Gross stuff, I mean. *I deal in gross stuff on a day to day basis- diarrhea, blood, bloody diarrhea, and abscesses. Cat bite abscesses, the Grandaddy of Nastiness. It is important that you keep this in mind as I tell you this story.
I was very happy when my daughter’s kindergarten teacher recently asked me to be one of the chaperones on their very first field trip. They were going to a nature reserve, and as a biology major and lover of all that nature-y stuff I couldn’t imagine a more fun way to spend the day.
I boarded the bus, my 5 year old hanging onto my leg like a little barnacle. We worked our way back towards the middle of the bus, where she suddenly had a change of heart and abandoned me for her little buddy Lucy, leaving me stuck sitting next to That Kid, the one no one else wanted to sit with, the one who stared at me without blinking for 5 minutes straight before announcing that she ate franks and beans the night before and had a lot of gas.
“That’s great,” I assured her.
“Guess what else I had?” she asked.
“I give up.”
“No guess! YOU HAVE TO GUESS!!!”
After about 5 minutes of this (it turned out to be fruit roll ups), I plucked my iphone out of my pocket and told her I had Important Work To Do before flipping on my Facebook app.
This is why I didn’t hear the ruckus at first, in my desperate attempt to appear engaged in busy adult work. There was finally enough of a dull roar for me to turn around and see the kid behind me, crawling up onto his seat.
“What are you doing-” I started to ask, before seeing his hand over his mouth. Uh oh. The kid next to him, green and pale, with vomit pooled in his cupped hands, sloshing on the bus floor. It’s one of the first graders. The kids seated behind him start to shriek as the puddle starts oozing south, and the bus erupts into mass chaos.
The bus driver screeches to a halt, and the chaperones from the first grade class kick into gear while I completely unhelpfully try to wrench the rusty bus windows open. SuperMom comes back with a trashbag and gloves, surveying the mess with a practiced eye while the teacher rushes the sick kid outside for some air.
“Maybe he’s motion sick,” I offer.
“No,” says the other mom. “He rides the bus every day. I bet it’s H1N1.”
SuperMom pauses at this, hand full of gross paper towels and yuck. She pauses. “I don’t know if I can finish,” she says.
I kind of scoff. I mean, I’m a vet. *I deal in gross stuff on a day to day basis- diarrhea, blood, bloody diarrhea, and abscesses. Cat bite abscesses, the Grandaddy of Nastiness. A little bit of kid puke? Child’s play. “I’ll finish!” I offer cheerily.
SuperMom nods gratefully and hands me the roll of paper towels. And gloves. I step over my seat mate and look behind me at the congealed mass of this kid’s breakfast: Cheerios, milk….some raisins…oh, this kind of smells…..man, dogs don’t usually barf up this kind of volume…
Be strong, I tell myself. I scoop up one handful of the stuff.
And promptly start to gag. Me, drainer of festering wounds, person who pulled maggots by the handful out of a chow chow’s infected rear, brought to my knees by a kid with motion sickness (“H1N1,” the other mom whispers in my ear.)
Why are people effluvia so much grosser than that of animals? I’ve cleaned up just about everything an animal can put out, dealt with getting sprayed on by various types of infected fluids, and none of it brought me closer to losing my own cookies than this Cap’n Kid Chunks. So. gross.
I cannot explain this phenomenon, any more than I can explain why my OB thinks my job is so much grosser than hers. Not that either of us are the Immaculate Profession here.
That field trip ended up being way more excitement than I signed up for. The pile of vomit, having passively and demonically conquered every chaperone on the bus like a Technicolor Blob, was finally vanquished by the aggravated bus driver and a hose. And my daughter didn’t sit next to me on the way home, either.