Tuesday, May 19, 2015

What happened to me? What happened to you!

I woke up at the normal time and thought, jeez my arm kind of itches. I scratch it a little and realize it feels a bit bump.


I look at it in the mirror.

Clearly, I’ve been attacked by some kind of mythical scorpion demon monster straight out of the Clash of the Titans. The skin is red and swollen and it looks like I have been recently tattooed in red up and down my entire arm.

“What in the holy hell?” I worked through Friday and did my best not to itch it, but man did it itch and burn. Eventually I admit, I broke down and scratched and even a small amount of pressure tore the skin open and my arm started oozing clear fluid, which was also clearly not pus but some kind of weird bug venom.

“What in the serious holy hell?”

I spent the next hour around my bed trying to find any sign of the demon entity that had gone after my arm, to no avail. I worried I had bedbugs. I changed the sheets, vacuumed the bed, and tried really, really hard not to itch my arm. Fortunately I had a doctor’s appointment for a follow up check-up the next day. Unfortunately my arm burned and was becoming stiff, like board stiff, to the touch. Since nothing was turning black I deemed it not an emergency but definitely something I wanted to have check out.

That night I didn’t sleep for fear of being attacked again while I slumbered. I tossed and turned and looked for alien creepy crawlies that wanted to take a chunk out of me, but saw nothing. Finally in the morning, tired, unrested I went to the doctor.

The nurse asked how I was and I told her fine expect that on top of the regular part of the visit I had a bug bite I’d like the doctor to look at. She asked me to uncover it.

She was facing the wall when I pulled my dress off my arm. She turned back around.

“Holy fuck,” she actually jumped.

“Did you see what did this?”

“You think you wouldn’t be looking at the body of something if I had?”

“Okay, well don’t cover it up.”

She walks out. The doctor is looking at my chart and talking on her way in.

“I heard you have…Oh my god, what bit you?”

“Look, seriously, if I had a clue, I would have challenged it to an epic battle, fought to its death and brought you the head.”

She just blinked and stared at me.

“It’s oozing.”

“Since yesterday.”

“Okay, well, how do you feel about antibiotics.”

“Like it’s the best prevention for a zombie takeover of my flesh.”

The rest of my visit showed that I am healthy like a freaking horse. Over three weeks later and my arm still itches.

Monday, May 18, 2015

I'm not Mexican, but really?

On the last day, I had sometime to myself once the project I was in Canada for had finalized itself. I hadn’t eaten all day, in fact, I had purposefully, perhaps even spitefully, not eaten. I decided I was going to go and check out a restaurant I had seen that was named after one of my favorite tequilas. I figured that was a good sign, a good place to  start, so I would start there and have some food, and then maybe walk about and try to find something interesting in Canada. Anything?

I was truly, at this point, hungry and annoyed and I admit that my mood was slipping fouler by the end of my work day, however I had the bright light, thoughts of tequila looming on my horizon and I thought that would help to inspire joy and happiness. That is at least, what I wanted it to do, failing to properly calculate in the angry that comes from being stupid hungry.

The Mexican place, Milagro, like many Mexican places, was run by actual Mexicans. I figured that was a good start at least (I learned during my conference that Toronto boasts the largest number of immigrant settlers of all the Canadian cities, with close to 74 different languages spoken in the city). The day was absolutely frigid but I also didn’t want to be so warm that I would fall asleep, so I got a seat at the bar in a section that was not quite warm and not quite cold, where Goldilocks probably would have deemed it passing for a moment before trying to find someplace else to sit.

Reading, drinking, eating, is there a better way to spend an afternoon? And with Mexican food. Trifecta, I hoped.

My hopes, sometimes die on the menu.

As they did this day.

The menu did have lots of tasty looking eats and also somehow managed to be the most carb laden Mexican menu I had ever seen. I know, Mexican can be carby, but really this was a bit much. If it wasn’t fried or battered it wasn’t going to be served. There was a real lack of grilled anything, at least in the neighborhood of chicken. I’d have more to go on if I’d been willing to eat beef or pork, which, surprise, I was not entertaining. Eventually I settled on a chicken tostada and to sulk over some tequila.

The tequila was not bad, and I have to admit, the chicken tostada was amazing. However, considering that I was in fact in an English speaking country, the fact that it had come loaded with beans and cheese, which I had specifically asked about and was told that they did not exist on the dish, annoyed.

So, I picked up the chicken and tried again.

“Can I get this again, but with just the chicken, no beans, no cheese?”

“Oh, we can’t do that.”

“Why not. You have to put the beans on to put the chicken on, and then you top it with the cheese. You are just skipping to steps.”’

“Yes, but the beans make it stick to the tortilla.”

“Look, I’m Puerto Rican. I understand the basic mechanics of a tostada. Stuff moves around. It falls off. All I need is for you to accept that fact that I will take responsibility for the chicken falling off and bring me the food. I want the food. I’m hungry. I’m happy to pay for it.”

“Yeah, we can’t do that.”

I just kind of stare at him. I think I’m being reasonable. I had said, in fact, when I came into the restaurant that I wanted a seat at the bar where I could drink, eat and write for a while. I was upfront about wanting to sit and spend money on food and booze. I hadn’t misled anyone. I was disappointed with the menu but willing to make do.

“Comeon, seriously.”

“I’m sorry. We can only make it that way. We don’t customize our dishes for dietary needs. You could eat a taco instead.”

“You do realize that a taco is just a toasted with the corn tortilla toasted differently, right?”

“Yes, but it comes without beans.”

“Yes, and it comes with all sorts of other things I don’t want like a side of rice and beans and salad. Can you make it without that stuff?”

“No, that is what is included in the dish.”



I finished my drink, closed my computer, cashed out and left. There are not polite words for the emotions I was feeling. I was too angry to try to do much else, so I hit my room, worked on packing up my things, and then hit the hotel bar for dinner and drinking and book reading until it was finally time to fly home. Thus ended my great northern trip. The next time I go to Canada I need to schedule it better, meet up with friends, and avoid Mexican restaurants.