Friday, March 21, 2003
Dept. of Civil Disobedience
San Francisco protesters sick over the war
When I heard that people in San Francisco were gathering to vomit to protest the war, this was my first thought:
My second thought was:
I gotta get in on this.
I decided to practice my vomiting in the cramped restroom on my Southwest flight from LA to the Bay Area. I downed several fistfuls of the tiny bottles of Absolut that the stewardess kept bringing me as fast as I could pour them down my throat. Then I slipped away to the rear of the aircraft and barricaded myself in the lavatory and thought about the war.
No vomit was forthcoming. Was I a warmonger? Last week I'd cursed out a protester who took a little too long crossing against a light on Hollywood Boulevard, but I had managed to refrain from smearing her under the tires of my SUV even though I couldn't catch the green.
So I waited ten minutes, availing myself of someone's abandoned three-week-old copy of People magazine with Ben and J-Lo on the cover. No dice even though the feature story on the impending celebrity power-nuptials contained multiple references to the pink diamond Ben gave to Jenny from the Block that is roughly the size of the entire South Bronx.
Other passengers grew impatient, no doubt straining under the pressure of pulsating bladders struggling to contain the lethal combination of free Cokes and single-serve bags of Chex Mix. But I was holding out for a little turbulence. Even the headache I developed from the pounding on the bathroom door by the cross-legged bargain-flying masses could not move me to sick.
I must really like war, I thought.
I conjured a breaking-news tableau where Dan Rather and Tom Brokaw detail the carnage wreaked by a bunker-buster mistakenly finding an orphanage. This made me sad, but my stomach was still cast-iron and unshakeable. Then I thought about the storied anchormen going at it like they're stuck in the corner booth with the town slut at last call after bragging to their buddies that they're going home with the next living thing that makes eye-contact.
A confusing collage of alcohol-fueled imagery, but no nausea. I was starting to feel mighty right-wing. I couldn't even puke on a cocktail of collateral damage and septuagenarian newsman homoerotica.
I slid open the lock on the restroom door and returned to my seat with the outdated People magazine. The rest of the flight was uneventful, but I did learn how Nicole Kidman spends her down time between movies. It involves knitting.
I knew that I would never join the stomach-voiding protest. I passed the time waiting for a standby flight back to LA in one of those airport watering holes with all of the characters from Cheers bronzed onto barstools for eternity, amiable sitcom golems willing to share a drink no matter where you're flying to. I put away beer after beer while watching that CNN night-vision war footage where the black sky is turned the same shade of green that the protesters had spilled on the San Francisco streets.
Somewhere around my tenth pint of Foster's, I joined the antiwar movement all over Cliff Claven's lap. Happy as always, the statue mailman raised his mug in a toast, though whether to war or to peace I can't say.