Upon the conclusion of the festival, next along the line of my series of unfortunate events again stems from my first fatal flaw, the intoxication. Yes, we all know alcohol makes you do stupid things, the stupidest thing it made me do is forget. Forget to eat, to drink, (anything apart from alcohol at least) and numbed me. It numbed me so I never felt the red gash from my boots chaffing my skin or how hungry I was, or thirsty, and in 25 degrees Celsius plus heat, it is not ideal to practice Bear Grylls’ desert survival tactics. Especially for us Irish who are not accustomed to heat, of any kind.
After drinking for 8 consecutive hours you can imagine going to bed was difficult, a labyrinth of steps and doors refrained me from what I struggled to recognise as being a bed. However, during the night, in a strange purgatory somewhere between the first stages of sobering up and the onset of the next day’s hangover, my senses came back slowly, and one of the first I retained was that of feeling. It wasn’t particularly strong at that stage but I did feel something, despite hunger, I felt warm, extremely warm. Although I was still somewhat under the influence not all rational thinking had evaded me and so I presumed I had been burnt (I hadn’t been wearing sun cream, no I didn’t listen to my mother, I know I’m an idiot). Yet switching on the bathroom light and staring in the mirror (it took some time to focus, I was still working on regaining sight) baffled me. I was a perfectly normal skin colour, if a little pasty- I was still Irish after all. Dismissing my unusually heightened temperature I went back to bed waiting for the sensation to pass.
But it didn’t pass. In fact, it got worse. I grew warmer, to hot, until I burned and then I was on fire. Somewhere along the way my parents heard my shuffling around next door and came in presumably to shut me up. I think they became concerned when they walked in and I was lying on the wooden floor, no I hadn’t gone mad, it was cooler than the sheets of my bed. And yes, like all of us teenagers who think we know best, I begrudgingly admit it to be true that mothers really do know best. I couldn’t argue with her heatstroke diagnosis as my skin was on fire and my fever continued to burn like I was a human inferno.
Of course, she also tends to favour overkill, and so I spent the remainder of that night on a mattress made of ice packs and sheets of damp cloth, battling between the two extremes of heat stroke, and hypothermia with an extended version of “I told you so’s” featuring as my bedtime story.