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That Time I Threw Up On The Train

Disclaimer: This is quite a descriptive post, so if you can visualize things vividly, and have a squeamish stomach, this is post is not for you.

Once upon a time when I was living in Italy (read my post on why I moved to Italy), my boyfriend (at the time) and I were walking -- NO, rushing-- to catch the morning rush-hour train. On our way to the station my stomach started rumbling, but I didn't think much of it. As soon as we got to the station I felt like I needed to release a demon, I needed to take a $h!t. "Sorry babe, I know we're running late, but I really gotta go!", I said. It took no time for everything in my intestines, and seemingly my intestines themselves, to come sprinting out. On any given day I wouldn’t have ever considered taking a #2 (more like a #9) in public, but this was a necessary exemption.

I left the *ATAC restroom thinking that I was good to go and that I got everything out of my system. Ha! A few minutes after boarding the train and realizing how muggy, stifled, and cramped the trenino (transl. little train) was, I started feeling nauseous. The vomit came out so quick that I didn’t even have time to feel like I needed to throw up. At first, I tried to swallow it because I thought it was just a small amount, but nope! It all came bursting out like liquid fireworks, but there was not a damn thing pretty about it, nor the situation as a whole.

The three things that stay so clear in my memory when I reflect on this moment are: 1. How frantic people were about getting me a napkin; I could hear them hurriedly yelling, “I fazzoletti, I fazzoletti!” (transl. “tissues, tissues!”). In that moment I felt connected, not like another foreigner on the train, but like another vulnerable human being in the mix. I wasn’t the sausage on the pizza, or even the cheese, in that moment, I felt like I was a part of the sauce. 2. There was an older black man next to me who was reading a book while the whole shebang went down. After some of my vomit landed on his jacket, he used a tissue and wiped it off while barely lifting an eye off his book. I was in disbelief, like, hello, where are you? No, I didn’t want him break out a cape and rescue me, but the fact that he didn’t even bother to make himself aware, if even for second, truly amazed me. What kind of experiences could he have had that would make him appear unfazed, or was he just thinking, “Dramatic Italians, I’m not even gonna look.” 3. The third thing I remember was being so embarrassed that I cried. While crying, I remember thinking, “Why the hell am I crying?”

Since this day, I haven’t faced anything as embarrassing as this-- by the grace of God. In a way, I don’t regret this experience because I learned that you can never truly prepare for embarrassing moments, you somehow just show up to them, and deal with them the best way you can in that moment, and then you keep living.

*ATAC = Rome’s public transportation system

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