Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The Puking Stairs

As I posted in a comment recently, I'm not without my own vomit-related embarrassment in the Paris metro. Indeed, I have--on not one, not two, but three different occasions--puked in the metro.

This story could very well begin with drunkenness. But those who know me understand that this isn't likely. I'm just a meek and frustrated lightweight--not much of a drinker by any standard. I might say things like "I'll drink you under the table, boy!", but at the end of the night, the count is usually something closer to "Emily's Friend: 6; Emily: 1.5." And that's on a rough night.

My point is this: I wasn't drunk, Mom, I swear.

I'm a nervous creature. Though overly at ease in front of a crowd in English, the thought of giving a presentation in French--to French people--is terrifying. In English, I either wing it or have a few notes. For my presentations at French universities, I wrote a script, complete with, "TURN PAGE NOW" in parentheses so that I wouldn't slip up and say it aloud.

I woke up early before my first big exposé. I read it again and again to my empty room. Convinced I had finally gotten the flow of the sentences, I set off to catch the metro.

(Now you get where this is going.) On the Ten, with all the rocking and my belly nervous with exposé-induced fear, I started to feel sick. Pull it together, everything is fine. This was my mantra, albeit one that failed me in the end.

As we pulled into Odéon, I knew I didn't stand a chance. I stood to exit the car. As the doors opened, the smell of piss and moldy grime hit me hard. I ran toward the SORTIE sign, but only made it about halfway up the stairs.

That was it. At approximately 9:15am, during the rush hour commute, I clutched the rails, hunched over, and puked my guts out on the stairs. I tried to change locations a couple of times, but each time I tried to move, up it came again. So I was left standing protectively by my pool of vomit.

Commuters and tourists rushed up and down the stairs to my left. None looked at me. If they had, they would have perhaps seen how pathetic I looked and offered me a tissue or a bottle of water. But who was I kidding. There was no Southern hospitality in this station. I simply walked over to the trash can, spit a few times, and boarded the train again to the university.

98 Comments:

Anonymous nathan said...

Poor girl ! What was the subject of the exposé ?

3:16 PM, March 29, 2005  
Blogger Emily said...

Goodness... I'm getting nervous just thinking about it. It was on Cinéma Direct's role in La Révolution Tranquille in Québec.

4:39 PM, March 29, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Goddam 10 - it's the snootiest line in Paris. Vomiting in the 10 is like puking in the middle of the cosmetics floor of Sak's Fifth. You just don't do it. I have some pretty mean puking stories of my own but none of them involve the Paris metro. At least, not yet.

7:29 PM, March 29, 2005  
Anonymous Nicolas said...

Guys, that last "anonymous" post was from me. Can't figure this computer/blog shit out yet.

7:29 PM, March 29, 2005  
Blogger Emily said...

Oh, Nico. I love how we're the most frequent commenters on our own site. At least we're committed?. (read: rightfully shameful.)

7:38 PM, March 29, 2005  
Anonymous nathan said...

Let me guess with this kind of exposé, you're at Paris III, right ?
I'm in I, lawyer freak...

11:05 PM, March 29, 2005  
Anonymous Nicolas said...

No, Emily works for the French secret service. She's only posing as an American. I'M the one at Paris III. Pay attention to ME.

11:32 PM, March 29, 2005  
Anonymous ddj said...

Wow...you guys are really bringing back the memories. My regular morning was the 13 to Duroc, and onto the 10 to the fac du droit.

There was one morning when I walked past one of my classmates as he was hunched over in Cluny, letting the platform have his breakfast.

11:58 PM, March 29, 2005  
Blogger Emily said...

So nice to know I'm not alone in my pre-exposé puking.

...And yes, it was at Paris III. Good call, Nathan.

One of the ugliest buildings in Paris, but there was a really good & cheap sandwich stand nearby, and that made it worth it.

12:01 PM, March 30, 2005  
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