Losing Gravity. And my lunch.
I saw “Gravity” in 3D last weekend, and it kind of felt like drinking a pot of coffee before doing a Triple Lindy off the high dive. Though completely and utterly captivated throughout the entire film, I also felt sincerely nauseous from scene one. As if paying $22 for a matinee wasn’t enough to make me lose my brunch, watching Sandy and George tumble through infinity really made me want to hurl. Clearly, my stomach was not built for space travel. Or crop tops, for that matter.
Once it was over, I began considering why I experienced such strong somatic symptoms while watching actors get bounced and bobbed around. As it turns out, this movie triggered some long-buried memories I’d blocked out for a reason…
It was the night of my high school graduation. There was electricity in the air. (Could have just been the humidity. I went to school in Texas). Anyway, we had just survived three separate speeches referencing Forrest Gump’s “Life is a box of chocolates–you never know what you’re gonna get” bit, and now it was time for fun. The auditorium had been converted into a veritable amusement park for our “Project Graduation” festivities so parent volunteers set up poker tables, food stations and various silly activities. It was kind of like the carnival at the end of “Grease” except no one coupled up and broke into song at the end. Why is real life so disappointing?
The first thing I did was gear up for my sumo wrestling match with my friend Lizzy. The suits must have weighed at least 40 pounds each and devoured every inch of our bodies, rendering us limp and sweaty inside their sticky, bulky shells. Walking around in these fatsuits required every ounce of strength we had, and we were both falling all over ourselves like baby fawn on shaky legs, only far less delicate and way more grotesque. Any chance I’d had of exuding femininity or an ounce of sex appeal was lost in those 15 minutes, and with an opponent who weighed in at 4’10 and 85 pounds, I’m still shocked that I was able to body-check my tiny friend without her dying right there on the auditorium floor.
Image by bouncypro.com/houston
If you’ve never had the singularly weird experience of wearing a rented sumo wrestler costume, let me explain that the grossness you experience inside of it is no match for the disgust you feel once you’ve been aborted from it. You will be drenched from head to toe, and immediately repulsed by the knowledge that you just voluntarily spent a small portion of your life rolling around inside a rubber beanbag lined with other people’s butt sweat. Not to mention the fact that these costumes include something called an inflatable bladder, which still baffles and horrifies me to this day.
Having exerted so much energy throwing my body around, I emerged from the suit starving and rewarded my win by eating everything that wasn’t glued to a table. Sumo wrestlers eat about 7,000 calories per day, so I really went for it.
Then I made the very poor decision to strap into a gravity-training machine popularized by summer space camps. Before you press play, I ask you to visualize a 17-year-old girl. She is dripping in sweat after having flopped around in a 40-pound rubber suit right before eating her weight in mini tacos and warm cookies.
Okay. You may proceed.
Needless to say, when the spinning stopped I hobbled away from that torturous cage like a blind, wobbly drunk and made my way toward the nearest garbage can, which happened to be right in the middle of the crowded auditorium. Surrounded by the majority of my graduating class, I proceeded to barf up everything but my soul. Lizzy’s mom ended up driving me home at midnight, with everyone else partying till the early dawn. The next day I’m sure she mailed a thank you letter to Jesus, a small token of gratitude for having narrowly escaped the horror of me puking in her Suburban or crushing her petite daughter to death with my inflatable bladder.
The truly unfortunate part of this story, and likely the rationale for me having blacked it out until last weekend, is that this was the last time many of my high school classmates ever saw me. Sweaty and pale-faced, being escorted out of a graduation party after barfing in a garbage can. I wanted to go out with a bang, not an eruption.
So this post is dedicated to any members of the Ball High class of ’95 who have found themselves wondering, “Hey! Whatever happened to that girl who puked in the middle of Project Graduation?”
Well, here I am.
Still feeling slightly queasy as I stumble blindly through the vast universe.