Monday, May 15, 2006

Geez I feel crook

Migraines ( are one of the cruellest ways to feel absolutely sh**house for no discernible reason, and then, when they’ve finally gone their evil little way, you feel kind of ‘hungover’ for the next couple of days but without the riotous fun that normally precedes one.

I’ve had more than what I consider my fair share of migraines, but today it’s not my head, it’s my stomach that’s giving me the heebie jeebies health-wise. Apart from milking Mothers Day far too freely in order to inhale as many chocolate truffles as my heart desired, I can’t think of anything dodgy that I’ve eaten in the past day or so.

The jorgi and I went for a nice run this morning, I ate some home-made (yesterday) chocolate-chip (of course) muffins with Sapphire and followed it with an orange (to cancel out the chocolate chips). After farewelling Sapph at school, I made some very rudimentary, student-like coffees for Nik and myself during our meeting: instant coffee, made tolerable with ‘extra’ sweeteners and those totally useless triangles of long life milk. I reckon they call them ‘long life’ because it’d be several decades before you could rip the confounded tape off and not squirt it down your trousers instead of into your cup.

But I digress. A little. Lunch was a turkey, cranberry and lettuce wholemeal sandwich accompanied by a young and zesty Farmers Union Iced Coffee – my non-water, non-alcoholic tipple of choice – and since then, I’ve felt about as comfortable as a cat on a pool mattress.

The stuffiness of the tiny office I share with my boss isn’t helping things. We can’t control the temperature or when it’s turned on. Some brainiac in the works department elected to have our controls connected to a room two floors away. Obviously that occupant likes to go through autumn/winter still wearing shorts and having their loose papers fly about the room like frightened seagulls.

However these petty grievances are now in second place today, replaced by the torturous queasiness of my quietly growling stomach. All too quickly the feeling has taken me back to 1973, 73, 74 – oh for gods’ sake – right up to 1984 – and the memories of sitting in the middle of the back seat of my parents’ Volvo. I will leave all comments about being Volvo drivers out for the purposes of this article at least. What was more pertinent to me was just how vomit-inducing it was to be a passenger in the vehicle even though we didn’t have to look at the car from the outside.

Rob, Dave and I loved it when our parents told us that we were going to drive to Adelaide to visit either set of grandparents. Yay! The anticipation of seeing what weird and wonderful gizmos grandpa had brought back from Mexico, tasting Nanna’s lolly-loaded chocolate ring cake, sucking down eight cups of milky tea with Grandma or pestering Grandpa with heaps of questions in his garden shed was our idea of holiday heaven.

About an hour before the journey though, the shine would start to dull a bit. Mum would ‘hide’ a sea sickness tablet in a teaspoon of honey or ice-cream and call us inside: “Kids, it’s time for a treat before we go!” We weren’t fooled for a second of course, but seeing Dad stand next to her with his rare-but-effective ‘Don’t You Even Think About Mucking Around’ look on his face, we all screwed up our faces, closed our eyes and theatrically swallowed the muck, making all sorts of choking, suffering sounds. Mum and Dad quite rightly ignored us and briskly said, “OK, hop in the car.”

It was there that the real suffering began. In those days (that would sound so much better if I could whissstle it through some loose dentures whilst setting aside my walking frame), the drive was a windy one through the hills. It was probably rather picturesque, but all that the Kanmantoo farmlets conjure up for me is the thought, “Where’s the sick carton?”

My brothers were similarly afflicted. It would start with the gentle lurching around each bend in the road, the warmth inside (winding down the window was too deafening to live through) and the damp wool pong of the brown fabric seats. Naturally, if Rob chucked up first, it would set the rest of us off. Dave, the youngest, seemed to win first prize most often, and sitting next to him wasn’t too much fun when out of the corner of my eye I could see the lurid yellow vomit slopping unbecomingly inside the old ice-cream carton.

Perhaps this story is appropriate being only one day after Mothers Day, because, even though she managed to keep her breakfast down and her mental faculties intact, it would have been even worse for poor old Mum. Dad wouldn’t stop the car until he had sighted the tollgate. There, by the side of the road was a narrow parking bay with a curved ‘Visitor Information’ shelter that was studded with dozens of Rotary, Lions Club and Scouts signs. Mum somehow mustered the strength to empty out three containers of sick in the weeds growing next to the phone booth. She cleverly ensured that there was a cordial bottle filled with rainwater in the car, which she’d then use to give all three receptacles a rudimentary clean.

What a lovely trip down memory lane. That barf bay is no longer thanks to the introduction of the Heysen Tunnels and the bypass of Devil’s elbow and Mum is not sitting here next to me, asking me if I’d like to lie down on the lounge with blanky and pillow to watch Humphrey B. Bear on television and try sipping some flat lemonade. Unfortunately.

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