Hello! I am not dead! Not even missing! I am alive and well but still somewhat mysterious.
Honestly, I had these grand plans to be less mysterious today. I took a whole mess of pictures and planned a little photo essay, like a little scavenger hunt kind of thing, to let you see what I’ve seen and perhaps guess where I am. But then. Then! Then my camera decided it was not talking to the computer I am using here. It’s sort of like this Mac vs. PC commercials. My camera is happily jabbering in Japanese while the computer at hand is saying “Hello? Hellooooooo-oooo?” It’s very sad. Especially since the computer in question IS A MAC. (Explain THAT, Steve Jobs.) But my camera has been BRAINWASHED to only talk to PCs.
Meanwhile, the owner of the computer is still brainstorming on how to get the pics off the camera. Because Macs are supposed to be OMNIPOTENT. And I will use this as ammunition forever, as proof that my PC isn’t so bad. Anyway. This means no photos today. Which, you know, isn’t really so bad, since most of my pictures suck.
Anyway, pretend there are pictures. Since we are pretending, go ahead and pretend they are good ones!
Yesterday I passed a pleasant few hours on a VERY bumpy plane along with about six army guys. Okay, there were other people there, too, but I happened to be sitting in the tail of the plane with this gaggle of servicemen. They were on their way to some base or other, and from there to Iraq. Sitting amongst them was oddly reminiscent of riding a bus on a field trip in high school. They joked and laughed and threw things and poked each other, and when they noticed me laughing at them, they poked at my seat and threw things at me, too. I expected one of them to pull my hair. Instead, a truce was called when I gave my seatmate my complimentary crackers and cookies. They were a lovely group of men who were very much alive and I couldn’t help but tell them, upon disembarking, that I would pray that they stayed that way.
After getting off the plane, I walked right past the person picking me up, then spent the next fifteen minutes apologizing for being an oblivious dork, then had a lovely evening which included hole-in-the-wall Mexican food. (I know this is going to come as a COMPLETE SHOCK, but it’s sort of hard to get good Mexican food in New England. I KNOW! Can you believe it?) I went to sleep last night with a full, happy belly and a full, happy heart. (The latter not necessary being related to the former.)
Now. Here’s the part where you get to figure out where I am.
This morning I got up and went into the bathroom and reached for my toiletry kit to grab my toothpaste. Something approximately the size of a chipmunk scuttled off of the case and I did the mature thing: I recoiled and screamed. Loudly. Further investigation revealed that naturally there was no indoor chipmunk, because that would just be silly. No, it was simply a palmetto bug. As big as my hand. Looking to suck out my brains.
["Don't be afraid of it. They're really just cockroaches. With wings."
"Oh, good... NOW I feel better!"]
The bug was disposed of. I’m pretty sure I heard it screaming over the sound of the toilet flushing. Even now I suspect it to be working its way back up through the sewer pipes, plotting its revenge. I plan to sleep with the lights on tonight.
Of course, the advantage of such an early morning encounter is that—by comparison—the rest of the day was delightfully tame. Not that it wouldn’t have been, anyway, but there’s nothing like a roach wake-up call to really make you appreciate how roach-free the majority of life is. Heck, I saw kids with pierced faces and purple hair today, and they didn’t both me one bit. Because they didn’t fly at me and they didn’t try to eat my brains. Also, they were not roaches. See how well that works?
There is a local obsession with bulldogs which I find alternately endearing and disturbing. Also I befriended a beagle named Fenway, who could apparently smell the stench of New England on me. He came straight to me, tail wagging, low whining in his throat, as if to say “You look like a Red Sox fan! PET ME!” And really, what could I do? I petted him. He was much obliged, being just as polite as most of the locals. (Fenway didn’t even appear to think I talk funny.)
I will need to tell the whole tale of the trip itself, beginning to end, at some point. But it’s a long story and I haven’t quite put it all together, yet. Be patient. In the meantime, if you don’t live in the land of the palmetto bug, go thank your lucky stars RIGHT NOW.
The kids called tonight and Chickadee insisted that she was calling to grant me three wishes. I wished for a variety of complex, peace-on-earth-ish items while she grew irritated with me. On this end of the phone line, we kept exchanging looks and laughing as Chickadee’s voice came through the handset both booming and tinny: “Not THAT! Something EASY! You have to pick something I can DO!” Finally there was a tap, a gesture, and the mouthing of “Ask her for a piece of toast.”
Swallowing a giggle, I returned to the phone.
“Okay, Chickadee. I wish for… a PIECE OF TOAST!”
There was a pause.
“Get it yourself!”
We lost it completely.
Enjoying the reaction, Chickadee continued: “Wouldn’t it have been funny if I had added ‘WOMAN!’ to the end of that?” I had to agree that it might have been, yes. “That’s okay,” she decided. “You seemed to think it was pretty funny, anyway.”
I did not tell her about the palmetto bug. I told her about Fenway, and she was unimpressed, opting to shift her attention to calling me “WOMAN!” empathically, several times, until I convinced her to give the phone to her brother.
I would be hard-pressed to make a solid determination as to whether life is more wild here or at home.