And I Wasn’t Even High On Cocaine
It was a rockstar Valentine’s Day weekend for me and CLH. We drove down to Portland on Friday night and we saw Echo Helstrom in a sold-out show at the Aladdin Theater. (You should buy their new EP, by the way.) Afterward, we partied like rockstars with the band. We ate, we drank, we hob-knobbed with artists and musicians from the Portland area, and then I passed out with my pants around my ankles in a bathroom stall.
I wish I was kidding about that last part. Or, at least, I wish that there were illicit drugs and hookers and the trafficking of tropical birds involved. Because THAT would make for a good story. THAT would give David Sedaris a run for his money. But, this? This is my life. And my life is not filled with gangs running cockatoos and diamonds from Bogota to the Pacific Northwest in the hollowed out carcasses of Beanie Babies. No, my life is filled with ill-timed bouts of unconsciousness followed by days of lethargy, doctor’s appointments, and having to tell people to have bottles of orange juice at the ready because my blood pressure is dangerously low.
This was a different kind of faint in that I didn’t feel it coming on. Normally, I feel all the “classic” signs of fainting: nausea, sweating, headache, extreme discomfort… But this time, all I had was an extreme and sudden case of nausea. I got up to pee in the middle of the night/morning, and, as I was sitting on the toilet, was overcome very suddenly by the urge to puke. I thought to myself: well, you’d better hurry up because you’re gonna need to turn around to throw up in about two seconds. And the next thing I know, I’m on the floor on my back, and CLH is desperately trying to tug my pajama bottoms up over my hips. Also, my head hurts A LOT.
Usually when I faint (Am I even typing this? “Usually when I faint”? Who freaking faints that much that they have a “usual” kind of faint?), my senses return to me one at a time. It’s the strangest thing in the world, actually. Weirder than any kind of drug experience, weirder than any kind of transcendent spiritual experience. First I can hear, then I can feel, and finally, I can see. I usually come to to the sound of CLH frantically calling my name. (Geezus. HOW many times has CLH brought me back to consciousness this past year? Note to self: buy that guy a Cadillac filled with jelly beans and a robot that does his laundry and a private lap dance from Shakira to thank him.)
CLH and I were spending the night at my friend Ross’s house (who happens to be the lead singer of Echo Helstrom. SO rockstar-y of us, right?) Ross was also hosting a few other folks that night, and we all headed to bed somewhere in the 3 am hour. Our bed was in the basement apartment of Ross’s house, which is where Ross’s sister, her boyfriend, and boyfriend’s sister were also sleeping.
So this toilet, being in a basement bathroom in Portland and all, was up on a six inch platform. I’m not entirely sure why basement toilets need to be raised, but I think it involves terms like “ejector” and “up pump”, and other horrifying ways of vaguely describing the movement of poop. Anyway, thanks to the miracle that is indoor plumbing, and the renovations of some prior homeowner, I fell an extra six inches into pitch blackness. With my pants down. I can only assume that unconsciousness stops the flow of urine, because, thankfully, I wasn’t covered in my own pee. I’m not quite sure what I hit my head on (probably the slightly open door?) but I also managed to smash my left shoulder and my left knee into something, too, before I rolled onto the cold bathroom floor. CLH heard it and leaped out of bed immediately. Nothing says GET THE FUCK UP NOW like the sound of your girlfriend’s limp body crashing onto a tile floor a few feet away. It woke up another guest staying at the house, too, and she helped with the recovery process. I should have greeted her earlier that night with, “Hi. Just so you know, you may or may not find me half clothed and unconscious in our shared bathroom in a few hours. Enjoy your stay!”
So, that was how my Valentine’s Day morning started. Not with roses or chocolate, but with CLH pressing a bag of ice to my forehead while yanking up my cat-themed pajama bottoms from around my knees.
I’m the luckiest rockstar in the world.