Do you ever think about an embarrassing moment that happened long ago and shudder with embarrassment all over again?
That happened to me today when I was thinking about how painful my headaches can become. If left unmedicated, they can become so intensely agonizing that I end up, er, losing my lunch, shall we say.
Once, when I was working as a sales girl in a mall in San Diego, it happened while I was on my lunch break in the food court. You know those large potted trees that line the corridors? Yeah. Don’t look in any of those if you are ever in a San Diego mall.
And that’s not even the most embarrassing time it has happened. One very hot Saturday during the summer when my only children were 2 years and 6 months old, some friends from Australia were visiting and we decided to meet at the Fort Worth Zoo.
Since my husband is a golf pro, he has always worked on Saturday, so he wasn’t going to be there. Whenever most people have a day off or a holiday, that is the busiest time for him at work. We decided to enjoy the zoo without him, though, and he would join us for dinner at a restaurant after work.
We love the Fort Worth Zoo and since we lived nearby, we went frequently. At that time, the zoo offered free parking on Wednesdays, plus half price admission, so of course, I had only ever been on Wednesdays, with all of the other stay at home moms and preschoolers.
I had no idea how crowded it was on Saturdays during the summer, until that day. I knew it was going to be packed when I had to use the overflow parking lot across the street. As I was wheeling my double stroller over curbs and across miles of parking spaces, the sun was already beating down on us and I was thinking, “Why didn’t I take my headache medicine before I left the house?”
I met up with my friends, who had some of their friends with them, and we all started enjoying the primate exhibit. I say “enjoying” because that was what I was trying very hard to do. I didn’t even have a baby aspirin with me and I kept thinking that maybe, just maybe, if I didn’t think about it, my headache would just vanish. You know, like it had NEVER, EVER done ever in my life, but, hey, a girl can hope. Right?
We walked and walked and walked. I remember that it was exceedingly hot and humid, and, at one point, as I was nursing my son and my head was feeling like it would explode at any minute, I casually looked around and thought to myself, “So, if a person were to need to throw up, I wonder where the best place to discreetly do that would be.”
My friends knew about my headache, but I don’t think they suspected that I was about to blow any minute. I had buckled the baby back into the stroller and I weakly looked at the restroom door and quickly determined that I would not be able to fit the double stroller in without a fair amount of struggling, which I just did NOT have the mental wherewithal to go through. I hated to ask any one of them to watch my children because they all had small babies and toddlers of their own to deal with.
Before I could even think about what to do next, it happened. All I could do was lean over the nearest bush and hope the half a million visitors to the zoo that day would simply not notice the nice lady heaving in the bushes next to the giraffe exhibit.
When it was all over, which seemed something like fifteen minutes later, I looked up and saw my friends and their friends and all of the children silently looking at me with mouths agape. Come to think of it, it felt like all noise and movement at the zoo stopped simultaneously at that moment. Yes, even the animals stopped their chewing and licking and whatnot and stared at the lady who didn’t even have the decency to at least go to a toilet stall to do her hurling.
I’m sure I mumbled something brilliant about needing to get home and they all helped me get to my car. Miraculously, my friends weren’t even afraid to meet us for dinner IN PUBLIC after I had downed a fair amount of pain killers.
The moral of this story, my friends, is this: If you are ever at the Fort Worth Zoo, don’t go digging around in the bushes. Or look in potted plants at a San Diego mall.
And if I mention having a headache, for Pete’s sake, get me some drugs on the double!