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Archived Observation

I always say that I'm fragile, because any little step outside my current routine throws my body into days worth of sickness and distress. Like the time we stayed up with people from the bar until 5:00 AM. Or the time we had to take a non-stop redeye from San Francisco through L.A. to Tampa to visit Avery's dad. By the time we got to Tampa, it was something like 5:00 in the morning and we still had to get the rental car and try to remember whether it was the "Hunter's Green" or "Hunter's Glen" gated community his dad lived in.

So we get there, and of course they wake up and make this huge breakfast, and by then it seems kind of pointless to start sleeping so we stay up all day (which is basically all day and all night and all day at this point) and I start getting this little headache sometime during the afternoon which turns into a little neckache some time later, so I take about six ibuprofin and pray. We're supposed to be going out to this World-Renowned Steakhouse where you can practically choose the cow you want your steak to come from and I'm just hoping that I can make it through this dinner so I can finally sleep.

The steak place is some kind of gigantic castle, just sitting there all conspicuously right in the heart of the Tampa Bay area, with dark lighting and blood-red interior, and the wine list is the size of a dictionary from the Reference Section of the library — the kind that sits on its own pedestal — and is actually chained to the table because rumor has it that people try to steal them as souvenirs all the time, since their wine cellar supposedly has every wine in existence, or close to it. The menu is equally as extensive, where you can not only choose what cut of steak you want and how you want it cooked, but also the thickness and/or weight, and it's one of those dinners where everything under the sun is included in the price of the steak, like a salad and a soup and little garlic toasts, and a baked potato and bread and vegetables as if the 2-pound steak wasn't enough food. And I'm slowly feeling worse and worse, and my neckache is paralyzing me at this point while slowly creeping upwards, taking over the entire back of my skull and pretty soon the whole front of my skull, which of course only serves to make me feel nauseous, and the food keeps coming and the waiters are hovering and the little smelly garlic toasts just start sending me bad nauseous-smell vibes and I just know that I'm not going to make it through this meal.

But I keep taking tiny bites of the huge appetizers that someone ordered, and then the enormous side dishes that come with the meal but really are like a meal in themselves, and it's taking an eternity. The steak finally gets extracted from the cow and brought to the table, and I just look at the steak and smell the steak fumes and have to run to the restroom right then and there if only to cry in pain and splash some water on my face. The Avery's stepmother comes searching for me and everyone's concerned and they try to eat really fast and don't even mind that I have to take my entire expensive dinner home in a box. But then they want to go to the dessert building, yes, that's right, the dessert building, built solely for dessert-eating purposes, but FIRST we need to take the guided tour of the wine cellar and the kitchen, with all of the assembly-line salad-makers and assembly-line baked potato-makers and our tour guide, who takes it all very seriously. So we finally get through the dessert course which offers another dictionary-sized menu, and start driving home and I can't even see straight at this point, my headache is so blinding, and every little lurch that Avery's dad makes with the car just sends waves of nausea through me so I'm just gripping the leather seat for dear life and just as I think that I'm going to fall down and die we pull into the driveway. I manage to get the words "open the door" out of my mouth, the headache affecting my brain so much that I've forgotten that it's a four-door car. The only thing I remember thinking is that I needed to find an inconspicuous place to throw up because I didn't want to mar the nice driveway. The I took a Xanax and collapsed on the bed.

In a nutshell, that's exactly what happened to me on Sunday, substituting the Belgian Beer Festival for the Steakhouse. In my vain attempts to find an explanation of why I should be throwing up all day I blamed the lox on my bagel, accused someone of tampering with my All-Sport sport drink, and entertained the thought of pesticide poisoning from the tomato…until Avery reminded me that he ate the exact same things as I did, and he sure as hell didn't spend the day puking.

Posted in Observations.

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