Vacation of regurgitation takes us on a trip of the ages

Here’s the deal. Short and sweet.

Yesterday, that would be Wednesday of July the 13th, my wife of lo’ these many years and me eldest embark on a quest to the nearby Skirball Museum in Los Angeles to see the Houdini exhibit.

I’ve just started my vacation, and through bad planning, have no place to go but here at home. And why not I ask you? People come from other countries to holiday here so why shouldn’t I? Damn right.

So, we start out on our quest. One small problem. For whatever reason I am nauseous, feeling like I could throw up any minute. That’s right share my insides with the outside world at any given moment. Convinced it will pass, I bring along a bucket and a towel just in case. Be prepared, I say. I’m not going to let a little vomit stop me from my first day of holiday.

We’re off on our journey. Hopes are high. Sights are set. Houdini here we come. I take up  in the backseat just in case I need to puke my guts out. Everything is going fine until we just about get to the Skirball when my insides do decide to make a violent entrance into the outside world, or in this case into my hand-held bucket. And they do, in all their wretched glory. Into the bucket it goes and we decided that we must now find a place where I can dispose of said content, wash out the bucket and resume our vacation. That’s right! No quit here.

We drive for miles on a winding, downhill road until we get to a fancy-dan Whole Foods market. I think, “What the hell? They must have a bathroom here.” I tell my wife to pull into the parking lot full of Mercedes, Maseratis and Bentleys and she does.

I get out, bucket of puke in hand, and race past the outside dinning area, into the market, stopping anybody wearing an employee-looking badge, demanding to know the location of the bathroom. They point to the back corner of the market and off I bolt, refusing them a moment to question my bucket filled with foul-smelling liquid sloshing about.

The bathroom is one of those that is so well-hidden you need a map to find it and it’s upstairs in the back where the employees change for work. Obviously, another place of business that discourages the public’s use of its facilities.

Also, an employee decides to move directly in front of me, walking, no strolling would be a better word, as if time is a luxury of the rich and famous. I cannot pass without knocking him over so I stay on his heels. He begins to pick up my scent and nervously looks over his shoulders at this crazed man but refuses to quicken his pace.

Up the stairs we go, and finally into the bathroom. And it’s tiny. I mean the size of a shoe box.

I push my way into the toilet area , shut the door and dispose of my scanky contents. But now the bucket needs to be washed for some of me did not want to be dislodged from the bucket’s bottom.  A hand-washing is required.

I do just that as a maintenance man comes into this tiny bathroom with a mop and his bucket. He looks at me oddly. But no way is anybody going to stop me from my quest.

There are now three of us standing, staring at each other. Well, I’m not standing. I am washing, rinsing, drying out my bucket. I have a job to do and by God, I am going to do it!

I clean the bucket out several times as the two employees, still stunned, stare at me with bewilderment. I dry it. The task is done and off I go. I thank the two of them, yelling over my shoulder, “thank you,” and they both respond in unison “de nada.”

I run down the stairs, buy some plastic trash bags – the big industrial strength kind – to place in the bucket, so next time I can easily dispose of the contents, and we resume our trip to the Skirball and Houdini, which by the way was not as good as hoped.

On the way home, I had to use the bucket again. God, how I hate puking. But I am a past master. I know how to puke because of my training as a practicing alcoholic, long since turned into sobriety. Puking becomes second nature as a drunk. You learn how to direct it, hold it and even swallow it. What a life!

But still puking is puking. My eldest calls my doctor from his cell phone. My doctor, who is great by the way – his name is Dr. William Lee – best doc in L.A., got on the phone, talked with me between violent wretches into bucket, prescribed some medicine and all is better. I slept through the night and all seems to be OK.

This is now Thursday of July the 14th. The second day of my vacation. Wonder what joy today will bring? Can’t wait.



About stevewhitmore

Former award-winning newspaperman and broadcast journalist, both radio and TV, spanning three decades. Army-trained paralegal, court bailiff and prosecutor's lead investigator for the 8th Infantry Division's Judge Advocate General's Corp., Mainz, Germany. 1973-1975.
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