Sawdust and Pink Detergent

Half way through the flight from Madrid to Delhi, I woke briefly. The cabin was in darkness, but still I could see the man in an adjoining seat was laying down flat on the cabin floor. “That’s a bit odd”, I thought to myself, but closed my eyes and attempted to go back to sleep. Minutes later, I heard one of the flight attendants attempt to get him up from the floor, to which he replied he was “going to be sick”.

My mind flashed back to primarily school when the boy next to me at our weekly assembly vomited all down my right hand side. The memory of this and the associated arrival of sawdust and pink detergent (as was the common cleanup method in NSW schools at the time) is with me still. As was the memory of running into that boy twenty years later, when I was living in western NSW, and reminding him of the event. “When was the last time I saw you?”, he asked me, to which I replied, “When you spewed on me, Danny…” Some things you never forget.

Anyway, back to the flight. Within a minute or so, there was an announcement on the system, asking if there was a doctor on board. The man’s symptoms, nausea and a numbness in his right arm, made me wonder if he was having a minor heart attack. The young woman to my right told me he had been drinking quite heavily, adding that if he vomited, she would probably follow suit. “Just the smell…”, she added. Oh Lord.

The doctor asked the attendants to provide him with plenty of water, and he was allowed to lay down on three seats to (presumably) sleep it off. Like in the days of Moses, the Red Sea of the surrounding passengers parted. He’s still there now, as we begin the final moments of the flight.

I giggled slightly when I noticed several other passengers also began asking the doctor for help. Never let a chance go by…

Though this happened all very closely to me, I felt more sorry for the man sitting right next to the gentleman. I checked his clothing, and thankfully, there were no signs of “sick” on his clothing. And what about sawdust and pink detergent? Nah, just some newspapers.

Newspapers on the cabin floor

Aside from that, it was a pleasant flight. I’m looking forward to the stopover in India, before arriving home later in the week.

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