The Day I was Smote By God and The Dave Matthews Band

This story is horrible. It is disgusting and also, juvenile and sophomoric. If you have any self-preservation or would like to continue to hold me in high-regard (if you ever did), please stop reading now.

Still with me? Ah, you’re my kind of people.

god-at-his-computerI saw this news story a couple of weeks ago about a Sweet 16 birthday party being held in someone’s backyard. Apparently, planes flying overhead emptied their lavatories and it rained down onto these poor, unsuspecting party guests (I told you this was gross– there’s still time to turn back now).

And then, nearly simultaneously, I heard that the Dave Matthews Band is on tour this summer. In fact, they’ll be at Alpine Valley in a few short weeks, which while not in Chicago, is close enough to require a Trigger Warning for us locals who remember the dark, smelly day of August 8, 2004.

These two news items have stirred up and awakened a memory that has lain dormant, locked behind fire-proof walls, in a metal box in the crawlspace of the attic of my mind for eleven years.

Since I don’t want to be up in the middle of night, alone, reliving one of my darkest days, I thought I’d invite you along to experience it with me. Come, (*pats couch*), sit here and let Mama tell you about the time that I was smote by God and the Dave Matthews Band at the same time.

First, a little background:

I was pregnant with our second child. Like the pregnancy before this and the two after it, this one gifted me with a hair-trigger gag-reflex. It was super fun, like a game of whack-a-mole, but instead of a mole randomly popping up at any time, it was vomit. I never knew what would trigger it (the seemingly innocuous sight of my husband pouring himself a glass of red wine) or when (like onstage during a concert) It definitely kept me on my toes, but I had adapted and was much more used to it with this second pregnancy (OR SO I THOUGHT).

And now, to the day of my smiting:

My Mom, as music director of the parish I grew up in, had asked me to come out and play with her at a wedding. We’d even make a day of it! Mom and I would play at church while my husband, toddler son and my Dad hung out at my parents’ home. Then afterwards, we’d all have dinner together. It sounds lovely, right? Keep in mind that all horror movies start out with the promise of a lovely time.

We left our loft in the city and started our drive to my parents’ home in the suburbs. I always had to drive whenever I was pregnant because if I was in the passenger seat, even for a little bit, I’d get car sick and the barfing would start and not stop, world without end, Amen.

As we were headed out of downtown Chicago, about to cross the river, I caught a glimpse of my hormone-infused hair in the rearview mirror and instantly, I was mesmerized. It was thick, lustrous, shiny, wavy– nay, ringlet-infused! –and just plain amazing. I turned to my husband in the passenger seat, as I ran my fingers sensuously through my hair: “Wow, would you take a look at this? I mean, have you ever seen my hair look this good? This is the best pregnancy side effect ever. My hair is gorgeous!”

I was swimming in a pool of vanity, up to my eyeballs in it– I’ll never forget the look of my hair that day! Deadly sins be damned: I was so vain, I totally thought that song was about me. How was I to know that Karma was just around the corner, waiting and watching for me, rubbing it’s warted little hands together? Because what happened next, happened fast–practically as the words were still leaving my mouth.

I’ll tell the rest of my tale quickly and in as few words as possible, like pulling off a band-aid, because, well, it’s gross:

My window was down because the fresh air helped a little with the constant nausea. We were behind a big bus on the bridge over the river, when the bus *apparently* emptied their lavatory right on the road in front of us. And I drove us right through this enormous puddle of poop, which our wheels then kicked up, splashing all over the sides and underneath the car.

The horrifying smell hit us like a tsunami and I barfed, leaning my head out of the window while I drove, my husband now screaming from the passenger seat. My son was quietly oblivious in the backseat.

And the full-on smiting began: my outgoing barf got blown back by the wind and right into my hair. My beautiful, clean, fresh, prenatal vitamin hair! This new, combined smell of barf plus poop made me throw up again. And again. By this point, I was also crying, with my husband screaming at me to “pull over, for God’s sake, pull over!”

I somehow managed to exit and pull over and we switched seats, with me retching and crying. My husband drove to the nearest full-service car wash. He cleaned me up as I heaved and sobbed, while the car wash guys cleaned off our shit-covered car.

Are you still with me? No? I don’t blame you one bit.

For the two of you that still are, the weirdest part is yet to come: the next day in the Chicago Tribune, there were reports of the freaking Dave Matthews Band tour bus getting fined for dumping its toilet all over town.

I was impartial to the Dave Matthews Band before this incident. Now: not a fan. So when I heard about their 2015 Summer Tour…well, you can’t blame a girl for holding a grudge, can you? Apparently, I’m not the only one: #NEVERFORGET


I look forward to hearing from you!


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