Because I live a somewhat atypical life, occasionally family back in Michigan will ask what I do with my days.  Well, today was one for the ages, and if my day could be summarized in one snap-shot, it would be as follows:

I woke up a little after 6am with a boiling stomach, and after tossing and writhing in bed trying to deny the pain I was feeling, I finally acknowledged the inevitable, made my way to the toilet and vomited. I felt better immediately and thought that was that, but oh how wrong I was.  Seems I’d gone and got myself a solid, healthy case of food-poisoning from a midnight meal, and this was only the first of many, many trips to the toilet over the next eight hours.  The details of this cyclic return are graphic, and I’ll spare imaginative readers most of them, but there are a couple to mention if we’re going to fill in that snapshot I promised.

I passed the following hours in one of two places—within a three-foot radius of my toilet or in my bed, shivering with a fever, barraged by a pounding headache, aching in all my joints and generally bemoaning my horrible situation.  Lying there alone, feeling terribly alone with no one to rub my back or hold my head or tell me I was going to be okay, I quickly found myself hating how alone I was.  I began to think about my ex-girlfriend, who is the most compassionate, caring person I’ve ever met, and soon I found myself wishing she were there to care for me, a thought which – given the fact that she and I don’t talk to one another – only emphasized my alone-ness and did nothing to improve my situation.

After a couple hours of tossing in bed, running to the bathroom, tossing more in bed, returning to the bathroom, and so on, I tried to consume some liquids to offset the dehydration I was inflicting upon my body.  I swallowed a couple gulps of Gatorade, and slowly began to feel better.  My head began to clear, and as it did I remembered that I needed to do something online for work.  I connected to the internet, and when my home page opened up, there was an email from my ex-girlfriend. As I said, generally she and I do not speak, and it turns out this was simply a mass email (from which list I think she probably forgot to remove me) inviting friends to a show she was going to that night.  As soon as I read it I thought, in all the self-centeredness that can come when one is sick and absorbed in their own crappiness, Really? Really! Here I am, sick and pining for you like a keening puppy-dog, and instead of your caring for me you’re going out dancing with your friends. Oh, for god’s sake! Immediately my stomach turned and once again I was sprinting to the bathroom.  And here we come to that snapshot for everyone back home:

I’m leaning heavily on forearms splayed across the toilet bowl, staring down into an orangey-colored cess-pool of Gatorade scented barf.  Strings of goo are dribbling like stalactites down my lips towards the bowl; some have actually connected with the murk below, which unites me and toilet-bowl-barf in a very unique, protoplasmic manner. Each heave wracks my body violently, and is exhausting.  I’m gasping for breath, snot running from my nose in a brief pause, and then one final burst comes from deep within my belly.  I convulse so powerfully that I drive my forehead into the upturned toilet seat, which oddly enough does not help my throbbing headache; the heave sends streams of acid up my stomach and out my mouth, further burning my esophagus raw; during this I can’t stop envisioning my ex-girlfriend out dancing, which only makes me feel even more alone; and then the coup-de-grace: this particular internal convulsion is so powerful that I lose control of various sphincters and end up shitting my pants.

Eventually my body stopped convulsing.  I wiped my mouth and rested heavily against the toilet.  Slowly I came to understand the reality of the situation. A moment later tears began to stream from my eyes.  I was laughing, I was crying.  And to everyone back home: there’s your snapshot.  December 12, 2010.  One for the books.