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the best time i threw up on a holiday

2011 January 30
by Romy

I recently discovered a website called The Hairpin. it is by and for women mainly, and is some of the most entertaining yet intelligent writing I’ve come across in a long time. They regularly post articles about ‘personal bests‘ which are not as intelligent but definitely entertaining, and I thought I’d share some of my own.


The best time I threw up.. on a holiday.

When I was 15 or 16 our principal came into the class room and told us we could go on an exchange trip to Dresden, Germany. Because I was angsty and rebellious, I decided not to join my friends in signing up for this exchange. Cue two weeks later when the principal visited us again and made it clear that we all had to sign up for an exchange that year, and by now I had missed my chance to join my friends.

But opportunity came knocking when I signed up for an exchange with a school in Vicenza, which is near Venice, Italy. The guy I had a crush on had signed up for the same trip and so I was getting pretty excited. The Italian kids first came to visit us, and to be honest I don’t remember a whole lot about that week except that ‘my’ girl went to bed at 8PM every night and never wanted to do anything fun.

When it came my turn to stay with her, it got even more miserable. Not only was this girl the most boring person I had EVER met, but she also lived out of town, so I was isolated from everybody else and couldn’t do anything fun unless her dad drove me somewhere.

Anyway, on the second to last night there a bunch of us, including the guy I liked, wanted to go out for dinner and drinks, and thankfully my girl decided not to come along, but said her dad would pick me up at 10PM that night.

We sat down for dinner outside a restaurant and were joined by The Hottest Teacher I’ve ever had, who happened to be chaperoning the trip and had found himself all alone at dinner time. He sat down at our table (right across from me, something that made me painfully self-conscious) and asked what we were drinking. In a poor attempt to fit in, I had a glass or two of wine even thought I couldn’t stand the stuff at the time.

After dinner the teacher left us, and we went on to a bar we’d been a few days before. Out came the bottle of tequila the owner had been keeping aside for me ever since he saw me drink it earlier that week. I can still remember how happy I was that this nice man remembered me and kept a whole bottle aside for me, a 16 year-old girl! At first I shared my bottle with the 3 other people that were with me, but as I drank more I also began to talk more, and when I realized that the guy I was crushing on was on to me but not doing anything to reciprocate my feelings, I decided to keep the bottle to myself, to drink away my sorrow.

Come 10PM I was the drunkest I have ever been, and needed someone to guide me to the car that was only 3 metres away from me but was cloaked in a tequila-fuelled shield of invisibility. Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever had the pleasure of being a passenger in an Italian man’s car, but it is very scary. There are lots of turns and bumps, but mostly there is a lot of speed. So even though the ride back was only about 20 minutes, I got really, really sick.

I made it to bed alright and fell asleep almost immediately, only to wake up a few hours later mid-barf. When I finally managed to stop puking, I was horrified to find that I had puked EVERYWHERE. My pillow, bed, shoes, towel, and, the worst of all: on the very antique-looking rug. I tried as best as I could to clean things up with my only remaining towel, and stuffed that in a spare garbage bag which I’d found.

The next morning the girl came to wake me up, and I told her: “I had an accident.” She was pretty calm (though not re-assuring) about it, and we left for that day’s activities.

When I saw my friends, I immediately began boasting about how much I’d drank (as you do), until one of the teachers overheard me and took me aside. After I told him a censored version of the above story, he very sternly told me that I had made a big mistake, and that I needed to apologize to the girl’s family for my irresponsible behavior. So I bought flowers, and hid my face behind them that night as I apologized. Luckily my shame only lasted another few hours as we left early that next morning.

When I arrived home I told my mom everything that had happened, and after laughing at me for a few minutes she told me to put the garbage bag with the barf-covered clothes and towels on the balcony, we’d deal with it the next morning.

I slept in for as long as possible the next day, dreading the moment I’d have to do my laundry and hoping my mom would be really awesome and do it for me, but there was no such luck. I grabbed the bag as gently as possible, quickly made my way to the washing machine, and finally decided on the best method for dealing with this puke-stained mess. I put the entire bag in the washing machine, and then pulled out only the bag, leaving the contents in the machine while never having to touch any of it.

Finally I was free! The detergent would rid me of all my shame and guilt, and I could pretend that nothing ever happened. Until my mom’s boyfriend called me in and pointed out that there was something floating at the window of the washing machine, which was going through repeated cycles of 90 degree water rinses. It didn’t take us long to realize it was a mouse, by now a dead one. It must have at some point gnawed its way into the garbage bag and settled in there, blissfully unaware of what was about to happen.

My mom’s boyfriend really came through for me there and took out the mouse for me, putting it in an empty tissue box so I didn’t have to touch its wet, dead fur.

The only thing that makes me feel better about the fate of this innocent creature is that the only explanation I can think of for why it decided to hang out in that gnarly smelling bag is that it must have had a death wish.

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