It's been almost a full year since I have been really sick. It was a Monday evening around eight o'clock last mid-April when I started to feel a bit "green" and by ten I was off on a rousing adventure lasting until morning which found me getting acquainted with several of the fixtures in one of our bathrooms.
The previous day we had been to a birthday party for a cousin who was turning one. I later found out that half of the people who attended were either ill at the time of the party or became so soon afterwards.
So why I am reliving this? Well, I recall the last thing that I ate before the adventure began was a sandwich from a local chain that was just a block from school. I had grown quite fond of the sandwiches they make and ate there two or three times per week, either after or in between class.
Perhaps you know where this is going.
What goes down must come up, they say (or at least I do) and it was ugly. I will spare the details, but the aftermath has been that I have been unable to eat from this place since. I barely even notice it when I walk by now. Just thinking about this place makes me cringe.
Tonight I found out that my class was canceled as I was on the train about halfway into the city, so I turned around and called my wife, to see if she wanted anything special for dinner.
She fancied a sandwich. From this place. Which conveniently now has a location just a few blocks from our home. So I went, and as I stood in line listening to some huge Bulgarian in front of me rant about the quality of his sandwich (which is another entry in itself) I decided it was time to try again. I ordered a sandwich of my own.
I tried, but it ain't the same anymore. The thrill is gone. I can't eat anything from this place and not think about how ill I was that night. All I could think about was what happened to me the last time I ate something from this place.
I could see having this reaction if it were the fault of this joint that I became ill in the first place, but it's not. I had the exact same symptoms of twenty other people. It was definitely something I caught at the party from the day before.
This has happened once before. Thanksgiving 1997. Someone, or something, at dinner wasn't right, and more than a few people paid the price. For me, that didn't come until about five a.m. Saturday morning.
A friend and I had gone to see Boogie Nights the night before, and while some would argue that that particular film would make anybody toss their cookies, I didn't think it was all that bad.
But I can't watch it now. If I stumble upon it on cable, I have to turn it off immediately. If someone mentions it, I get a queasy feeling in my stomach. Any remembrance of the film reminds me of what happened about ten hours after I saw it for the first time. It's all I can think about now, just writing about it. I remember yanking a fixture that holds a roll of toilet paper completely off the wall. I've never heaved so much in my life-I could have lifted a car off of someone.
All this makes me wonder what could have possibly happened if I had sat down in front of the TV tonight as I attempted to eat my sandwich and flipped on HBO just as Don Cheadle walks into the donut shop.