well behaved.