When I was in kindergarten my class would line up and play “the quiet game” at the end of each day until we were dismissed by mode of transportation. The car riders, myself included, had to wait the longest. We left after the walkers and bikers and bus riders. As a natural over-achiever I was determined to last this whole waiting period in complete silence. This ambition only grew with obstacles, like knowing I had to go to the bathroom for example. One afternoon my stomach began indicating to my brain that puking may be in my near future, but I fought the impulse to tell my teacher and remained silent with a finger over my lips and the peace sign held high. Like your average, run-of-the-mill control freak, I’ve always treated sickness as a mentally prohibitive circumstance: mind over matter. This would be the first of many instances when my body proved otherwise. A half hour later my brother was picked up in the middle school car line with everything I had consumed that day dripping down the side of our car. But I won the quiet game.
I have to admit I haven’t paid much of a price for this in the last 15 years. My public, mobile projectile was largely overshadowed by falling off the dock, primarily because that humiliation was captured on film, and sickness carries an obligatory, merciful sympathy…it’s never your fault. But the story returned to haunt me this weekend when I completely outdid myself.
My friend from work, Joe, who videotaped the ATV gig wanted our Editor to go shark fishing with him. I let him know the EIC would be out of town and questioned why I wouldn’t have been the first person he invited. Our hypothetical joking miraculously turned into legitimate plans, and Joe spent three days proactively finding a second mate so I could join. We were pumped. I was giddy for days at the prospect of getting back on a boat, because with that came sun, water and more knowledge of our content.
In the midst of his planning Joe nonchalantly asked if I get seasick just to cover all his bases. I confidently assured him I don’t without hesitation. If he had asked me to support this claim I would’ve listed the following: I go out on my dad’s boat every time I’m home, I was a coxswain on several boats for three years in high school, I grew up going out on my grandpa’s boat every summer, I’ve been on three cruises, I’ve ridden a gondola, I’ve intermittently gone jet skiing, tubing, wakeboarding, rafting and kayaking…all without a hint of physical discomfort. I have this list down now because it played over and over in my head as I stared at the horizon trying to will my stomach to settle.
This was after riding 17 miles off-shore and photographing every nautical detail I’ve missed to relish in later. I questioned why boating is never listed as one of my hobbies and continually glanced over my shoulder to remember the way the sun reflects on the water. I reverted back to the goldfish mentality I fall into repeatedly staring in just under the amount of time it’d take to go blind. I was smitten by the heat and the smell of the ocean and the refreshing breeze. I even enjoyed those awkward 30 seconds when you come alongside other boaters in the no wake zone and exchange phrases that indicate you know what you’re doing more than the passersby.
But joy and eagerness alone couldn’t prevent my body’s unfavorable reaction to the deep sea, and that was to brutally punish me for having ever eaten in my life. Only moments after casting lines, I felt that unmistakable urge to clear the area directly in front of me and get my hair out of my face. I felt doomed. I’d rather be the girl who rode ATVs in an empty field then the temp who threw up on her first time on the water for F&S, but my fate was eminent. I mentally prepared for the complete awkwardness I was about to single-handedly cause, and found the courage to muster a warning and follow Joe’s finger towards the chum side of the boat.
As it turns out…I do get seasick. And despite my reassurance that I felt much better after letting it out, the puking would continue enough to dull my humiliation and eradicate any we-just-met-flavored timidity. The good news: I made a lot less noise than you’re imagining…thankfully. The bad news: I jinxed our whole day. You know the first thing we all thought was, “Oh no, please last long enough to catch at least one shark,” and inevitably we never saw a line budge.
I did catch my first fish though, which I’ll be eternally proud of and grateful to Joe and Rick for seeing to it that my throwing up wasn’t in vain. I’m more determined than ever to one day catch a shark now, and will be experimenting with seasickness remedies in preparation for such an epic event. (Read the full story)
I knew as soon as I got my feet on the ground, I’d forget the misery and remember the complete bliss of being back on the water under the sun. My trip to Florida for the 4th of July this weekend will be another, more relaxing, return to nature, but my fishing trip was quite an adventure, and that’s all I’m ever looking for.
But to think that I was worried about staying in a motel…