Age 18, in a men’s bathroom in the student center of my college.
I hate throwing up in front of people. I hate when people can hear me throw up. Both of which are difficult to avoid when you live in a freshman dorm and share a bathroom with 20 other coeds. So I came up with this brilliant idea of walking across the patio to use the bathrooms in the Union (which were usually deserted on weekend mornings) when I got sick.
This plan was all fine and dandy until one fateful morning when I was about to enter the women’s restroom but it was occupied. At this point, things were dire and lord knows I wasn’t going to throw up in front people in a public restroom, of all places. So I obviously chose to dart into the men’s room. Unfortunately for me, about mid-vomit, two gentlemen entered said restroom. So now not only was I stuck vomiting in public, I was stuck vomiting in public in a men’s room. I could do nothing but power on. One of the men asked in a concerned tone: “Is everything all right in there, man?” I responded in what I thought was the most logical manner. I assumed a gruff, manly tone and said “Yeah, dude. Thanks.” After I was done being sick I sat just sat on the toilet and willed time to pass so that I could run away as soon as they left.
Age 20, on a train somewhere between Munich and Frankfort.
Oktoberfest. One word: oof. Let’s just say there were liters of beers consumed. I was in town for the weekend and, by GOLLY, I was going to take full advantage! Unfortunately for my timing, it rained pretty much the entire trip. This proved not only to be a bummer because all the tents filled up very quickly, but because of the mess that occurred. Thousands of people + drunkenness + food vendors = mess. And when you mix that mess with water, well, the ground becomes covered in sludge. And when you mix tipsy Paige with slick, sludge-y ground, you will see her take a few spills. And she will end up coated in what can only be described as a grey paste that smells of sewage.
This is the one time my penchant for packing light turned out to be a curse. I only brought one pair of pants, which I was wearing. And which were covered in sewage paste. Needless to say, my trip home the next morning was not a pleasant one. I spent it wearing toxic jeans while trying to steady myself in a closet of a bathroom on moving train so I could successfully aim my vomit into the toilet. For the record, toilets on trains are pretty damn tiny. Also discovered that day: sewage jeans and the steady motion of trains only exacerbate one’s nausea. The silver lining was that I smelled so awful I had an entire row of the train to myself. Win?
Age 23, on the grounds of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul.
I woke up that morning feeling like crud and wallowed in bed until noon or so, but being the good little tourist I am, I knew I had to persevere through the sick feeling. I was in Istanbul with my good friend from high school and had 8 days to explore, and godammit, I wasn’t going to waste a day in a hotel room! We typically took the tram into the city, but walking nearly a mile to our stop, then being crammed on the train for 20 minutes was unthinkable at that point.
So I insisted we take a cab. Looking back, this may not have been my best plan, for as we neared the city center, the roads got progressively narrower, steeper, and more crowded, and in turn, the cab driver got more and more aggressive. We’d accelerate and STOP. Then a quick turn! Then more acceleration! And another STOP. All the while I had my head between my legs, talking myself down from vomiting in a Turkish taxi. My friend, who felt perfectly fine, tried to make conversation to distract the driver, who kept asking if I was ok, if I’d be sick in his cab.
Finally, mercifully, we made it to our destination: Sultanahmet Square. I unfurled myself from my makeshift fetal position in the cab and stumbled into the square, determined to make the most of the afternoon. First, we stopped at The Obelisk of Theodosius where I dutifully took photographs, even in my sad state. (Look! I even crouched down to get the best shot. EVER THE PROFESSIONAL.)
After the obelisk, we made our way over to the Blue Mosque. Now this is one of the most important sites in Istanbul. Built from 1609 to 1616 during the rule of Ahmed I, it is an architectural achievement. This is the kind of structure you learn about in Art History 101. It is also still currently used as a place of worship. So of course this is the place where I can no longer hold it, where I absolutely have to throw up. And I did. I rushed over to a hedge and I threw up. I threw up on the grounds of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, a four hundred year old religious site. I’m so very considerate of other cultures.
(And for your viewing pleasure…this is what nauseous Paige looks like when trying to put on a happy face)
Posted: Tuesday, June 12th, 2012 @ 4:18 pm
Tags: college, growing up, humor, Istanbul, Oktoberfest, travel, vomit, words.
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