Trigger warning for anyone who is vomit-phobic. Just move along. Check back next week, and I can promise I’ll say nothing on the subject.
You’re still here? Welcome to the Club of Barf Indifference. You must be the parent of a frequent puker. Or a nurse (bless your soul, because if it were up to me to save the world by working in the medical field, we should all just tuck our heads between our knees and wait for the apocalypse). Or some sort of cyborg. In any case, the secret handshake is a clap over the mouth followed by a dry heave.
It was Christmas Day. We had spent the afternoon and evening a half hour from home at my in law’s house, keeping the kids who had been up since 5 am from dissolving into nuclear meltdowns and eating ourselves silly. By the time we had loaded the back of the car full to the top with gifts and pulled out of the driveway to head home, it was after 10pm.
As we snaked our way through the country, the roads were as quiet as the backseat. About halfway home we turned onto a straight away and suddenly Bobby made a sound that I interpreted as a stifled chuckle. Turning toward him to ask what might be so funny, his right hand flew up to cover his mouth and my curiosity turned to horror.
His eyes grew wide as he tried to hold back the evil that sprayed through his fingers.
My shouts of “OH MY GOD HOLY SHIT HOLY SHIT IT’S OK (oh, it’s so NOT ok) IT’S OK OH MY GOD. SHITSHITSHIT!” woke the dozing 8 year old who sat bolt upright, presumably thinking he was about to die a fiery death.
We were on a four lane road with nowhere to pull over for the next 100 yards or so. His skill in remaining safely between the lines was a complete marvel. Like Mario Andretti and Linda Blair had a large, black love child.
Within moments, he took the next available right turn onto the Air Guard access road (sweet jesus, I hope they have closed circuit surveillance. Whomever was on duty that night had a real treat.) and threw the car in park, heading straight for the snowbank ahead of us.
Now free to hurl with abandon, the next heave was accompanied by a sound previously made only by Sasquatch or the Abominable Snowman. As it echoed through the chilly air, I jumped out of the car as well to begin to strategize just how to deal with the hell fest that was the driver’s side of our car. But when I got to the back and popped open the trunk to see the wall of Christmas presents, I lost it.
The absolute absurdity reduced me to an uncontrollable fit of hysterical laughter. I stood there for a solid minute, tears welling up in my eyes wondering what would be more helpful for the clean up. My 2 year old’s new Minnie Mouse ride on airplane or my 8 year old’s new sled. Perhaps the popcorn popper. Or the tea kettle! Walking back to my door, I looked in the glove box only to find three sad little Dunkin Donuts napkins stuffed alongside the important papers you shouldn’t use to clean up puke.
Finally he wrapped up and staggered back to the car, awash in the headlights, his arms stiffened away from his body looking like he’d rather be anyone else in the world.
As I dashed around to meet him, I choked back the laughter (just as I had originally thought he was doing before the fury of his guts were unleashed all over the steering wheel).
“You’re not going to barf again right? Please say no. I can’t sit in that seat and drive us home. I love you. But sitting in your puke on Christmas…Jesus wouldn’t even do that, I don’t think.”
“I’m ok now. This is disgusting.”
“Yes. Yes it is. Ok. Here’s the plan.” And this is when I totally lost my shit again. Standing in the middle of the road, my husband, looking like an oversized child, covered in his own vomit, the gas station directly across the street clearly closed and only 3 piddly non absorbent napkins to work with I LAUGHED AND LAUGHED AND LAUGHED.
My son, who had been totally quiet through the whole episode tossed his door open and with great offense yelled at me, “YOU’RE NOT BEING NICE! WHY ARE YOU LAUGHING AT DADDY?”
I was close to hyperventilating, so I ignored him.
Once composed, I started again. “Ok. I’m sorry. It’s not funny. Really it’s not. But I can’t help it. So here’s what you’re going to do. Take off your coat, and as you do it, turn it sort of inside out. The take off your flannel shirt and we’ll wrap your coat with it and then you can sit on it. Because we can’t put it in the back with all the gifts. Plus it will cover whatever oozed onto the seat. And here’s a napkin for your face, but use it wisely. I’ve only got two more and I want to make sure you didn’t spew on my phone charger.”
Once we got back into the car, Bobby wiped up what he could from the steering wheel and door before rolling down the windows as much as the weather would allow at the end of December. We were still a good 10-15 minutes from home and while I’ve never been to prison, I can now imagine what the mess hall smells like on Thanksgiving.
Luckily the rest of the ride occurred without incident and when we arrived home, I took the kids to bed while he cleaned up himself and the car.
As we climbed into bed later, I apologized for being insensitive.
“That’s ok. It IS actually pretty funny.”
“And it totally could have been worse. You could have shit your pants at the same time. Then I wouldn’t have been laughing. Probably.”