That Time I Puked In My Purse In The Backseat Of My In-Law's Car

by Jorrie Varney
Originally Published: 

The wedding was fancier than I expected. As a girl from the country, most wedding receptions I’d attended had self-serve kegs and some form of dip, so this was different. Everyone was dressed to the nines and the cake was bigger than my first apartment. The women sipped white wine from fluted glasses, as they mingled through the beautiful ballroom.

Unless you count the Boones Farm during my senior year, I never really drank wine, but I didn’t want to be the only woman drinking beer, so I ordered wine in an attempt to blend in. Blending in isn’t typically something I worry about, but I’d come to this wedding with a boy I really liked, and I hoped to fit in with his group of friends. Politely sipping wine seemed like a better approach than drinking beer out of a solo cup, like the country girl I was.

I learned a few things that night: One, always be yourself, because it will likely save you a headache in the long run. And two, you can’t drink wine at the same pace you can drink beer.

I don’t really know how many glasses of wine I had that night, but when it was time to leave I realized I was a bit more than tipsy. Some might say I was hammered. Not one of my finest moments, and completely unintentional, I did my best to appear as sober as possible.

Unfortunately, we rode to the wedding with my boyfriend’s parents. I’d only met them once or twice before this occasion, so my over-indulgence was less than ideal. It was late when the reception ended, so I prayed the darkness would hide my glossy eyes. We climbed in the back of the minivan, and headed home. Well, to his parents’ home, where we were staying for the weekend.

Not more than 10 minutes into our hour drive, the blinding nausea hit me. The rational thing to do in a situation like this is to ask the driver to pull over. Yes, asking my boyfriend’s father to pull over so I could ralph on the side of the highway would be mortifying, but rational. Don’t you worry though, my drunken-mind was working overtime to come up with several other terrible, less rational ideas.

First, I considered puking out the window. But we were in the back of a minivan, and not the kind with windows that rolled down. Opening a sliding van door while driving down the highway seemed like a really bad plan, even with half a vineyard of wine coursing through my body. I realized asking the driver to pull over was truly my only option, only by this time, it was too late. I knew the minute I opened my mouth the jig was up. So, with very little thought and even fewer options, I opened my $300, designer handbag and released The Kraken.

Like sneezing in church, I tried to get it over with as quickly and quietly as possible. I caught my boyfriend’s eye, as I lifted my head from the bag, wiping my mouth on the back of my hand. Sexy, I know.

His eyes were wide, and a mixture of terror and what the fuck painted his face.

“I’m so sorry.” I mouthed across the back seat.

Though the smell made it very clear there was a bag full of vomit in the car, I played aloof. I didn’t know what to say, or how to say it. “Hey guys, I just puked in my purse. Now what?” So instead, I said nothing. I closed the bag, and held it in my lap until we made an unscheduled stop at a fast food restaurant, where I ran inside to assess the damage.

It was a grizzly scene when I opened my once beautiful handbag. My red leather wallet and brand new iPod were among the casualties. I threw out what I could, and tried to clean-up as much as possible, but there was only so much that could be done. I couldn’t leave my wallet, credit cards, and ID in a McDonald’s bathroom, so I was forced to take my sack of sadness back to the van.

No one spoke the entire way home. It was the stuff actual nightmares are made of. I tossed my purse in the trunk of my car when we arrived at the house, and though I wanted nothing more than to leave, I was in no condition to drive. So, I stayed the night as planned, woke up at the crack of dawn, and left before anyone else was awake—as one does after she embarrasses herself beyond the point of recovery.

My boyfriend called later that morning asking for a ride home, since I’d basically abandoned him there. We lived together at the time, so never seeing him again wasn’t an option. Although I briefly considered moving away and starting fresh in a new city, I instead returned to the scene of the crime and apologized profusely to his parents. They laughed and told their own embarrassing stories while his dad made eggs for breakfast. (Side note: Don’t eat eggs when you are extremely hungover. I know that now.) They forgave me, because clearly they are the kindest, most understanding people on the planet.

I married their son the following year, and this story has become a holiday favorite amongst our family. This was easily the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to me, but I now have the greatest family ever, and a healthy respect for white wine, so I guess it turned out OK.

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