Living in Florida means one thing for most people. Beaches and Disney (okay, that’s two things). I’ve spent most of my life at the beach. I even lived on the beach for a year. It long ago stopped having any appeal for me.
But growing up so poor, I didn’t have a lot of experiences at Disney. I went for my first time in high school. I was 15 and it was my best friend, L’s, 16th birthday present from her parents.
I had two best friends in high school, both were girls (that’s the first time I ever had female friends, let alone two). L and K. I’m not sure how the three of us became friends. We had met in middle school in a journalism class. We actually had very little in common.
K was sweet and feminine. Her family was very close. They went to church twice a week and had dinner together, at a table, with no TV, every night. I spent a lot of time at her house. It was like a TV family from the 50s. In a Twilight Zone kind of way. She was one of the prettiest girls I have ever known in real life outside of my sisters.
L was very tomboyish, even more so than me (if that’s possible). Her parents were the most in love people I have ever seen, even still. She was kind of a redneck-y farm girl type. She drove a dually pickup truck, listened to country, and had chickens.
Everyone thought L and I were dating. But we weren’t. In fact, I hear K recently married her girlfriend and is very happy. I bet all those assholes I went to school with would be shocked to find out that she was the gay one and not us.
But I never minded my bad reputation. And believe me when I say, it was bad. Because it only served to prepare me for the bad reputation I have at my job now. Besides, I never took being called a lesbian as an insult.
So L’s mom took us to Disney. Her mom was a nurse for an OB/GYN and was hilariously funny. I adored her. I used to wish one of their families would adopt me. I suspect they would have if I had ever talked about my home life. But I didn’t.
L’s mom had gotten fast passes for our day. We felt so cool and important, skipping the long lines of people that were waiting. As soon as we arrived at Disney, we rode the Tower of Terror. Four times in a row.
You might think this was a bad idea for someone that can’t even ride in the backseat of a car without getting motion sickness. And you would be right.
I felt moderately nauseous the rest of the day. But I was trying to not make a fuss and enjoy my day.
We went on ride after ride. I had an amazing time. It was my first time on anything scarier than a ferris wheel. I’m great on rides because I am kind of a wuss and will totally scream and shriek at everything.
I didn’t feel well when we stopped for lunch, but tried to eat my fried chicken meal. After lunch we went on the Haunted Mansion. We were all eating popcorn. And I think that’s what really did me in.
I almost lost it then and there, but managed to keep the vomit in.
It was getting dark out and they all wanted to go to the Country Bear Jamboree. I have no memory of this show and my mind has instead substituted Lester’s Possum Park from a Goofy Movie. (That movie still makes me laugh).
I spent the entirety of that show sitting on the floor. My stomach was churning. I felt disoriented and dizzy. The bears singing was impossibly loud and obnoxious. It somehow made me feel more sick.
I didn’t even make it to the end. I pushed out of that room and ran over to a low fence. Where I vomited my brains out. I puked so hard I’m pretty sure there was milk from back when I was breastfeeding in there.
L, K, and L’s mom came over, but I waved them away. I didn’t want to ruin her birthday. Plus, I hated being touched back then even more than I do now. I didn’t want someone trying to rub my back or some shit.
After I had retched 10-15 times, a Disney park attendant came over with a sprite. She asked me if I could please move away and puke in the nearest trash can.
It turns out I was puking over the fence and directly into the Splash Mountain waterpark ride. And I was disturbing some of the guests over there with the violence of my sickness. There had been actual complaints.
That was enough to make me laugh. And knowing I was disturbing others actually did make me feel better.
Once I had puked out the entire contents of my stomach, gallbladder, and, I suspect, bowels, I felt much better. You can only puke so much until your entire body has been cleansed of food, bile, and other contents.
I didn’t go back to an amusement park again for over 10 years. But don’t worry, I have more stories from Disney to tell.