This One Time, In New Orleans

by Michael!

Joanie threw up on the sidewalk.

I should back up. It’s probably not what you think.

But it was still, for lack of a better word, hilarious.

It was the last day before Joanie left for Tulsa this past summer, the last day before I was left alone for several weeks. Even with the promise of a two-week stint in Sooner Country for me, this was still a daunting proposition. Joanie travels often, so we’re accustomed to occasional partings, but this was going to be pretty much epic. With that in mind we set out to make that final Sunday something we would remember.

An afternoon and evening in New Orleans, punctuated by road trips, which have always been one of our favorite activities together!

So off we went, leaving after church and heading for the Big Easy.

We went to our dinner destination – Hana Sushi.

Now, I know that eating sushi in New Orleans might sound odd to some. It is the primary bastion of French cuisine in America, and Cajun food itself is pretty amazing fare.

However, we had dined at this particular restaurant before with a friend from NOLA, and were convinced that it was simply some of the best sushi we’d ever had the good fortune to eat. Not only that, but we knew that the food was relatively inexpensive, which can be an issue in the Crescent City! Last but certainly not least, Joanie was about to be almost as far from an ocean as she could be and still technically be in the Continental United States, and the prospect of finding truly outstanding sushi in Tulsa seemed rather bleak to us at the time.

So we were practically salivating as we pulled into the neighborhood, found a convenient location just a couple of blocks from the restaurant, and hustled inside.

We considered ordering only two rolls, but as we were both fairly hungry we opted to get three. One was your standard eel roll, always a favorite of ours; another featured salmon and cream cheese; but the piece de resistance was a mango-shrimp explosion of awesomeness that dominated both plate and palate.

When the aforementioned feast arrived at our table, we gawked at it momentarily and then became ravening lions, hyenas, sushi-devouring behemoths. Every bit of it was gone in what seemed to be mere seconds, vanishing at a rate usually reserved for the good bagels at Panera or crab rangoons at a Chinese buffet.

Hindsight informs me that our zeal was not a good thing.

Please believe me here. What follows is NOT an indictment of Hana’s food. In fact, it should be taken as quite the opposite – if their craft had not been so finely wrought, the following Event may not have happened at all. We will most certainly be dining there again in the future, and this story will only add a whimsical memory to that occasion.

I was basking comfortably in the afterglow of my feasting, and Joanie and I were making smalltalk while waiting for the waitress to return with our credit card. As I sipped my water, my wife’s brow furrowed and she said, “Hm… I ate too much. Or too quickly. Or maybe both.” I smiled and chuckled, pleased to share in gluttony with her.

We chatted for a minute more when she said, “Um… wow. I really ate too much. I don’t feel so great.”

I asked, concerned, if she needed to sit and have some more water, or head to the ladies’ room. “No, let’s just go – I need some fresh air.”

Out the door we went, into the cool light of dusk, and started the two-block trek back to the car.

“Thanks,” she said, “I was really starting to feel bad in there.”

I nodded in sympathy. “We did pretty much inhale that stuff. I’m pretty stuffed, myself.”

“Yeah,” she agreed, “I mean, even now, I can just feel the rice expanding in my…”

She reached out her hand in slow motion, as if to warn me or steady herself or both, and then

BLLLLEEEEEAAAAHHHH.

A colorful array of semi-food appeared on the sidewalk, my wife was bent over above it, and I noted dumbly that it had happened too fast for me to even see the intervening action.

(Side-note: while she was in Tulsa, and even somewhat since her return, we have occasionally interspersed this text into our correspondence in unlikely places. For instance, if I were to ask her via SMS what she thought of a TV episode we both watched on Netflix, she might respond, “Oh it was good! Watch out for next episode, turns out thBLEEAHHHH!” Hilarity abounds, continuously, in our marriage.)

My immediate state of mind was not, sadly, “Dude! Help your wife!” To my credit, it also was not laughter. Rather, it was simply a semi-bovine expression of … “Whu?”

I roused myself quickly and hastened to smooth back one solitary lock of hair that, in either empathy, curiosity, or a desire to be dirty, was intent on dangling in front of my wife’s face. There was, thankfully, no more vomiting – it was a sudden storm, quickly come and even more quickly gone.

“Oh … oh ew… it’s on my feet,” Joanie moaned. I ran to the car to grab a water bottle and some Kleenex as she hobbled forward, trying not to spread the droplets that had splattered on her toes.

She touched herself up, took a swig of water, and we got in the car.

I had not thus far said a word.

Then Joanie started to giggle.

In mingled relief and shock, I reciprocated.

By the time we were back on I-10, we were howling.

And that was how our last Sunday together before she departed for the summer was made especially, hilariously, and ruinously memoraBLEEEAHHHHHH.

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