Last night I threw up, and this would not be worth noting except for the fact that I have not thrown up since 1978. It was at Hershey Park, I was nine, and, you know. Chocolate bars. Amusement park rides. There was nothing traumatic about that incident, so I'm not sure why I developed a huge fear of throwing up. Oh, but I did! (Huge. Like, cried throughout the first trimester of pregnancy because It might happen. Hyperventilated at the thought of caring for a sick child. Wept if someone threw up in a movie. Still haven't forgiven best friend for sending "funny" picture of one drunk guy puking pretzels and beer on another drunk guy. Huge.)
At some point I controlled my fear by deciding that I would simply not throw up, ever again. Just wouldn't! No matter what occurred in my digestive system, I would fight the urge until it passed.
I am as surprised as anyone that this worked so well.
My pukeophobia eased up somewhat as Henry grew up, and I saw how utterly blasé he was about the act. Once he got carsick and immediately after announced, "Wow! Throwing up is magic!" And then asked for a cookie.
This is all gross, I know. I apologize. If there are any fellow phobics out there, I am well and truly sorry. But maybe this will heal you! Read on!
Anyway, last night I was out visiting a friend, and I endured a thrill-ride cab ride home, during which I began feeling distinctly unwell. Things were not good. I don't know whether it was the takeout Indian, or the wine, or the ride, or the existential horror. Whatever it was, I had the awful realization, as I hobbled to my front door, that this quease would not pass in a few minutes. Guess what, it was saying. Still, I tried to ignore it and get ready for bed as if I were fine, la la la, but my stomach, she demanded my attention. Events were in motion. I could have stayed up all night gritting my teeth and willing myself to continue my decades-long streak, but I gave up. Let's see if this is as all magical as Henry says it is, I thought.
Now, here's the thing. The thing is. My brand-new downstairs neighbors had entered the building right before me. I saw them walking in as I paid for the cab. They turned and saw me. Then ten minutes later I clomped up the stairs in my boots and was … in the bathroom. The bathroom, wherein all sounds carry from apartment to apartment as clearly as if the person were standing right there next to you.
And you guys. I was SO LOUD. I was like a barfing cartoon character. I couldn't control it. I sounded like a muppet puking up major appliances. Like a tortured elephant. Like I was performing self-exorcism and Baalphegor himself had just emerged from my headholes. My husband tweeted about how I loud I was, is how loud. I'm surprised no one on my block called Animal Control.
I don't recall being this vocal when I was little. It was like the entire act was so unnatural to me that every part of my body had to get in on the action. I wasn't trying to be dramatic, but every time another wave came over me-- HEEEEEEEUUYYYOOOOOOOOOOO.
Okay, I need to relax, I thought. I'm just tense so my stomach is spasming and--
Scott was knocking on the door, asking if he could come in. I wanted to shout GO AWAY I'M A MONSTER but I didn't have the strength. I needed to save up all my vocal stylings for the next go-round.
As awful as I felt, part of me was cracking up, picturing my poor neighbors downstairs, merrily brushing their teeth after a night out, stopping to look at each other with alarm as their probably psychotic/bulimic neighbor upstairs performed what I'm sure they assume is her nightly ritual.
Have I mentioned that I have not yet met my downstairs neighbors? Yeah. How do I introduce myself now? "Hey! Hello! You might remember me from such sounds as aaaWWWWRRRROOOUUUUUK. Ha, ha! Fun. Hey, hope I didn't ruin your night with my awful. Let me tell you what I ate last night and will never eat again! Where are you going?"
Fortunately the bout was over quickly. I don't think my vocal cords could have taken much more. While I can't say it was magical like Henry promised, I was not nearly as traumatized as I imagined I would be. Still, I think I'm good for another 33 years. Now I'm wondering if I should buy the neighbors some kind of housewarming gift. Maybe a nice gift bucket of corn chowder! No?