so this one time, at band camp …
I woke up that day and knew I had it - inevitable, since my kids had spent the night alternately projectile expurgating. Laptop was in the office, and I had to work.
Sooo … I called in to the company, said I’d come in for one minute, get my lappy, and leave.
I did that, tummy a little funny, but comfortable I wouldn’t shower everyone in the building with sick. As I left, the Big Queez started to kick in, that lovely Starting Gun to inform you of the ticking clock. Stay in the office, see it through? Nah - there’s no “seeing it through” - when you go down, you go down.
Into the tube. Considered a cab, but the rocking rolling was a sure thing to set me off. A few stops and the sweat’s running down my face, the fever’s kicking in, and the nausea dancing a tango. By the time I got to my connecting station - Earls Court, for those who know - and up to the platform, I was in my very own self-produced Hitchcock movie.
Imagine living the poster for Vertigo, living and breathing it for a good while:
Not just imagining you’re in it, but actually feeling the experience that the imagery indicates. The world was warping around me visually, my balance was cantering off to bloody Bristol, and I stumbled and groped along the platform, sweating a flood and breathing heavily.
Change of plan! Find a “restroom”, as I felt a bit tired and emotional. My internal dimensions felt like they were exceeding the boundaries of my skin, and the muscles in my gut were spasming, I clambered disgracefully up the staircase - 15 seconds on the clock, till ka-booey.
For the first time in years, there’s a station attendant in front of me, with a cap on! WTF?! “Toilet!” I rasped, and he stepped back, said something indistinct over the raging torrent of information and internal noise combusting in my ears, but I knew he’d pointed to a door.
I’d never noticed that door on the concourse, and a side of me laughed at the Harry Potterishness of it - “a door in the concourse!” - maybe it was the glittering marbled bathroom that I deserved to donate my breakfast to, and not a stinky little London Underground thing. I’d been sure he’d just say “joking, right?!”, but indeed, a door.
Through the barrier, and weaving desperately to the door, which by now I couldn’t focus on, and the world in front of me whorled into distorted shapes, teasing my shambling stride to lean and veer rightwards to counter the tilting deck of the world.
I’m utterly sure I’m going to spray the most technicolour yawn all over the shiny concourse, I’m utterly sure both ends of my digestive system are in play, I’m utterly sure I’m going to be a slipping, sick-covered, heaving, coughing, feverish mess surrounded by astounded, innocent onlookers. Nothing else can happen.
I pushed the door, and noticed my cuff was soaked with sweat. Nothing.
I tried pulling it - miracle! it worked! But … too late, no way could I make it to a cubicle, sink, urinal, or cleaning bucket - she was gonna blow, and right there in front of the concourse crowd, who by now were clearly in rapt attention, 40 or so people waiting for whatever was going to happen to this shambling wreck to happen.
Head goes through the door, lunging like a racehorse out of the gate - I didn’t want the audience to see me projectile against the door and splatter myself and the 15 feet around me - usually my concern about public appearance is low, but here I was in Film Noir land, an actor in a Norodrama, and couldn’t have my adoring fans lose the faith.
Shoulders through, eyes wide open, the Heave has commenced, and it’s mighty, mightier than ever before despite the lean breakfast I’d had in anticipation, and it’s gripping my torso in some Russian wrestling manoeuvre, slamming it’s naked, muscular thighs either side of my stomach to really make sure the Big NoroSquirt is a Fun One to chalk up to NoroDrama history.
Unbelievably, it’s not a marbled concourse suite of cubicles - it’s one, single, proper toilet, in a tiny closet!
Feet still out of the door, and an arc of bilious discharge launches forth, gallons and gallons of the stuff, a tanker’s worth of it. I collapse to my knees and the show continues, although the door has me pretty well concealed, but I know I look like a desperate junky in a fantasy '50s detective show.
Amazingly - it’s on target - there is no mess to deal with, no spray and splatter needing apologies that I have no capability to give. I step into the closet fully, straighten my clothes, sort out the loo a bit, wash my hands and face, and step out.
A lovely looking granny in a gentle shade of pink is waiting for the loo. I smiled serenely, charmingly even, and kindly advised she seek alternative rest facilities. I didn’t want her to catch it.
And that was that. I let the station attendant know to disinfect the beautiful little closet, and I went home, to bed.
Just goes to show - working life is a curse.