Centipedes and Scorpions, oh my!

Long ago I drew the line in the sand with all members of the insect kingdom. If you stay outside, where you belong, we are cool. The minute you cross into my home, my territory, I will destroy you by whatever means are necessary.

The biggest threat to my bug free zone came one Saturday morning as I was headed to the kitchen for some breakfast. My bare foot almost came down on something long and skinny scurrying across the floor. I quickly flipped on the lights to see this grotesque creature hurrying to get out of sight. Not on my watch. Reacting from instinct, I grabbed the Mason jar on my kitchen counter, and trapped my prey within it’s circular opening, leaving the 2 inch thing struggling against the glass walls. Utilizing some cardboard and a brave act of complete courage on my part, I was able to flip this monster into the body of the Mason jar, trapping him with no escape.

Not sure what to do, I started by identifying my prisoner. After some Google and Facebook help, I learned I was dealing with a centipede. Next step, I needed a plan to destroy. I couldn’t just let him go, he already knew the way into my house. He would be back, bringing all his friends, telling them I was an easy target. Smashing him seemed like a bad plan, with all the guts and poison that would come out. And, I couldn’t flush him down the toilet, as everyone knows if you flush a bug it will crawl back up the sewer system and bite you on the bum as you are going to the bathroom. I couldn’t live with that constant threat hanging over my head.

The only solution that made sense was to kill this centipede in the mason jar, and then dump the body into the garbage to be taken far away. Only problem, I didn’t have any bug spray or other known killers. Undeterred, I started combing through my household cleaners for something that might work. First up, Windex. I sprayed some into the jar, closed the lid, and waited. No response. This was a tough bug, staring at me with those horrible eyes, laughing at my first attempt. Three other household cleaners had the same effect. Nothing. I had to do better, I had to up my game. I soaked a cotton ball with nail polish remover, dropped it into the jar, and closed the lid. Immediately the centipede began twitching. Within 10 seconds, the centipede was writhing, and I swear I could hear it screaming. Within 30 seconds, the centipede stopped moving completely. I waited for a full minute to ensure he was completely dead.

Deciding not to focus on the fact that a substance I put on my fingertips had the ability to kill a poisonous insect within 30 seconds, I set my sights on how to dispose of the body. I poked my head outside and noticed my neighbors garbage can was out on the street, about 5 houses down. Unwilling to have the corpse near my own house, I slowly walked down the street, made sure no one was watching, and dumped the body into the trash. Victory was mine.

About a month later, I came home to find a small scorpion on the stairs. I quickly sprang into action. I grabbed the mason jar, now labeled “the bug killing jar”, trapped him, and dropped in a cotton ball soaked with nail polish remover. Same result. Not wanting to take advantage of the same neighbor, I dumped this body into the trash can of the neighbor across the street.

Word must have travelled fast within the insect community, because I haven’t had any large scale intruders since the scorpion. But, someday another hot shot will think he can mess with me. And I’ll be waiting.

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A Rivalry for the Ages

I’m in a feud with my neighbor’s cat. And it’s all Nate’s fault.

This is an actual, epic, Hatfield and McCoy type feud with a cat. When the cat sees me, it hisses. And I hiss back, which I’m aware makes me a crazy person. But, it’s not like I fired the first shot. I’m just defending my territory.

It all started when Nate went to Europe. While he was gone, Nate’s pitbull, Lux, got into a fight with his roommate’s pitbull that ended with Lux getting stitches. Afraid that another fight was forthcoming, Nate’s roommate convinced me, using what I assume was voodoo magic, to keep the injured dog at my house for a few days. Lux arrived Saturday morning, and spent the day sleeping off the drugs of surgery. When I left the house Saturday evening, I wasn’t worried because I was confident this sleeping trend would continue. I should have worried.

When I arrived home, I opened my front door and stepped onto a rug covered in drywall and small pieces of wood. Confused, I turned to see my door frame, from the door handle down on both sides, was gone. Just gone. I stood, frozen to the spot as I processed the damage, noting no large pieces of wood remained. This dog actually ate my door frame. I turned to Lux, flabbergasted. How? Why? She calmly stared back at me, unapologetic in her gaze.

