The Dos and Don’ts of Throwing Up on Public Transportation

As any intrepid city traveler knows, trains aren’t always smooth. In fact, all modes of public transportation could be described as “lurching.” Lurching quite nearly rhymes with belching, which then transports us into the realm of puking. Whether you were given a delicate stomach from birth, or don’t remember how many tequila shots you just consumed, we are here to help.

Do choose your meals well. No one wants to grab the seat next to someone who has just hurled onion rings. Go for less pungent, more pleasant foods. Ice cream cake is a fun option, as is carrot soup. These suggestions also clean up easily, given that they do not involve chunks.

Don’t cry. It’s embarrassing enough that you couldn’t hold down your food. You will make the people surrounding you especially uncomfortable if you start wailing at the sight of your reflection in your recent puddle of barf. Take the situation like a champ; it happens to the best of us. After you throw up, apologize sincerely to those near you, then tell them you will go get supplies to clean up. At this point, you can decide to run with your dignity and risk the wrath of karma, or you can get some paper towels and pay humiliating retribution for your unfortunate timing.

Ciaran, '14, battles nausea at Fleetwood.

Do carry a bag. Whether it looks like an airplane barf-bag (paper) or a gas station bag (plastic), it’s easy to be prepared at all times with one of these yak sacks. When you feel the urge to vom, simply extract your yak sack and direct the bile into its easily disposable container. Then, on your way to switching transportation, toss it. No one in your new subway car ever saw what happened! To them, you are a new, better person. Plus, barfing in a bag always beats having to actually walk into one of the fifty Bronxville dry cleaners and pay 30.00 to spare your encrusted clothes.

Do tell your friends. Your first instinct may be to keep your embarrassing moment to yourself, but this is a situation that calls for the spreading of wealth. Ideally, you would already be with a group of people who can assist you in cleaning up. Chances are, you reek. Regurgitated food, even if you managed to get it in your bag, has the unfortunate quality of tainting its creator with a definitive stench. If you’re alone, call a friend. Whether you have a case of food poisoning or indecent intoxication, someone you know should be aware that you are not in peachy condition. Make sure you mumble the words “puke” and “public transportation” to convey the dire nature of the situation.

The best reason to tell your comrades about tossing your cookies on the train is that likely, they too have tossed their cookies. You can bump fists, chests, butts, or simply smile sheepishly. You have now bonded over a shared experience of public humiliation and simultaneous desecration of public transportation. Welcome to the Club.


Photo by Katherine Harrison

Ella Riley-Adams (Founder, Editor-in-chief) comes from a small town in Southern Oregon. She enjoys champagne, soccer and swimming in ponds. When not immersed in Sarah Lawrence affairs, Ella works for NYC marketing and tech blog The New York Egotist and The Faster Times. Follow her on twitter @ellarileyadams.

1 Comment

  • Reply April 16, 2011

    Anna Quinlan

    hahahahahaha love the link at the end!

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