Most days, I consider myself a good person. One who, given a choice, will do the right thing.
Today was not one of those days.
My daughter and I were cruising through Costco, enjoying our ridiculously large chocolate frozen yogurts, heading toward a mom with two young kids seated side by side in the shopping cart. Right when we roll up next to them, and I mean right at that exact moment, the little boy in the cart leans over and pukes. In our direction. Within spraying distance of us and our yogurt.
Now before I continue with the story, let’s talk about me and puke. I was very, very sick throughout all three of my pregnancies with a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum. I threw up on a daily basis, many, many times a day, for months on end, during three separate times in my life. I was hospitalized, IVs, the works. And I think I have PTSD now. Because when it comes to vomit, I cannot handle being around it. At all.
When my own sweet children have the stomach flu, I scream for my husband and then hide far enough away that I cannot hear that revolting sound coming from the bathroom.
On the rare occasions that this happens and I am alone with the kids, I shove them into the bathroom and stand in the hall behind the closed door cheering them on guiltily, “It’s okay! You’re doing great, sweetie! You can totally do this by yourself!”
As a result, my children are very independent pukers. Not a bad thing, really.
Now back to Costco, and the puking kid: I freeze in place. My stomach lurches, and I immediately start to feel sick, but I realize that I have a bunch of napkins in my purse and that this mom would probably really appreciate some napkins right about now. And I really do consider holding my breath, not looking at the vomit-covered child, cart, and ground and handing her the napkins with an empathetic, encouraging nod of support.
Until the kid leans over the cart again and just absolutely unleashes perhaps the contents of every Costco sample table, over and over again, as only a child in public can do. There is puke everywhere. Everywhere.
And suddenly I am not frozen. I am running away, like my life actually depends on it.
Away from the poor mother and the poor puking kid and the poor other kid who’s sitting next to the puking kid. As fast as I can push my daughter and her chocolate yogurt and all the other crap in our cart, I haul ass out of there.
And I don’t look back.
And I know it’s really horrible that I didn’t help a fellow mom. I had napkins. She needed me. I was right there.
But I couldn’t. Fight or flight kicked in, and I had to GTFO.
So, lady in Costco with the puking kid: If your child had been choking, I swear I would’ve jumped in and performed the Heimlich immediately. If he had fallen out of the cart and cracked his head open, I would’ve ripped off my shirt and held it to his bleeding wound, and I wouldn’t have batted an eye. But this, this spewing puke all over the place, was just too much for me. I am truly sorry.
And now I am sitting here waiting for karma to bite me in the ass and send the stomach flu storming through my house. Stay tuned.