Garrett is as Garrett does

An autoblogographic view of things.

'Garrett is as Garrett does'

On Bill Maher and Being Violently Ill

May 8th, 2008
by garrett

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My decision to road-trip to Melbourne, FL means that I’ve just finished puking my guts out a little before midnight.


Let’s rewind a bit. A few weeks ago I was in the middle of planning my ‘vacation’ (see here). A good friend, also one I share some basic political / religious views with, says that the he and his wife were going to get tickets to a show by BIll Maher. He asked I wanted to go. At the time I wasn’t tremendously hot on the idea, but I find Real Time mostly engaging: in turns it has been amusing, cathartic, intelligent, and slapstick. Anyway, he buys us tickets so that myself, the wife, himself and his wife, as well as a friend who lives in Melbourne can sit next to each other at the show. As the days march on, it becomes more of a get together, with us four carpooling down, the five of us having dinner together, then taking in the show. Everyone finally agrees on a timeline – having two programmers and a pilot in the group of five tends to mean checklists, timelines, and precise directions are almost the norm.

Today arrives. I spend most of the day trying to get my car cleaned up and ready to roll. I’m on vacation and my wife is taking a half day of vacation herself, so we agree to meet at a restaurant to have a late/long lunch and enjoy each other’s company before we meet up with everyone later. At the time it seemed like a pretty normal meal. We agree to run some errands separately and then meet back at the house to get ready to head out. Still, so far so good.

The wife and I pull up to my friends house, and he has his brand new 4-door car totally opened up and is furiously buzzing around to get it ready. I assumed I was going to drive, as until very recently I’ve had the most ‘normal’ of the groups five cars/trucks – the one that can comfortably hold four normal adults for more than a few minutes. The instigator for the evening’s happenings had recently upgraded from a 1990’s green Saturn POS to a new 2008 blue Ford Focus. My Focus experience has only been with hatchbacks so far, making me uneasy about long distance trips for those in the back seats. Since his new car isn’t the hatchback version, I happily capitulated driving responsibilities to him. Besides, he wants to show off his new toy. No biggie.

Since this was the first trip he took with the car, as in he drove it home from the dealer’s lot just a few hours ago, we spend most of the time driving south trying to figure out how to work the built in SYNCH technology. Note: SYNCH gets confused easily when three people are all talking to it at the same time. Especially if they don’t know the exact command syntax. In hindsight, the activity distracted my mind enough so that I didn’t register the exploding hell that was brewing in my gut.

At the restaurant, we met the local friend. By now I can feel the squirreliness of my stomach, and thinking it’s normal travel squeamishness, I order something small to calm it down. After getting our drinks, the wife disappears into the ladies room and doesn’t return for close to 15 minutes. It’s not uncommon for her to have really temporary issues when travelling, so I paid it no special heed. We get our food (I don’t think there was a single order that didn’t have bacon on it somewhere. Mmm bacon.) and I slowly start eating one of my mini-burgers. Somewhere around the half-way point of the second mini-burger, I had to push the plate away. Please understand this is very strange behaviour for me, not feeling like eating. Especially when it has something to do with bacon! ( Mmm, bacon. ) We chat and catchup, but time marches on and we need to leave to make the show.

I made a quick pit-stop in the bathroom myself and on exiting, the wife informs me that she also had major issues and vomited. But hey, we spent a lot of money on tickets and we certainly don’t want to ruin the show for the others, so we soldiered on.

I felt lousy, but in control, until we sat down in our ticketed seats. My nausea, the noise of the crowd, the heat of the stage lights, the stuffy, claustrophobic atmosphere. You can see where this is going to end up. And I certainly didn’t want to be known as the guy who blew chunks at the Bill Maher show.

So three minutes before he walks out on stage, I make a bee line for the men’s bathroom. I didn’t vomit, but I’ll spare you the rest of the details. Props to the King Center, they had a live video feed of the performance piped to several monitors outside the auditorium as well as an audio feed. I was able to watch the rest of his show from right outside the auditorium proper, about 25 feet from the bathroom and less than 10 feet from an exit door leading outside. I probably went to the bathroom four times during the next 45 minutes.

Half-way through the show, the wife joined me sitting on the steps next to the auditorium. I asked her to go back to the seats we paid quite a bit for, but she wasn’t having any of that. Another four times to the bathroom finally yielded what by body had been craving for the last two hours. Bazooka barfing. Noisy, gut-wrenching, projectile vomiting. I cleaned up best I could and let an usher know that I had been violently ill in the men’s bathroom. It wasn’t too messy, but definitely needed some love from a mop and bucket. I apologized to them for the mess and asked them to send the janitor by where I was sitting so I could apologize to him before he went into the bathroom. Wandering back to my perch, I asked the wife if she had heard me from out here – she did (“I though someone was peeling out in the parking lot.”)

I was feeling much better, but after the show was over I recommended that we four head home as soon as possible. Everyone agreed. Twenty minutes later, I hinted that the driver may want to pull over, then promptly rolled down the window, and let fly the dogs of war ejecta of sickness. Only a small droplet of mucus landed in the car, and even then only on the hard plastic of the door interior right next to the window. A small streak ran along the car, but it wasn’t that much either. I was trying to keep it in until I hit clear ground. To the new car’s owner credit he didn’t even bat an eyelash about the mess I was making. Three cheers for him!

After being on the side of the road, on all four’s trying to avoid my own vomit, it was decided it would be better if I had a bag I could be sick in, rather than sticking my head out of a car, heading north on I-95, doing 80+ mph. If I knew the wife would go home with them, then drive back for me, I would have asked that they drop me off at an exit or rest stop. But I knew she wouldn’t leave my side, so I insisted on getting home as soon as possible.

As it turned out I vomited two more times in his car.

And twice more when I finally got home.

And one more time at home while defecating.

Oh yeah, this is how I want to spend the rest of my vacation…

BTW, Maher was good, Applebee’s was bad, and it will take nearly five days for me to recover fully.

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Categories: Day in the Life of... · Mature · Medical · PersonalNo Comments

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