Quick warning - This blog post contains descriptions of Pukeology, part of the theology surrounding the Toilet Gods and may not be suitable for the queasy. Thanks to Norn Girl and Dave Gorman it does have a happy ending, so do read on if you think you can stomach it...
It was Saturday, Somewhere Over the Rainbow finished and I ran up the stairs starting to feel the disconcerting lumpy mush enter my mouth via the back of my throat. There was no holding it back any more. It was now a race to see if I could make it in time to pray to the toilet bowl god and appease it, before its backup plans of sending me to work with a mop were enacted.
I should probably mention at this point that the TV show was not in anyway responsible for me vomiting, it was just bad timing. Saying that, I don't like poodles and I'm not 100% convinced Graham Norton's Labradoodle didn't have a role to play - too closely related to a poodle to be innocent! The more popular 'Pukeology' might be that a bug, aka 'the Boke Beast' had made its home within me and had marked my stomach with the number of the Puke, 444. And so, with a sound from beyond the U-bend , I found myself on all fours, four times and unable to get to sleep until 4am.
With the epic battle between the microbe army of the Toilet God and the pasta bake claimed by the Boke Beast's orders, now spreading into the sewers, Norn Girl fetched me a glass of water and looked out for me. My sleep was sporadic but I stayed in bed until after 1pm on Saturday. Feeling dehydrated and a bit inhuman, probably a side effect of the unearthly conflict that used me as its vessel, I made it downstairs and sat bleary eyed in-front of my laptop.
A few hours and a couple of litres of water passed. Norn Girl ran me a bath and made a mercy dash to the supermarket for me and made me a lovely bowl of mash, peas and carrots for dinner. A heavenly treat compared to the taste I had in my mouth a good 18 hours earlier.
We were running a little late for a visit to the Belfast Waterfront Hall at this point so we ordered a taxi. The trip was part of Norn Girls birthday present from her family, she brought me along and I'm so happy she did
The Taxi arrived and we jumped in, inside our heads we were playing out scenes from a movie and thinking 'FLOOR IT!'. The imaginary screen went blank and the lights came up. We pulled away at a very gentle pace. I tried to find my seatbelt plug but failed, the one I had managed to find didn't fit my belt clicker thing. I was repeatedly trying to get it to work in the feint hopes it would mould itself to fit. It turns out kids who sit in the back of modern cars have a seat belt that clicks in both sides and so, in the event of a crash it would support their chest instead of bending them in the middle making them turn into sideways stools for a second. With Norn Girls help, I finally saw the error of my ways and the buckle went into the new holder first time. I live and learn.
This had taken a good 30 seconds or more but we hadn't yet made it onto the main road... a journey of around 20 meters. Safety first - sure, but we were getting suspiciously close to being able to be accused of accessories to curb crawling - if there even is such an offence.
We did make it onto the main road eventually but only after several cautious checks. These repeated mirror checks continued. I thought our driver had maybe see some faint impression of a 444 on my forehead. He kept looking to his left, to the right, to the centre, over and over again, as if a ghost car might appear at any moment and try to ram us from the road. I've never seen a driver like this guy, especially a diver who drives for a living. Staying safe is one thing but this was verging on OCD, maybe it was? It was slightly off putting as a passenger though, it was like someone dancing to a beat you can't hear.
Ah well, we made it to the Waterfront and just in time. The tickets in our hands were to see the brilliantly funny comedian, Dave Gorman. With the buzzer thing going off we headed on up to take our seats for the start of the show. Dave was as friendly and enthusiastic as ever and gave us all so many laughs in his own brilliant and unique manner. Still feeling a little out of it as Dave took to the stage, it was only moments before the combination of having food in my belly, and us both lol'ing at his stories and jokes, that things were feeling good again and the smile on the inside was echoing the the smile on my face. In fact I found myself chortling and chuckling without much of a concern and for those couple of hours felt almost 100% again. Though much time had passed it was still over too quickly and we were soon heading past Dave who was meeting, greeting and signing in the foyer. On a related note, if you've any Genius ideas, Mr G is looking for them for his new series of Genius on BBC, click this link to go to the BBC Genius site if you have any, I'm still thinking!
Outside, it was a call for a another taxi to get us home. As we approached a car that had the signs of the taxi company we'd asked for a ride from, we realised we were headed towards a cab that looked quite familiar. After climbing in and with one smooth action of clicking in my seatbelt, I looked up. My eyes caught a now familiar cautionary glance. We'd managed to get the same driver and he was still looking out for the first sighting of a time travelling Delorean to appear!
It was another cautious drive home. A journey that gave plenty of time to continue the internalised giggling from the memory of the stand up but also at the fact this was the first car I've ever been in to have airline-like food trays with cup holders and also the only one I know that has these things covered in no-eating or drinking notices! Hope he didn't pay extra for them.
Finally home, smiling and free from the Boke Beast, it had been a great Saturday night. The beginning of a better weekend than had been expected, especially after it wasn't looking quite so rosy 24 hours earlier. Unless of course you count semi dissolved cherry tomatoes, those vibrantly red wonders stood out like a polar bear on an ice sheet - post a seal meal to go.