Throwing up while sober is more unpleasant than while drunk.
I’ve vomited maybe three times in the past dozen years, all from a flu or stomach ache. But back when I was drinking, puking after a binge was expected (and often welcomed). I would feel so shitty after a night of double whiskey sours that the next morning heaving out my insides would provide a modicum of relief. Sometimes even a small jolt of endorphins. It’s like a runner’s high, but without the running and nipple tape. But barfing sober, it just sucks from the coming attractions until the end credits.
A few weeks ago I puked while sober, but this time for a reason new to my experience. Motion sickness.
Well, motion sickness is not new to me. I experience it more that the average joker. Even in the calmest waters I have to down four capsules of Dramamine prior to leaving shore. And still I get queasy an hour into the boat ride. On dry land I also have to be careful. I have a personal trainer and I had to convince him in our first session that, while I would love to do burpees, after five reps I get nauseas. I’m sure he thought I was lying because that’s the kind of thing one would say to get out of doing burpees.
Once I took a woman to Six Flags for a first date. I LOVE ROLLER COASTERS. After a full day of riding, I had turned green. I can’t imagine she was impressed. The nausea was still present two days later. I called up my friend who’s an ENT because I was convinced something was wrong with my brain. “Nope, you’re fine. You’re just getting older.” With my natural sensitivity to motion sickness I can’t do the big roller coasters any longer. I have a virtual reality headset and even the simulated Six Flags app caused a few dry-heaves.
For a holiday gift my girlfriend took me on a trip to Cabo San Lucas. I wish I had stories to regale you of jamming with Sammy Hagar at his bar or getting into a knife fight with the Brujos. But none of that happened. We stayed busy, though. One of the activities was paddle boarding. For those unfamiliar, you stand on a surfboard and paddle around with an oar. It looks simple and I’ve seen children do it without struggle. We hired a guide to take us out into the ocean for a lesson. First he showed us the basic moves on land. It’s not complicated. You stand up and paddle. I felt confident.
Once in the water, all my dry-land practicing was for shit. I couldn’t stay up for more than ten seconds. Beth got up on her first try and never once fell. It was embarrassing because I was doing exactly what the instructor had taught me just minutes before. But once I was up my legs would shake and down I’d go. My quads were destroyed within minutes. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. Neither could Beth or the instructor. Both silently watched me stand and fall, stand and fall, stand and fall. I was so exhausted after the twelfth failure that I had to sit on the board to catch my breath. I felt like I was taking up all our time and asked if I could just sit on the board and paddle instead. This was even more humiliating. A few minutes later we passed a group of twenty paddleboarders. Not one was struggling. Or sitting.
For the next twenty minutes we paddled away from shore over to one of the rock formations. As we passed a docked cruise ship, the nausea hit me. All of a sudden on I’m feeling every wave. And it hurts. I didn’t want to ruin my girlfriend’s experience so I forged ahead trying to ignore the feelings of impending doom. Then, a more frightening thought popped into my head. I’m twenty minutes from shore. No matter how sick I was about to become nobody could rescue me. We paddled on, but my brain jolted me with a brilliant idea.
Turn around. Right now.
I could barely speak by this point. I muttered out loud that I had to turn around. Bet and the guide were a distance in front of me. She yelled to ask what was wrong. That’s when I puked. All over myself. I was so motion sick I couldn’t even turn my head to puke into the water. I puked right down the front of my bare chest and watched as it pooled into my swim suit. I thought about jumping in the water but I was worried that I wouldn’t have the strength to get back on the board. Beth and the instructor turned their heads away in disgust. I must have been downwind. For good measure I heaved guts seven more times.
As I mentioned earlier, barfing while sober provides no relief. I prayed to the angel of death to take me. I had nothing to live for. I’m not being dramatic. I legitimately said, “Well, Death, I had a decent run. I still have all my hair. Let’s go.” As per usual, my prayers went unanswered.
I had no choice but to start the journey home. I told Beth and the instructor to go on without me. They followed anyway. I was exhausted by the time I got to the beach. I had to sit in the water for a few minutes to collect myself. Also, this helped rinse off the puke. Beth, seeing that I was now safe, asked to go back out for more paddleboarding. The owner of the rental place came over to me. He said, “Don’t worry, it happens.” I could tell he was lying. I saw at least a hundred other paddleboarders go out and not one came back with bile down the front of their chests. He asked, “Too much partying last night, huh?” I didn’t have the heart to tell him that the only partying I did was to eat both a seafood appetizer and seafood entree in the same meal.
I drank a bottle of water and passed out on the sand for ninety minutes.
When I woke up Beth was putting her board away and I felt fine again. I wish that I had a photo of my face when I was sick, but you can’t bring your camera while paddleboarding. It would have made a great animated gif – my paddleboard changing color from white to pink. You’ll have to use your imagination, and if I’m even a halfway decent writer, you have already created the visuals of my experience. I can assure you, it was much worse than you imagined.
This is about the same spot in the water when I barfed. So at least it was a beautiful setting, right?
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