Unable to feel comfortable leaving my house with a sociopathic dog on the loose, I called my dog-owning friends for suggestions. A kennel. Of course a kennel! I was able to borrow one and placed Lux inside before leaving for church on Sunday morning. I left feeling I had the upper hand. Three hours later I returned home to find my upper hand was gone. Lux had eaten a hole in the top of the kennel. Not the side, not around the door, not in a place that might make sense, but in the top. Escaping out of the impossible hole, she overturned all her food and water and ate what was remaining of the drywall around my front door. I was left with gaping holes of insulation and wiring. Giving up, I called Nate’s roommate and forced him to come and pick up the crazy industrial-stomached dog. My home was no longer a place of refuge from dog fights, as I was about to kill this dog.

Nate returned from his European adventure and fixed everything, except my distaste for pitbulls. He replaced the kennel I had borrowed and repaired the drywall and door frame. On the night the final touches were being made, Nate was working with the door off it’s hinges while I was in the kitchen.

Nate said, “Oh hey, I think a cat just came in.”

I am very allergic to cats, so I responded in a worried manner, “You think? Or you know?”

“He just went upstairs”, Nate replied.

Wishing my house to stay an allergy free zone, I quickly ran upstairs and began chasing this cat around my bedroom. Finally I got it cornered, grabbed it by the scruff of its neck, held it out at arm’s length, and marched downstairs. Reaching the front door, I tossed the cat outside.

The cat maintains I fired the first shot with the throw, but we all know the cat is to blame for crossing the threshold of my home uninvited. In revenge, the cat has dug up every flower I’ve ever planted in my planter box. Never using it as a litter box, just digging up the flowers. I tried searching Google for ways to keep cats out of gardens, and found some truly disturbing things, like hiding razor blades and glass in the dirt so they’ll cut their paws. I hate this cat, but I’m not sadistic. Some people be crazy.

One night when being dropped off at home by a fellow who had taken me to dinner, I caught the cat in the act of digging up my flowers. I ran from the car and started yelling at the cat, who met my eyes, and stared me down as he finished uprooting the last plant and calmly walked away. I don’t think my date understood cat feuds. We didn’t go out again.

So, because Nate went to Europe, I had to watch his dog, who then ate my door, which Nate then had to fix. Nate failed to guard my home from a cat invasion, which lead to a cat feud. Which turned me into a crazy cat lady, which has impaired my ability to date.

I hate that cat. Nate’s not looking so good either.

Guys dig scars, right?

College dorm rooms are a social science experiment. Take a group of 18 year-olds, homesick and confused, put them into tight quarters and make them share bathrooms. Either strong bonds of friendship will form, or people will die. Luckily for me, my dorm room experience resulted in a life-long friendship with Julie. We only tried to kill each other once or twice, never successfully.

One such attempted killing occurred on a Saturday night during our sophomore year of college. We pulled up to my apartment in Julie’s car to retrieve my forgotten purse. Upset about something I have long forgotten, I yelled I would hurry back and slammed the car door in a very satisfying manner. I turned to storm off, but instead ran smack into my roommate’s Toyota Celica. Upset my cool exit was ruined, I quickly ran upstairs.

I first noticed the red drops on the floor, which lead me to my arm, covered in blood. Confused, I grabbed a wad of paper towels to apply pressure. I would later learn that my run in with the Celica was a bit more violent than I thought. The antenna on the back of the car was broken off, leaving a jagged metal spike on which I had impaled my arm. I was left with a 2 inch gash, and the Celica was left with all the layers of my skin. But in the moment, I just knew I had to get the bleeding stopped, and I needed Julie to help me.

As I ran down the stairs hysterically yelling about my arm, Julie mistook my rant as a continuation of our previous argument and responded that I should just get in the car. In shock, I climbed into the passenger seat, applied pressure to my wad of paper towels quickly soaking with blood, and began whimpering and rocking back and forth. As she drove away, Julie noticed my rocking and asked what was wrong. I responded by pulling back the papers towels and showing her the bleeding gash. She nearly drove off the road as a two-person panic attack began. Neither of us are very good with blood.

Julie decided we needed to go to Shannon. Shannon would know what to do. Shannon was our rational friend, our reasonable friend, our pre-med friend. Surely a pre-med student would know how to handle this situation! As we speed towards Shannon’s apartment, Julie noticed a group of guys walking along the street, looking for a ride.

Julie turned to me and said “Maybe we should pick them up?”

“No!”, I screamed, “I’m bleeding out over here!”

“It will just take a minute!” Julie says, and pulls over to the side of the road.

