Friday, January 8, 2010

The week in school visits and surprise vomiting

On 1/5/10, approximately 12 hours after returning from a trip overseas, I had my first author visit of the new decade, conveniently located in my current hometown.

photos © Elaine UbiƱa and courtesy Elaine and Greenwich Country Day School
too-baggy jeans courtesy Levi's

Two days later, I was the guest author at another nearby school's literacy event kickoff.

Both went well despite the mild pull of jet lag at the first—and the lack of a barf bag at the second.

Toward the end of that presentation, a boy in the front row stood up...and threw up. Multiple times. Though this was a first for me at a school visit, it was far from the first time I've been in the vicinity of elementary vomiting. We all remember the sawdust patches covering up the smell.

It was an evening talk so his grandfather and mom were there. Of course they took good care of him.

I hadn't considered the possibility of this circumstance before and it proved to be one where I couldn't say much of anything.

I was on a microphone before a room of people. If I called attention to this poor boy's predicament, it could embarrass him further. Yet if I ignored it and kept on going as if it wasn't happening, it would be insensitive. I clumsily strode the line between the two.

I suspect his classmates will remember what happened to him far longer than they'll remember anything I said or did. And even so, I suspect that he'll be fine. But perhaps, right now, he's wishing they made sawdust patches for memories, too.

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