Karma is something that I dabble in sometimes. I wouldn't say that I'm one of those hard-core karmaic folks who constantly keep a running talley of what I owe Karma and what Karma owes me. (Damn, I can't even keep a talley of my checking account. I don't even want to imagine what the Bank of Karma would charge for a bounced karma check.... an extremity, a relationship, Mc Donald drive-thru anguish? "I ordred fries with this." "I'm sorry. Your fries were forgotten because you ran over that squirell yesterday morning.") But there are times in my life where I know that the Universe is just trying to keep things even Steven with me.
One of the perks of my new job is that I get to work with kids. I Love It. I admit, I was a bit hesitant about being around youngsters at first, but now that I'm full swing into the summer camp instuctor thing, I've got Whitney's "I Believe The Children Are Our Future" stuck in my head 24/7. It's just been a great experience thus far and I'd like to get into more detail, but fear that I might launch into a rant about how we can all learn something from the young ones..... instead, I'll just sum it all up in a couple of words. Being around kids has been good for me. There. Done.
A couple of days ago, the kids were taping a presentation. I admit, I wasn't really paying attention to what was being said because I was too busy watching the live editing process of the presentation on a television in the back of the room. It was a two camera set up and there was a switch that made it possible for two areas of the room to be recorded at the sametime onto one tape. You want the left side of the room on the tape but the right side is being recorded right now? Just hit the switch and BAM, you got the left side being recorded. What? Left side isn't the best camera angle? BAM. Hit the switch again and you're automatically sent back to the right side for recording purposes. It was neat to watch, this switching back and forth process.
So I'm watching the monitor and it's taping a pre-written conversation between a student and a counselor. Then the camera switches to the other scene where it's a student who's pretending to be a customer trying to order something from another student who plays a vendor. Then it switches back to the original conversation. Nothing too dramatic or extraordinary... until.
The camera then switches back to the customer/vendor scene. As soon as the image comes up on the monitor the student playing the vendor begins projectially vomitting. Hard core vomit. Puke-O-Rama. The Spewinator. Hurla Walla Ding Dong. Blarg.
Being a little kid, he has the automatic reaction to try and catch all of the vomit, but this only causes a spreading action. Meanwhile, the students around the area and those that were taping all start to freak out and don't know what to do. The instructors and counselors try to get control of the situation, but are themselves also silently freaking out a bit because our training book only had a small paragraph explaining what to do in such a situation and that paragraph was forgotten long ago. I run to the hallway to find a mop and maybe some wood chips for puke soaking purposes. When I couldn't find them myself, I had to ask a near by administrator where such items would be found. As I tried to explain why I needed them, I just started laughing. Because, no matter how old you are.... someone puking in class is funny.
It is. I mean, I felt for the kid. I really did. But think back to all the times you were in class and someone puked. At first, you get a bit grossed out. Then, you try really hard not to laugh because the sound of vomit hitting linoleum and the strange hurling sounds that preceeded play again and again in your mind. Pre-Teen comedy gold, baby.
After returning to class with janitorial help on the way, it looked like the mad panic had ceased and Plan B was put into affect. I took on the role of caretaker of the poor sick kid. Led him to the sick room, called his parental guardians, and made sure he was comfortable. While on the phone with one of his guardians, I had to bite my lip when I was asked what exactly happened.
"Well, ma'am. We were taping a presentation and he threw up in the middle of filming."
"It's on tape?"
"Yes ma'am. It was all caught on tape."
There was a slight beat as the parental guardian absorbed the idea and then said, "Poor baby."
Poor baby, indeed. I hung up the phone and turned toward the student. He looked much better now and was actually kind of excited about the entire thing. "You think I can get a copy of it to show my friends?"
See, kids. They're so freaking awesome.
Later on in the day, the word that we had live puking action caught on film spread to the other counselors and instructors. After all of the students had gone home, we all crammed into a room to watch the footage. Leading up to the actual moment of puke you can see the student feeling more and more uncomfortable as the scene goes on, but stick with the actual dialogue because that's what one does in a presentation. Then it happens. In the mad panic after the puking, no one remembered to actually stop recording so the pandomonium is all caught on tape as well. You see the hurl, then you see students uneasily backing away from the area, supressed confused smiles on their faces. Then you see only the abdominal area of a counselor coming onto the scene to make everyone back away and sit in an area of safety. The sick kid is still in frame and you can make out his body leaning over as he continues throwing up. You then see one of the instuctors go to assist the sick student, see him notice that the student is still puking, then turns around and walks back to where he came, thinking that maybe space is what the sick student still needs. Later, the student is led out of the classroom, past the intruding eye of the camera, his sick face exposed to the world. Once he's out of the room a couple of other students run over to the area of puke, look at it more closely, become sickened themselves as they quickly walk away.
Watching this happen on tape caused high hilarity among those that had gathered to view the footage. There were murmurs of "Poor thing" and "Oh man, that had to be embarassing" in between the chortles and gasps.
Fast forward to last night.
I made a copy of the tape. Brought it home. Showed it to friends. They also found it hilarious. Same sort of sympathetic reactions, but we still rewound it and watched it again. And agian. And again. slow-mo. Rewind. With and without commentary.
