I’ve never been drunk before.

Not because I’m against drinking or anything; it just so happens that a combination of factors led to me not going out of my way to make it happen. (Mainly, an extremely frugal and introverted early 20s, followed by years of usually being the designated driver.) I don’t regret it—I’m just not the kind of person to drink much, and that’s okay.

But on the rare occasions that I have imbibed enough alcohol to feel anything at all, I’m pretty sure I had a mental block that prevented me from ever getting close to fully drunk: I always paid way too close attention to my mental state. (Is “fully drunk” even a thing? I don’t know, lmao. Someone with actual life experience please tell me.)

As soon as I start to feel any kind of delay in my reaction time, or in my thought processing, I get excited. “Oh boy,” I would think, “I’m finally feeling some altered brain-states.” I become hyper-aware. I giddily observe my own consciousness and mental speed, like the world’s least professional scientist. I play with my delayed reaction time, darting my eyes back and forth so I can watch the world move with a noticeable few milliseconds of lag time.

I become so focused on trying to observe what it feels like to “be drunk” that I probably counter some of the effects of drunkenness in the first place.

(And also, I usually don’t keep drinking after that point. That’s the actual reason I’ve never been drunk. Please don’t think you can avoid the effects of alcohol by aiming your brain at itself harder.)

I’m the kind of person who is thrilled to observe my own altered brain states. Whether it’s from alcohol, or from cold medicine that makes me drowsy, or from staying awake for 50 hours straight, I love to aim my brain at itself and watch how it changes.

Years ago when I tried practicing lucid dreaming, I went through a long period where I couldn’t make any progress because any time I realized I was dreaming, I got so excited that I woke up right away. Or when I didn’t wake up, I would use my limited dream-time for mini experiments. Closing my dream-eyes for a few seconds to see if my dream-environment would go away or change. Shouting at the top of my dream-lungs to see if I could induce real world sleep talking.

Always observing and experimenting with my consciousness, even in my dreams. And thinking about all this recently has made me realize… I don’t want to die in my sleep.

Most people think about dying in their sleep as a mercy. A convenient way for them to not have to consciously experience, well, literally dying. And I used to think that way too—because who wants to literally experience dying? Even people who say they want to die usually want to skip past the “dying” part and go straight to the “not being alive” part.

But ignoring the fact that it’s probably painful as all heck (I mean… your heart has to stop beating, after all), death is something you can only experience once. How could a curious dumbass like myself want to pass up an opportunity like that?

Sure, it’d be curiosity for curiosity’s sake—I’d only have a few seconds at most to appreciate whatever mental qualia I experience, and then I’d be dead. If I have any great epiphanies about Life, the Universe, and Everything, I wouldn’t be able to share them with anyone. But that’s okay—everyone else will have their own deathbed epiphanies someday, just as 100 billion people had theirs already.

I don’t want to die—I’d prefer if I could live a very long and healthy life.

But if I have to die at all, I want to do it with my eyes metaphorically open, while thinking “Oh boy, I wonder what this is going to feel like.