Thursday, December 29, 2011

holiday overdose

You learn new things all the time, and recently I learned that Robitussin is a recreational drug for people who can't get their hands on real drugs.  I woke up two days before the Holiday Renegade Fair with an itch in my throat and an ache around my glands.  Uh-oh.  I dragged myself over to my neighborhood Vietnamese noodle shop and downed a bowl of Pho with lots of extra red chili to, you know, burn out the sickness.  Then, since I could still walk, I went to the studio and worked all day.  I repeated this routine on Friday.  When I  woke upon Saturday-- the first day of the show-- I had a terrible cough and hardly any voice. 

Saturday was so busy I didn't have a lot of time to think about how crappy I felt.  But by Sunday I had this dry, hacky cough that wouldn't stop.  So I swig down 3 or 4 doses of  Robitussin thinking I can drown the cough in suppressant.  Isn't that how it works?  You just coat the throat in medicine and feel better?  About 30 minutes later I stood up and had two thoughts that occurred one right after the other.  The first was, "Whoa, I am like, reeeeaaaally dizzzzzzy."  That thought came very slowly, and I swayed in my booth as I thought it.  The second thought was, "Whoa, I think I may puke right here, right now."  That thought came very slowly too, which alarmed me, because I have a fear of puking in public.  If I was going to puke, I needed to run immediately, and not slowly, to the nearest exit door, which was about 100 yards away.

I've never puked in public, but I still have the fear.  One time, I was really high and thought I puked in public when I actually didn't.  That was a long time ago, before I was a potter.

Oh, and there was a third thought:  "I think I drank too much Robitussin."  And then I started coughing so hard I almost did pass out and then puke. 

Overdosing on Robitussin is kind of like tripping, but without the interesting thoughts or pretty colors.  I was not registering the activity around me in real-time, so my responses were delayed, which was throwing off my timing with customers.  It was also kind of like being drunk, but without the good-timey feeling.  I couldn't make my face do what I wanted it to do, so my lips and eyes and eyebrows were not matching up in expression.  Think about that for a second.  It was also kind of like being on nitrous,  I couldn't really feel my body.  I was trying to make change for someone, and ripped a twenty dollar bill right in half as I was trying to unfold it and hand it to them.  We both stared at the bill, and then I tried to make it become whole again by holding the edges together.  I am magic.  It didn't work.  My stage presence drained slowly away along with my sales as I just sat in my booth, kind of melting off my seat.  My friend, who didn't know I was sick, brought me a frosty beer, which I just stared at as it slowly warmed up.  You know I'm about to die when I cannot drink a beer.

My brain came back online about 2 hours before the show closed, and I looked around and realized almost everything was gone from my shelves, there was a spilled bottle of Robitussin on the floor next to me, and a big pile of money in my cash box.  So it actually was a very merry christmas, I hope yours was just as good!


  1. It's called robotripping girl! You and Lil Wayne!
    I did this once, I was working as a sales rep for Jansport, calling on Journey's, the shoe store, and tripping my ass off on robitussin. This brought back some interesting memories! I was just trying not to cough through the meeting and God knows what I ended up doing instead :)

  2. Yes, robotripping. My 24-year old assistant and my husband's equally young cousin educated me on this particular activity. All I can say is: LAME. When I was a kid we'd go all over town and wait for hours in cars and random living rooms and talk to people we'd rather not talk to and make dozens of calls so we could procure real drugs that WORKED. Robitussin just made me feel blankly retarded and sick to my stomach. If this is what the kids are into these days, then I fear for the future. I should have known there was something in the Robitussin when they asked me how old I was when I purchased, I was just too sick to ask questions.

  3. Yikes, American medication is scary! Hope you had a great Christmas after coming down!

  4. Sounds like a rather disconcerting experience. Very humorously told though. At least you didn't have empty shelves and an empty money box. Hope you are feeling better now!

  5. You know they took that stuff off the shelves around here... oh whit.... evidently it is the new thing... all I know is when I was trying to get pregnant...and having trouble, they said it made the spermies flow better... i know...TMI...

  6. Anonymous7:07 AM

    hi whitney, thanks for your analysis of robutussin and how it compares to all the other drugs you've experienced. what i've taken away is... stick with tetrahydrocannabinoid and of course continue using beer as a litmus. seems like the proof is in the tasting though as you had a successful sale even if you don't remember the details

  7. Ha, good story Whit, well told. I hadn't heard of robotripping! Crazy.

  8. Good story! haha Judi - my obgyn had me drinking robitussin to get pregnant too...