The friends were gathered to celebrate the opening of a new show we're involved in. It was a rough run, but the cast and crew got through it and we all celebrated by drinking beers together at Muffin Face and Wakey's house. Now, I can handle drinking beer. It's not my usual libation of choice, but if it's provided and offered to me for the low low cost of free, then I will partake. And partake I did. After my fifth beer and some hardy celebration, I noticed that my body was feeling a little off. Cold sweat. Dry mouth. I wrote these signs off to the fact that I had recently been battling a cold and perhaps was a bit sick because of that fact. So I sat down on an ice chest and tried to look as normal as possible. Lipman arrived at the celebration to join in and came and sat right across from me. I did my best to keep face. I was right along for the conversation ride, but was in the meantime freaking out a little bit because I was feeling really really drunk. As I was making it clear that I was listening to the conversation at hand, my mind was busy calculating when was the last time I ate and how much water had I had in bewtween. The conclusion was that I had eaten dinner about 7 hours before and had only about 5 swigs of water in the time lapsed. Not incredibly horrible ratios, but very risky nonetheless. I decided that I was, indeed, drunk and needed to chill out on my own for a bit. However, not wanting to draw attention to the fact that I wasn't feeling well, I used the excuse that every drunky uses when they need to retreat alone for a while and get a handle on the reality around him or her.
"I've gotta go to the bathroom. I'll be right back.," I said to Lipman, hoping that maybe he would be able to read my mind and come, nonchalantly to the bathroom with me after the appropriate non-alerting amount of time had passed.
As I walked through the house to the bathroom, I was fully aware of the idea that I was sick. I locked the bathroom door and dropped my pants as I sat on the toilet; head in hands, staring at a weird stain on the wall in front of me.
"Don't puke. Don't puke. Don't puke."
I began to think about all the possible ways I could get out of this uncomfortable situation. The bedroom was right around the corner, I could sneak out of the bathroom, pass out on the bed, and just let them find me later. I could just walk out the front door and walk to my house which wasn't too far away. I could just stay in the bathroom and hope that Lipman would notice that I'd been gone for sometime and would come to check on me. Perhaps I would suddenly discover my hidden powers of being able to evaporate into thin air and reappear in the comfort of my own bathroom.
No such luck.
I puked. Hard.
The kind of puke where you are hurling so hard that you can feel your body lift off of the ground a little bit from the pure kinetic energy that is pouring out of your mouth.
This happened about 4 times. I don't know how long I was in there, but was trying really really hard to keep track of how much time passed.
'1...2....3.... 4.... BOLOOORRORORHGHARRRRRDARGHA.... thhhhhpt. Thhhhhhpt. Thhhhhhhhhhhhhhpt. 1....2....3...4....5..... BLOELOOFOROGOHGHGHAHRHGHHOAHGHSHH. Blorgh. BlLLLLLOroghghohwohoshhh. Thhhhpt. Thhhhhhhhhhhhpt. Cracggle. Gruphhhhrl. Thhhhpt. 1....2....3...4..."
So I really have no freaking clue how long I was in there. It must have been some time because finally one of the gatherers knocked on the door.
"Yo. Leroy. Yo. You've been in there for sometime, grrrrl."
"Oh, really. Hm. Well, I just need to hang out here for a bit. Um. Yeah. I need to. Be in here and not out there right now."
"Are you okay?"
"Oh, fine. Fine. Heh."
"Oh. All right. We're going to go to Jack In the Box, you want anything?"
I tightened my throat as I thought about having two deep fried tacos for 0.99$.
And I tightened my grip on the toilet's edge as I waited to hear the footsteps fade knowing that I could hurl in privacy.
BLOGOROAOGOROAOAHHROAHAOHHRRROGH. Thhhhpt. Thhhhhhpt.
It was bad. I was wiping my tongue off with toilet paper to get the taste out of my mouth. I was trying to make myself think about other things.
But all I could think about was that poor kid that had puked in class, on film. How I had shown the footage and laughed and laughed. How I was paying dearly for this sick humor now.
Finally, I was at a point where I felt as if I could actually stand and walk without heaving. I brushed my teeth with my finger and a borrowed bead of toothpaste and exited.
Apparently, no one had a clue that I had been in there puking. Everyone was still outside, having a jolly, non-puke time, talking about things that were not related to puke.
I found Lipman inside talking to Wakey and said, "Hey Hundee. I think you need to take me home."
The look in my eye and the waft of my breath must have been a give away because Lipman didn't question once if I was sure if I wanted to stay a little longer.
I didn't even go outside to say good-bye to my friends. I just beelined it to the car and tried to hypnotize myself into feeling well again.
Unfortunately, I'm not a hypnotist.
When we got home I was even sicker. Something about an environment that you feel safe in makes you puke even more.
And puke I did. I puked for the next 3 and a half hours. I tried to lay down on the floor, but any sort of movement caused more heaving. So there I stayed, in the same position- forehead on the rim of the toilet, butt perched on the back of my heels, arms used as a shabby tripod to keep my head from falling into the water below.
It was bad. And in between spewing, I just said in my head over and over apologies to Karma for my act. It was not right... and therefore it was wrong. I promised that the next time I caught a kid on video puking, I would quickly dispose of the video as to hide any further embarassment. I would give immediate comfort. I would not laugh. I would only give sympathy.
I shall keep this pledge forever, because I don't ever want to puke like I did on Friday night.