For me, October has always been somewhat of a magical month. Growing up, I would be so excited when it finally rolled around: my parents would dust off their Halloween decorations, my friends and I would excitedly talk about and plan our costumes, the air would finally get a little cooler, and everything just seemed to have a little extra sparkle. Halloween was one of those holidays where it seemed like anything could happen, and I always looked forward to the fun and mischief it would bring. Add to that the fact that my birthday is on the 30th (where not just candy but candy and presents were a sure-fire guarantee) and you probably have some idea of just how excited I was.
As an adult, I still look forward to my birthday, Halloween and October in general, but each year it seems like a little more of that magic I felt as a kid gets lost amidst the forty-hour work weeks, bills and other adult responsibilities that take up more and more of my attention. So this year, I decided to do something about it and reclaim the magic. And what better place to do that than at the most magical place on Earth? That’s right–I’m talkin’ ’bout Walt friggin’ Disney World.
The night I saw the commercial about getting free admission to Disney on one’s birthday, I just about tripped over my own two feet to get to the computer and register. Since then, I’d been waiting for October 30, 2009 to roll around with child-like anticipation, and when it finally came, my friend Kathy met me at my apartment and we set off together for the Magic Kingdom. I had high expectations. I hadn’t been to Disney since my parents took me when I was four, so I was expecting wonder and awe. I was expecting to be transported to a place where fantasies were a reality, where people pooped sparkles and upchucked rainbows because everything was just that magical and marvelous. And it did not disappoint. We saw Pluto, Pinocchio and the Disney Princesses, walked through Cinderella’s castle, spun ourselves dizzy on the teacups, and toured the planet on It’s a Small World. We had a map and we had a plan, and we weren’t leaving until we soaked up as much Disney magic as 11a.m.-9p.m. would allow for. And then somewhere between Tomorrowland and one o’ clock that afternoon, the body aches and overall sense of feeling assy hit me–hard. Kathy noticed it when we took a break to eat lunch and she noticed I only ate half of my vegetarian wrap.
“You’re not hungry?” she asked.
“I’m not feeling too well, actually,” I replied. I then told her about the aches and ended with my resolve to just be a soldier and power through–after all, we were at Disney, and I wasn’t planning on wasting my free ticket or her paid-for ticket just because I was feeling less than stellar. I mean, who knows when I’d get to go again? She seemed fine with that, so after lunch we continued on our journey around the park and ended the evening by watching the night parade.
By the time the night parade was over and we started on the trek back to my car, I was pretty much done for–the body aches had intensified, leaving me feeling like an old woman with sore joints, and they were joined by a mild fever and a bit of congestion. All I wanted to do was get home and pass out in bed. Kathy agreed to drive us back, and as soon as we hit the parking lot, I was fantasizing about reclining the seat back as far as it would go and passing out. Unfortunately, my stomach must have been fantasizing about emptying its contents, because, without warning, I projectile vomited–and it was not rainbows. I felt an odd mixture of physical relief, mortification, awkwardness and awe. I was mortified because I was in a public place, and I knew of at least two people who were trying to leave who got a front-row view of the show; awkwardness because I just threw up for the first time in front of Kathy, which brought us to a whole new level in our friendship; and awe because of how much distance my stomach gravy cleared from my mouth to its final resting spot on the asphalt.
Poor Kathy, though. Other than her kids, she doesn’t do well when people get sick, and I didn’t get enough of a chance to warn her. At the first “throw up” sound I made she exclaimed, “Are you gonna get sick?!” and then scrambled off to find some napkins when I started heaving. At the end she was just about as breathless as I was when she asked, “Are you okay?” her eyes a mixture of fear and bewilderment. She was a sport, though, and a good friend–she tried to drive in the far right lane of the interstate as much as possible on the way back, just in case I had another episode.
Saturday–Halloween–was more of the same, just without the projectile vomiting. I spent the entire day watching TV and movies and trying to move my head and body as little as possible, and added pizza to the routine later on that night. Luckily, I didn’t get any trick-or-treaters–if I had, I’m sure they would have run screaming the minute I opened the door.
So that was how my birthday and Halloween went down. I can’t say the weekend was a total waste–that Disney night parade was pretty awesome.