The First Thing that Tried to Kill me in Australia

Below is actually a blog post from my trip to Australia, but it was one of my favorite blog posts I had written so I did a bit of restructuring and added it to my short stories. Enjoy!

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Good, the title piqued your attention. And now you wonder, what dangerous thing could have tried to kill her? Was it a poisonous snake? Or perhaps a deadly spider? A ravenous shark or a toothy crocodile? No, it was… A croissant. Seriously. Let me explain.

I’ve been at my Sydney hostel for three days now, and my usual breakfast at the hostel cafe has been pretty standard. Every morning I would have a bowl of cornflakes, coffee, orange juice, toast, and a croissant. On this day, something felt different. I should have taken it as a sign to leave when I found that black hair in my coffee cup, but I thought “no, I’ll just eat the cereal and croissant and have my coffee at Starbucks instead.”

I ate the cereal and started on the croissant. After a few bites, I paused to take a sip of orange juice to wash it down when it dawned on me that I couldn’t breathe… I couldn’t swallow… and I couldn’t talk. I began to freak out just a little so I stood up, hoping that would solve the problem. I still couldn’t breathe or swallow.

I rushed out of the door of the cafe into the connecting hostel, hoping to find help. I came across a woman and tapped her on the back and held my hands up to my throat (making the universal choking sign) but she just smiled at me and said “Hi!” This was going nowhere. I still couldn’t breathe or talk and tears were beginning to stream down my face. Now I was panicking.

I ran up to the reception desk and tried to get the attention of the two men working there. My hands were still around my neck making the “I’m choking!” sign. They looked at me, confused, and asked me “Are you ok? What’s the matter, love?” Now I am standing in front of them, unable to talk, unable to breathe, and they are just looking at me. How can I make them understand that I can’t breathe?! Luckily, at that moment I was able to swallow the deadly piece of croissant that had lodged in my windpipe. The two guys behind the desk are still looking at me quizzically as I start taking a few deep gasping breaths. I manage to get out a raspy “I was choking!” and they look at each other and say “Oooh!”.

I couldn’t believe it. I quite possibly could have died right there in a foreign country while people were just watching me as I struggled to breathe. Perhaps I am being a bit overly dramatic but this was quite possibly the most terrifying moment of my life! I went back into the cafe to get my purse, which I had left unattended as I was searching in vain for someone to save my life, and then I went upstairs to the lounge to sit and try to calm myself a little. One of the men from the reception came up and asked me if I wanted some ice cream. I didn’t.

So that is my story. The crocs haven’t gotten me yet, but the croissant nearly did. I don’t even need to make another comparison as to what that experience felt like. It was like choking on a croissant in the middle of a crowd of people who are just staring at you and asking if you are OK.

Over all, the time that passed where I couldn’t breathe or talk was probably only about 60 seconds. I still can’t figure out why no one was helping me. I remember wondering “well, maybe in Australia they have a different choking sign?” But it isn’t called the UNIVERSAL choking sign for nothing! Universal means it is supposed to be familiar to everyone in the UNIVERSE.

Anyway, I think I’m officially sick of Sydney. Just as I wrote that line, the artist in the song currently playing is belting out “We gotta get out of this place! If it’s the last thing we ever do!” Yep. That is how I am feeling right now in Sydney. I can’t wait to get out of this place. Onwards to Byron Bay!