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Saturday, September 04, 2004

Sick-up in the city 

One time I was riding the bus and it was crammed with the usual bizarre cross section of this town's society when suddenly one of the passengers, whom I judged to be a $5 hooker (even in what was, at the time, a very inflated economy), staggered up from her seat. She then shouted to the bus driver, “Open the back door!” With the jerky, palsied gait of a crack addict, she made her way to the back door, positioned herself at the back steps and then leaned over and started heaving. In between retches she hollered,

“I said, open the back door!" and, “I know you heard me say open the GODDAMN back door!”

While we all waited with bated breath, the bus driver sprung the door at last and she leaned out and started noisely vomiting. After an encore of dry heaving, she wiped her mouth with the back of her hand and said, “All right! You can close it now!” She then sat back down in her seat as if nothing happened and promptly fell asleep. Relieved that she wasn't going to start some horrible bio-chain reaction like on that Southwest flight, I thought to myself “Awww, how sweet. She must be pregnant.”

You don’t have to ride the bus in the city to be spared public vomiting. My dear friend at Neonjungle worked in an upscale office in which one of the secretaries suffered bouts of morning sickness. When she would have spells of nausea she would reach for the handiest trashcan and empty the contents of her stomach. She would do this in public trashcans - in the breakroom, in the halls, in the foyer, wherever - and then blithely go on her way. While working in her own cubicle she would lean over, vomit in her own trashcan and then resume typing, leaving her mess for the janitor to empty the next morning, much to the distress and dismay of her coworkers. Although in a way I admire her grim dedication and perserverance, this behavior was really not fair to her coworkers, and probably reinforced some old chauvinistic attitudes about women belonging in the workplace. This was definitely a problem for Human Resources to address, which is why even though I would love knowing gossip and hearing all about the outlandish behavior of my coworkers, this was a never a field I would be interested in.

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