Monday, January 10, 2005

Read This AFTER Lunch

Poor Mark is sick. Really sick. He's spent more time with his head in the toilet bowl then on his pillow. And he's been generating heat like a cozy little furnace. But other than falling soundlessly asleep on the couch with his eyes wide open, he's a very good invalid, requiring nothing more than seltzer, a Conan movie and to have the blankets retucked from time to time.

He's also a remarkably placid puker. Yesterday he puked so much that from outside the bathroom door it sounded like a group of kids splashing in a swimming pool. Yet he didn't utter so much as a single whimper. I mean, when some people have to conduct that kind of eviction, the tenants put up a fight - there is moaning, and crying, and calls to the Gods. My childhood best friend, for example, was one giant commotion when her stomach was in turmoil. She would do that kind of sob-moan thing, and her mom would have to rub her back the entire time. Her cats would flee, and the neighbors would worry.

I think I fall into the "efficient" category - I just get the job done, as fast as possible. I remember once jumping out of this friend's car in the parking lot of her apartment building, puking into the scrub grass on the meridian and then climbing back in as my friend and her mom sat blinking, stunned by the ease of my bodily transaction. Until now, I thought I was champion of the easy expectoration, but now I know that Mark takes the cake (and then gives it back in digested form) . Mark is pure puking saint - no noise, no complaints, no drama, just a private and personal conversation with the toilet that he inflicts on noone else.

Before you throw up your hands (sorry) in disgust, one more anecdote. Once, after an impressive night of teenage drinking, the best friend above and her family joined my family and some others for a day out on a junk to Repulse Bay. (Oh wow, I was just going to give the American Heritage Dictionary definition of the word "junk" to explain that I wasn't intentionally making this post even more low-brow and gross by using it, and guess what the A.H.D gave me: "A Chinese flatbottom ship with a high poop and battened sails." Please forgive me if the pun factor in this paragraph forces you to find out what kind of puker you yourself are. And believe me when I tell you that Repulse Bay is the real-life name of one of Hong Kong's most popular beaches.)

Anyway, we're sailing out on the junk to Repulse Bay and I feel very sick. Although I made the trip from Aberdeen Harbor out to sea almost once a week during Hong Kong summers, it still always made me a tad queasy. This time however, the queasiness was compounded by a night of too many Blue Hawaiins (Malibu and Seven-Up) and Red Eyes (Malibu, grenadine and Seven-Up) at our favorite club (read: the club that served fifteen year olds) "Son of a Beach". (Yes, that's right, I spent half my teenage years in a club called Son of a Beach, located in Repulse Bay. Somethings about me can now be forgiven, can't they?)

To make this journey worse, Cornelia, the five year-old daughter of my dad's boss was infatuated with me and insisted on following me all around the boat as I tried to find a place of refuge while looking convincingly seasick instead of thoroughly hungover. And Cornelia was annoying. I liked kids, I liked her brother, but she and her little curls get on my nerves. And never more so then on that boat.

I was standing on the side of the boat, leaning my head over, trying to catch a cleansing breeze, when I suddenly knew I couldn't contain the red-eyed, blue haired beast that had taken up residence in my tummy. Cornelia was literally at my side. In my kindest pre-puke manner, I told herI wasn't feeling well, and to please leave me alone for a second. She didn't budge. I tried once more, and once more again - without the please and in my most commanding manner - but to no avail. And so it was that I had my most intimate vomiting experience - little Cornelia's little head with it's annoying little curls pressed up agianst my own, gazing at me as I poured my pain into the ocean. Let me tell you, that is an act of itimacy I hope never to repeat.

Then, the grossest part of this needless tale: as my puke hit the sea, a school of fish emerged from nowhere to swim through it, flitting their tails and flashing blue in a stream of orange. Cornelia squealed in delight and ran to tell all the parents about the beautiful experience. I lay on the salty deck and hoped for a burial at sea. Later, we told my dad and my friend's mom that I "must have eaten some bad french fries". Thanks be to them that they pretended to believe us. And thanks be to nature or nurture or whatever that we were naive enough to believe them.