Last night I played pool with an Israeli until 1:00 in the morning. Then, I drank rum and coke with six
Polish friends talking about life, love and politics, until the wee hours.
Life is beautiful. Meeting other travelers is beautiful.
If you travel long enough though, eventually you will stop “traveling” and instead start “living on the road”.
You’ll know this is happening when you’ve had your hair cut in a couple of different countries, none of your
clothes are from home because those are all worn out, you trust the local pharmacy for medicines, your best
friends you’ve known two months or less, and you start eating fruit with the peeling on.
There is a vague feeling, when you leave home to travel the world, that you are entering some dark abyss where
no water is ever good, no legit medicines can ever be had and, when you get very sick, if you aren’t flown
home immediately, you will surely die alone in some foreign country away from everyone you ever loved,
with no one to hold your hand.
In truth though, the local docs do better with most illnesses than the docs at home, considering
they are familiar with and treat local ailments all the time.
So, when I got clawed by a cat a few weeks ago, I decided not to be too concerned about it until the local doc
told me “you must take the rabies vaccine!” “But,” I pouted “The scratch isn’t bad and that cat hangs around that
guest house all the time”. “No!” he was firm “Whenever this happens here in India we must have those vaccines.”
Thus began my trekking through India while giving myself the rabies vaccine series, which is five shots.
Giving yourself a shot in the arm is…a developed skill. I still haven’t gotten the knack of it. I flick the
needle to my arm using what I consider good force, but the needle thunks to a stop on top of my skin and
never goes in. (WHAT?) Then I have to push, push and slowly the needle goes into my arm and…
I was talking to my daughter Amy-Caroline over Skype about this the other day. She was chiding me for not starting the vaccine “right away”. I told her I started it within 24 hours and that WAS, indeed, right away. She was arguing that I should have started them sooner.
As is common for the two of us, we laughingly took the thread of thought to it’s logical end….which sometimes ends up in Bazarro Land. Here’s how it went:
Me: (after being fussed at A LOT for not going to the doc right away)
“You just don’t want me to die a death of rabies where I am foaming at the mouth
and in a straight jacket.”
Amy-Caroline: “That’s right. I don’t want you to die of rabies because then I will have to do that scene
from the movie Their Eyes are Watching God…where I have to shoot you with a shot gun… and I don’t want
to do that”
Me: “You would use a shotgun to shoot me?”
Amy-Caroline: “Well, you ARE from the south”
Me: “Don’t use a shotgun. Couldn’t you just poison me or something? How would that be?”
Amy-Caroline: “No! I’m not getting close to you. You are going to be crazy with rabies!”
Me: “Ok, well, Don’t use a shotgun, use some other kind of gun”
Amy-Caroline: “What kind of gun would you like?”
Me: “I don’t know, but use one that would do the job. Don’t leave me alive and shot. That would be horrible”.
Amy-Caroline: “Well, you wouldn’t care anyway. You’d be crazy with rabies.”
Fact is, she wouldn’t be here to lovingly shoot me and I’d probably die some horrible death in a straight
jacket with no one to hold my hand.
I think I’ll keep taking those shots. The last one of the five is tomorrow.