Up until this past Saturday, the most mortifying thing that ever happened to me occurred when I was 14, on my way to my first day of high-school. I was walking along with a friend (Pal A), on our way to pick up another friend (Pal B), and set off to our new school together.
Earlier that morning, I was feeling nervous. I had always been anxious on the first days of school, but I was able to have some cereal and get myself ready for school with relative excitement and minimal jitters. Pal A and I took the bus to Pal B’s house. And as Pal A and I were walking down the block, I threw up all over myself.
It literally came out of nowhere (well, not nowhere) but so suddenly, that I did not even have time to turn and bend-over to vomit on the sidewalk. Instead, it was all over my new uniform. Some even wound up on my face and hair. Pal A was stunned. I was mortified.
I felt like the girl from the Exorcist. And the smell – sour milk and undigested Rice Krispies. Just what one needs on the first day of school when encountering teenagers one has never met before, wanting to make a good first impression (which was already going to be pretty difficult as I was pretty geeky looking to begin with). Lovely.
Fast forward 25 years. This past Saturday I had a few people over for dinner. One was my very good friend, The Salty Academic (TSA). The other guest was a friend from France (Frenchie). The final guest was actually the friend of the husband of a friend, recently arrived to town, and leaving for another country on Monday (Poor Guy, aka PG – you will find out why later on.) I had never met him before this dinner (keep this in mind).
If you at all follow this blog (and if you do, you may not want to anymore after reading this post) you know that I have quit smoking and to ensure this, I have thought about becoming a teetotaler. Over the past few weeks, I have toasted a birthday with a glass of champagne, and had a glass of wine with dinner for Mother’s Day. No smoking, though.
I figured I would have wine with dinner – I had cooked a slammin’ pasta puttanesca, there was salad, and bread and cheeses and desserts and coffee and good conversation. After a while, Frenchie left, as he had just arrived from Paris and was exhausted. Maybe an hour later, TSA left. I actually was getting sleepy and even though PG is quite cute, I have made the decision that I am no longer the girl-that-hooks-up-with-the-random-cute-boy-that-is-from-out-of-town-and-leaving-soon-for-romance-that-leads-to-nowhere (trust me, I have been down that road SEVERAL times over).
I am not sure if PG was at all interested, but after a while he left.
And I was kinda relieved. Because in all honesty, if he had tried to kiss me, I may have kissed back. And I was a wee-bit tipsy, but more than anything I was tired and FULL. I brushed my teeth, washed my face, and just as I was changing into my pjs, the phone rings.
PG was lost, and sounded slightly confused and on the verge of crying. He asked if he could come by and hang out for a bit more. I said sure, and that he could crash on the couch if he was feeling too drunk and tired to get on the train back to Queens.
So, PG comes back and we get to talking over nightcaps of vodka-tonic (my brilliant idea).
Did it give me pause that he called me asking to come back? Yes.
Did I smoke cigarettes? No.
Did we hook up? No.
See, all of a sudden I found myself very drunk (ummm – did I forget to mention that I have been on Sertraline (generic Zoloft) for years, am finally coming off of it slowly, and that I have a slight suspicion that this tapering process is actually leaving me very intolerant of alcohol, so that even moderate amounts maybe f*cking with me more than usual?), standing in my living room, trying to play my didgeridoo (This is not a euphemism, I actually do have a didgeridoo and began playing it as an attempt to manage my sleep apnea back in the summer. That’s for another post…), and thinking “oh no, I have been here before, and I do not want it anymore” (i.e. cute as he is, I am done with being “the girl-that-hooks-up-with-the-random-cute-boy-that-is-from-out-of-town-and-leaving-soon-for-romance-that-leads-to-nowhere”). And then it happened. Or at least, this is what I remember.
I went into the bathroom and proceeded to vomit profusely. In my sink. I tried to clean up as much as possible. I do not think I did such a good job of it. Then I tore off all my clothes and got underneath the shower. But see, earlier that day, the super had (FINALLY) come to fix my bathroom ceiling, which had been in the process of caving in, so the shower rod was off, and there was plaster everywhere, and all the things that are usually in my bathroom were not. So when I got into the shower, water went EVERYWHERE, soaking everything. When I got out, I held on to the tower rack for what seems like forever, swaying. And then I realized I had no robe to put on. Just my soaking t-shirt, underwear, jeans and a small towel. I put the shirt on, wrap the towel (barely) around my waist and proceed into my bedroom.
This is where the TRUE horror begins. As PG (now you know why he is PG) comes in and I blubber that I am really sorry, so sorry blah blah drunken mess blah. I MAY have grabbed on to him (to stabilize myself) while on the edge of my bed. He may have seen me partially nude (from the waist down) and I passed out.
He MAY have cleaned all the puke in the sink. He DEFINITELY stayed and slept on the couch, brought me water, and washed ALL of the dishes and pots and pans from dinner.
I am mortified. This could have been a lot worse – like REALLY bad. I was in a completely vulnerable state, with a stranger. I am embarrassed, as I am a grown-ass woman. I did not even pull these sorts of shenanigans in college. I was the friend that took care of other friends in these situations.
And I felt guilty, because PG was a bit morose and in need of a good conversation. He may have been sad about leaving NYC. Who knows? He probably got over it.
What did I learn?
* Vodka is no longer my friend
* In fact, no alcohol for me, at all, as I cannot gauge when even a moderate amount will send me over the edge
* Nice men do exist, and will take care of you, even when you puke and are disgusting
*Nice men will even give you a hug the next day, tell you not to worry about it and to put the “nasty parts” out of your mind, and thank you for dinner because he had a great time, and will give you a concert ticket to see a band as they cannot use it now that they are moving to Europe
* I feel bad that he wanted to talk and was sad about stuff, but at the same time, I do not – it is too complicated. I really am done with complicated.
* Mortification knows no age
* I am petrified of what others may think of me after reading this. Including myself.