Reversal of Fortune

Yesterday I managed to crack my own Top 5 Most Embarrassing Moments.  And that’s saying something.

I’ve given it some thought, and I can say with assurance that what happened to me yesterday was more embarrassing than cutting myself out of a velvet party dress.

More embarrassing than walking around a cruise ship for a day with a gaping hole in the seat of my pants.

And yes, it was even more embarrassing, albeit less terrifying, than having a bird mistake my hair for a nest.

Yet, is was less embarrassing than accidentally calling the Personnel Director “bitch” while I was inquiring about the possibility of a job.

Yes, I do believe yesterday’s, uh, episode has landed squarely in the #2 spot of Most Embarrassing Moments

It all began in my classroom, which is currently serving as a dragonfly nymph nursery and has a pungent, swampy smell.  I’m sensitive to smells and so when my stomach felt a little unsettled, I chalked it up to the funk and cracked my back door open for a little fresh air.  I felt much better and worked for another hour or so.

After school I stopped by the pet store to pick up some dragonfly supplies.  The smell of pet stores always makes me a little nauseated and so I thought nothing of it when my stomach gurgled.  I quickly paid for my items, declining the plastic bag offered by the clerk, and shoving the items in my purse as I rushed out the door for some air.

I was just coming around to the driver’s side of my car when my stomach dropped and twisted sharply.  I looked around for a nearby trashcan.  Why didn’t I just take that plastic bag?  Before I could hobble over to the trash can, I felt a revolution rising in my stomach.  I gripped my purse with one hand and the side of the car with the other.  Home was only 5 minutes away.  No way am I going to make it.  And no way am I going to puke inside my car.

And I made the decision then and there to let fly in the parking lot.  Or rather my stomach made it for me.  It’s what competitive eaters call a “reversal of fortune”.  And I was reversing all over the parking lot.

A man with a lap dog was on his way into the pet store.  When he saw me, instead of looking the other direction, he started walking toward me.  Chivalry is alive and well.  That’s what ran through my mind while gasping for  breath and wiping my mouth with the back of my hand.  He patted me on the back.  Incidentally the only thing that makes my stomach turn more violently when I’m puking is having someone touch me.  But this stranger was going out of his way to be nice and so I tried to quell the heat churning in my belly.

“Morning sickness is the worst,” the man said, shaking his head.  Wait, what???

“What?” I said gulping air.

“Morning sickness is the worst.  My wife was sick for three months straight.”

Dear reader, let me pause for a moment and catch you up to speed.  I AM NOT PREGNANT.  I have never been pregnant.  In fact I will never be pregnant.  Apparently I look pregnant, which is just about the worst information to find out while blowing chunks for a public audience.

Believe it or not, that’s when things got worse.

I started to cry.

I turned a deep, radish red.  I was SO humiliated.

And continued to puke, narrowly missing his dog.  I should have aimed better.  There I was: a puking, sweating, crying mess in the parking lot.

I stopped heaving for a moment and the man said something like, “I’ll go inside and get you some paper towels.”  Honestly, I’m not entirely sure that’s what he said.

My embarrassment was too loud.

The second he set foot inside the store, I jumped in my car and sped away, leaving a black tire mark next to my other offerings.  Back at home I had an encore performance and topped it all off with one more crying jag.

While recuperating and setting up my post as Couch Captain, I ruminated on a few lessons from this incident.

  1. Listen to my gut.  Especially when it’s making noises that can only be from the pit of hell.
  2. Men, this one is especially for you.  The only time is it ever okay to assume a woman is pregnant is if you are in the same room actually watching her physically give birth.
  3. This last one is more of a practical tidbit for me to keep in mind should I find myself in this situation again.  Aim better.  Aim for the dog.  No, not that one.  The one who somehow managed to add insult to injury by inadvertantly calling me fat.

Here’s hoping you have a weekend full of good fortune, dear reader, and none of it in reverse.

Heart of a Warrior

I’m pretty sure I’ll never be one of those girls who bounces out of bed at the sheer prospect of riding my bike.  Don’t get me wrong, I love riding my bike.  I just also love burrowing in my warm cozy bed.  Because my love of cycling can be so easily trumped by my bed, I resort to trickery.  I round up the troops and make them ride with me.  I might stand myself up, but I won’t leave a friend hanging.  So this morning, I set out in the good company of Terry, That Laura, Nick and Abby.

This morning I ate the cycling breakfast of champions: oatmeal, skinned grapefruit and a banana.  The last time I rode, I had eggs for breakfast and almost had a reversal of fortune on the side of the road up to Shasta Dam.  (Note to self: Eggs are not a good cycling food.)  But back to this morning, I slipped on my Team Fatty gear, dismayed that the fatty part, while once ironic, is now just truth in advertising.  I’m working on that.

The weather today was so perfect, blue sky, cotton ball clouds and barely a hint of wind.  It was warm enough that I didn’t even need tights.  We headed out to Millville Plains, my most favorite place to ride.  You can see for miles and miles at the top of the Plains.  The cows grazing there must be the happiest in all of California.  My favorite tree lives there, too.  She was all sticks and bones standing guard over the plains, but I know she’s secreting away green buds for me underneath her black skin.  Spring is coming, spring is coming I told her as I whipped by.

My legs were strong most of the ride leading me to believe that maybe, just maybe, my spin instructor isn’t entirely evil.  My legs were strong enough, but my heart, my heart was fierce.  I had the heart of a warrior today.  It pumped away pressing uphill, screaming downhill, and keeping time on the flats.  It was glorious and I smiled so much my teeth hurt from the cool air.  Not even the five putrid dead skunks I passed or the pair of pitbulls that chased me could dampen my joy.

Thirty three miles into the ride and three miles from home, my legs began to ache.  The sort of ache that feels like my bones are hollow and might shatter any second, but I’ve had this ache before and I know it passes if I just ignore it.  Well, I complain about it and then ignore it.  Same difference.  I willed my legs to circle me back home.  At home I rested in the front yard.  Not even the fact that I’d locked myself out of my house could ruin this ride.  I waited for a friend to arrive with spare key and as my legs pulsed complaints, my heart was steady, calm even.  I sat there making a sweaty print on my walkway and realized I’d just had one of the best rides of my life.  Now that just might make me bounce out of bed to ride next time.