Thursday, February 05, 2009

The Vomit Comet

No need to get into too many details to set this up: long story short, the other night on the New York State Thruway my three-year-old took a half a bite of rest-stop pizza and promptly threw up everything in the world all over everything in sight. I had to use whatever I could find lying around the car to mop up her seat, and create something she could sit on to ride the rest of the way without completely freaking out.

After getting home and getting the kids down, I break down the car seat and haul her clothes and all the detritus to a laundromat, figuring it’s better to do it in an industrial machine rather than sully my wife’s most treasured possession. I get there just in time for last wash, and later as I’m hauling stuff out of the dryer I notice the laundry lady eyeing me sideways. What is her problem, I’m wondering?

And that's the moment where I had one of those beautiful moments of clarity where I was able to stand outside of the situation, free of all egoic illusions, and see what I looked like at that moment to the eyes of the world: I’m a slightly sketchy-looking guy who’s showed up in the middle of the night at a laundromat he’s never visited in his life, without so much as a laundry bag, carrying under his arm a bunch of questionable items including but not limited to: a small rug, a sheet and pillowcase that don’t match, some odd-looking straps that do god knows what, and oh yeah, at that exact second I’m holding in my hands a little girl’s underwear.

Someday I might look back and wonder when exactly it was that my dignity and I parted ways for good, and I'm thinking this might be it.


Leland Purvis said...

You and dignity parted company (at least temporarily) in about 1985. I have a yearbook around here somehwere...

Anonymous said...

The question is often whether it was there to begin with. I know several people who confuse pride with dignity and dignity was definitely not one of the principal components of their life. In your case, like most people, it probably has been slowly leaking out of your life since who knows when. This incident was just your moment of clarity.

Fear not; it was not your senior year at Wilson. That was just the end of four years of life's Basic Training at the end of which everyone looks like a space monkey.

Anonymous said...

That's a great story. I'd love to see it animated sometime. Just to get the full comedic effect of the facial expressions.

I've always marveled at the tesseract-y nature of little ones' digestive systems. "[She] took a half a bite of rest-stop pizza and promptly threw up everything in the world all over everything in sight" is as descriptive a line as I've ever seen.

Kevie said...

All I know is, I'm lucky that Rorschach didn't happen to be in that laundromat.