sick

My Life in Vomits

Every experience is so unpleasant, they're impossible to forget.

by Lauren O'Neill
04 March 2019, 11:47am

Photo: Jake Lewis

You're born, you die, and in between you vomit. Exactly how much depends on a few variables – the strength or weakness of your stomach, your alcohol intake, your sensitivity to virulent bugs – but one thing is constant: you never forget a vom.

This is because vomiting is necessarily an extreme physical reaction. It's your body rejecting the very thing it needs to sustain it, usually because you’ve put some other shit inside it that it simply cannot tolerate*, resulting in you having your head in a bowl/a bin/a family sized crisp bag, spitting out the weirdest parts of everything you've ever eaten.

Nobody I know throws up more than me, and because I am really scraping the barrel for parts of my life to turn into content, I would like to take you on a guided tour of my existence, via the sites of some of my worst vomits. A bit like This Is Your Life? Except it’s This Is Your Sick.

The Graj

It is a point of great pride of mine that I have whiteyed only once in my life. I remember it fondly: I was 14 years old, stoned, and – though I didn’t know it yet – about to embark on my life's greatest journey: my vomming career.

I had vomited before, of course, but these were small-fry kiddy sicks. This time was because I'd drunk some backwash cider and had a few too many wet puffs on what is known colloquially as a "marijuana cigarette". It was, at last, my first grown-up sick.

I was in a shed at the bottom of my friend Liam's garden, which contained a load of chairs, garden furniture, a sofa, a corner called Piss Corner (guess why) and, weirdly, a punchbag, which has since been lost, fairly mysteriously given that punchbags are massive. We used to call this shed The Graj because we all loved Weezer and there's a song on The Blue Album called "In the Garage", on which Rivers Cuomo sings "garage" like "graj".

I was in the Graj and had broken the sacred rule ("beer before grass, on your arse / grass before beer, in the clear", Amen.) My head started feeling like a very bad blender and, before I knew it, I'd thrown up a ham sandwich into a Sainsbury's carrier bag. Baby’s first whitey.

It was an auspicious start to a lifelong habit.

A Plant Pot Outside a Club Legitimately Named 'Wahoo'

By my second year of uni I had completely dropped my aspirations of "getting a first" in favour of the more realistic goal of "getting fucking on it", which often involved going to "socials" where you paid a fiver for an unlimited amount of prosecco. I am five feet and one inch tall. During one of these nights, a good three feet of me was simply full of sparkling wine, just sloshing around in my stupid little legs.

That particular evening, I walked a club called Wahoo with a boy in the third year who was rumoured to be Burberry model while he told me about his ex-girlfriend. I'd been inside for >1 minute before having to feel my way outside, slump onto a chair in the smoking area and unload the prosecco into the nearest receptacle, which happened to be a large plant pot.

I think there comes a time in every person’s life when they have done a properly shameful sick. The "how did I get here" vomit; the "I am a bad person" sick. This moment – my head lolling in a terracotta tub outside a nightclub called with the actual name Wahoo, whose in-house DJ only ever played "Timber" by Pitbull ft. Ke$ha – was this sick for me.

A Taxi Called for Me By a Stranger

This same night, a stranger found me head-in-plant-pot and rang me a taxi, in which I am ashamed to say I was a tiny bit sick.

Shout out here to this wonderful, kind taxi driver – and taxi drivers everywhere, who have to deal with The Fucking State of the General Public every weekend, and usually also on Thursdays and Bank Holidays. You're all angels and none of us are worthy of your service.

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Photo: Jake Lewis

My Ex-Boyfriend's House

On this occasion, my vomit was literally blue, because the night before I had taken in the sights of Sheffield's infamous Corporation nightclub, where I drank a large quantity of its infamous "blue drink", which is basically paint-stripper vodka mixed with sugar and food colouring.

Outside My Uni House

Continuing the theme of "getting incredibly smashed off drinks with ingredients that look like they’d make your insides glow", one uni night near Christmas a load of us went to Spoons, which – at university age – almost always means "drinking your bodyweight in pitchers".

The drink that sticks in my mind was the Pornstar Martini, or at least Wetherspoons' version of it. Immediately after tasting the unpleasantly creamy (?) sweetness of it, I knew it did not spell good things for me. But obviously, as I was 20, I continued drinking, before stumbling home, holding down the vom I knew was a’tearing round the mountain, and then finally, fatally, opening my gob and Linda Blair-ing right outside my house.

My mum was coming to fetch me the next day and I didn't want her to see what terror I hath wrought, so when I woke up I went outside and picked all the sick up in a carrier bag. Another personal low, that.

A night bus in London

Pitchers, again. The details don't much matter. Wetherspoons [Woo Woo and also, I think, cider and black???] > Heaven [drinks bought for us by this boy I literally do not remember the name of, sorry] > McDonald’s [chips] > night bus. Then the action begins.

Me [extremely fucking heaving very obviously]: *Heaves*

Girl who is now apparently sitting next to me [drunk]: Do you need to be sick, babe? It’s OK.

Me [still heaving]: No I’m fine.

I am violently sick on the bus.

Girl [rubbing my back and I love her I love her so much]: Don’t worry, babe. Let it out. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. I’m banned from Oxford Circus station because I pissed myself in there once.

Me [groaning]: Nhhhuunnnhhhh.

Exeunt.


I think of her sometimes, my night bus angel, sent from heaven to make literally the worst vomit of my life slightly more humane.

The next day I thought I was dying and only managed to get out of bed (other than to be sick, including when I ran downstairs bare-arsed and found that a housemate's mum was visiting, which was "good" and not "abject") at 6PM. I then went to the shop, where I had literally never encountered anyone I knew, and had stop-n-chats with TWO separate people, which I believe was karma judging me. I have not tempted it so badly since.

VICE UK Office

Regular office vommer here. Office vom crew stand up. I start an hour earlier than everyone else, which affords me some privacy on a hungover Friday, the morning after thinking, 'It's Thursday, who cares!' without processing that it's me who should care, because I'll soon be on my knees, vomiting in my place of employment.

My routine is this: I go to the toilets, make peace with my stomach, walk out and behave as normal. Give me a BAFTA.

The Masque Haunt (Colloquially Known as Old Street Wetherspoons)

Have you ever been sick on a date? I do! not! recommend! it!

Some months ago, I found myself at The Masque Haunt on one of those dates where you’re not actually really sure it’s a date, and reader, the hangover raged (the night before, as the story almost always goes, I was at an indie disco that I was at least five years too old to be at; I drank 1 million spirit + mixers; someone poured a full pint over me because Justice came on; I fell over in the smoking area).

I got a vodka, lime and soda to be polite, and then excused myself because I knew what was about to pop off courtesy of my stomach. And it was there, on my knees, spitting into a pub toilet in Old Street at 5PM, when I was supposed to be out in the bar bit being charming, that I kind of thought: 'What the fuck. Was it really necessary to have shots last night? Was I literally nineteen?' No. I was a 24-year-old woman. I should have been having wines and little nibbles, and doing appreciative laughs as people made jokes about theatre; supping gin and tonics with, like, leaves in or whatever the fuck. Maybe I could get into whiskey? Maybe there was another way.

A Bin at New Cross Gate Station

So yeah, this was like two weeks ago.

@hiyalauren

*This, of course, is not always true – in the cases of some eating disorders, for example. As someone recovering from my own ED, I’d like to clarify here that I am basically only talking about vomit as the result of getting idiotically drunk! Thank you!