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Monday, May 23, 2005

Travel Sickness

I get car sick. Yes, it's true. 26 years old and I still find myself feeling like vomiting if I travel in a car for more than about half an hour. Let's be honest: it's a little pathetic.

When I was a kid, I used to travel in cars fairly frequently. So I kinda built up some immunity to travel sickness. Back in the day, I could do six hours in a car and feel only mildly queasy.

But now, living as I do in London, I experience virtually no car travel. Tube, train and, goddamit, even plane on one occasion now, but not car. So my tolerance of such travelling has fallen to its lowest ever point. We're talking twenty minutes in a car = McReadie wondering if she'll vomit.

So it was with some concern that I heard about plans for a meeting in Exeter on Wednesday morning, starting at 9am. My very kind boss (who lives in Exeter, but will be working in London tomorrow) said we could go down together on Tuesday night, and that I could stay overnight at his home, and go to the meeting with him first thing.

Kind, yes, indeed. But then he said he'd probably be driving down...

Well, London to Exeter... That's a long trip. I had images of me vomiting all over his car (an Audi). I tried to assess to what extent this was becoming an anxiety problem - fear of being car sick. I concluded it was highly likely it was an anxiety issue, and that I should therefore follow The Anxiety Rules. That would include taking no sick bag (preparing for being sick makes you more likely to be sick). I thought of what the mental health dudes would tell me: "maybe you will be sick, maybe you won't be sick. Drop the safety nets and find out".

I'll be honest: I wasn't wild about the Anxiety Rules in these circumstances. I figured car sickness should allow brief disobedience of the rules. I then figured that I was probably concluding this through obsessive, and invalid, reasoning. A fact that, it has to be said, has been supported by this highly-ruminative post.

Anyway, da boss just called. As it turns out, we're taking the train! And we're taking the train sufficiently late in the evening that I won't have to worry about eating a meal with him! And my mental health dudes would not be happy about my level of relief about both of these facts! Though both facts do serve to prove that there is little point worrying about things in advance - wait and see what happens.

(Oh, and the dudes would so not be happy about this site. It refers to sick bags helping to reduce your anxiety by making you know you won't have to face the embarrassment of public vomiting. No, no, no. Safety nets increase anxiety. Trust me. I know about these things).


  • At 2:31 PM, Blogger Fizzwhizz said…

    I know you're going on the train now anyway, but could you not have just told your boss, "Sorry, I'd better take the train coz I tend to get travel sick and I don't want to blow chunks all over your nice Audi"? I mean, I'm not saying I've never obsessed about anything, but compared to being anxious about having a meal with someone, which is unusual, you seem to have a perfectly valid reason for saying no to a lift to Exeter. Also, it;s a damn long way to sit in a car with your boss and who wants to have to make small talk with a co-worker for that long anyway? I'd probably have made my excuses for that reason alone (I am really, really bad at small talk and tend to get all nervous and then crack a bad taste joke that insults the person I'm talking to).

  • At 11:09 AM, Blogger McReadie said…

    Yeah, you're quite right, Fizzwhizz - there is a legitimate reason for saying no to the lift. Trouble is, to what extent is there a genuine problem with me becoming car sick, and to what extent is the problem worry about getting car sick? I'm beginning to think the issue is the latter rather than the former. And then my concern is that if I avoid travelling in cars, I reinforce the belief that to do so is risky (ie. I might throw up) and it starts to become an issue - will I ultimately not even be able to travel in a taxi for fear of puking?

    It gets difficult, cos there obviously is a legitimate issue here, but my anxiety - as so often - is so mixed in that it's difficult to understand the extent to which this is an anxiety problem rather than a "genuine" problem. Gah :)

    (I too hate small talk but, fortunately, I've known my boss for about five years now, and know his family, so wasn't too bad in that respect. But I'm well known for becoming so nervous with small talk that I turn into a comedian doing a stand-up routine...!)


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