She jumps out, and says to the guys, “Jump in! We’ll give you a ride!”, as she starts to unload the contents of her completely full back seat to the trunk of her car to make room for them. As she ran around frantically, I continued rocking and whimpering in the passenger seat. One of the guys approached my window and asked what was wrong. I responded “I cut my arm”, and then pulled away the paper towels. He recoiled and said, “Why did you stop? You need to see a doctor! Get out of here!” The rest of the group quickly agreed, eager to get rid of the crazy girls. In response, Julie asks them “Are you sure?” “YES!”, they screamed in unison.

We screeched into the parking lot, threw open the car doors, and ran screaming towards Shannon’s apartment door. Although she wasn’t expecting us, when Shannon heard the commotion outside, she assumed it could only be Julie and I arriving. She opened the door before we could even knock. We threw ourselves onto her living room floor and both began talking at the same time. Shannon was confused, until I pulled away my now completely blood soaked paper towel bandage and showed her the gash. Pre-med Shannon kicked in. First, she locked Julie in one bathroom and told her she couldn’t come out until she calmed down. She then took me into the second bathroom, and carefully cleaned and bandaged my wound. After calming us down with snacks and a movie, Shannon deemed us fixed and Julie took me home.

Sunday morning I woke to a scene from a horror movie. Blood was everywhere. I got out of bed, and fell to the ground. Dizzy and unable to stand, I used my army crawl skills to get into the hallway and call for my roommates. Unaware of the previous night’s adventures, they were startled by my bloody, crawling body. They helped me eat some breakfast, which helped considerably with my ability to stand. I got myself cleaned up and headed off to church.

That evening as I was recounting the crazy story and washing the blood out of my sheets, my mom called for our weekly chat. Laughing, I told her about our silly evening. For some reason, my mom didn’t find the events nearly as funny. “Are you telling me you have been bleeding for almost 24 hours and it never occurred to you to see a doctor! You need to go to the hospital, you need stitches!”

Odd that this rant from my mother was the first myself or any of my friends had thought of stitches. I’m especially disappointed in Shannon, she was pre-med after all. My roommates loaded me up in the car, and we headed to the hospital. The doctors told me if I had come in immediately, I would have received stitches, and several of them. As it was, I waited too long and stitches were no longer an option. Instead I was wrapped up, told to keep the bandage on and dry for 7 days to avoid infection, and given a tetanus shot.

Today I’m left with an unladylike scar on my right arm and a story with which to tease my friends. “You would have let me bleed out while you flirted with boys” can really go a long way. I did learn my lesson, I haven’t let a 19 year-old or a pre-med student make medical decisions since this accident. And if you ever find yourself in the position of having a jagged piece of metal instead of a car antenna, do everyone a favor and cover it up.

Yes Man! To Portland!

20140102_132256The dream: Walk into the airport with a packed bag, destination unknown. Purchase ticket on the next flight leaving. Jump on plane. Adventure!

Christy and I entered the airport, bags in hand and began discussing which ticket counter we should approach. We had grand hopes of a ticket agent who appreciated our spirit of adventure and would make the experience even better. We noticed no line at Allegiant Air, known for cheap fares and a-la-carte fees for carry-on bags and breathing. Not for sale, reclining seats or working air vents. We enthusiastically asked for two tickets on their next flight leaving Las Vegas.

“We only sell tickets at the counter Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 to 11am”.

“But you have flights leaving today? With available seats?”

“Yes, but we can’t sell you tickets at this time.”

Flabbergasted, we turned away. Not exactly the movie moment we anticipated, but undaunted we headed to the next airline. Delta! We both had frequent flyer miles! We were pointed towards a red-haired woman working at the end of the counter, and told she was the only agent able to sell us tickets. She was currently helping a customer, but we would be first in line when she was done.

As we waited, a line formed behind us and we excitedly shared our plans with our fellow travelers. After almost 30 minutes of waiting, the original customer headed out. Our new friends in line wished us luck as we headed to the ticket counter, but the red-haired agent didn’t look up, didn’t make eye contact, grabbed her coffee and exited the area.

Confused, I approached the next ticket agent and asked when the red-haired agent would return.

“She’s on break, she’ll be back in 30 minutes.”

“Well, is there anyone who can help us while she is on break?”

“No, she is the only agent who handles ticket sales.”

“So, you are telling me that our entire line just has to wait for 30 minutes while she is on break? That no one else can help us?”

Holding up her hand, and giving me the death stare, she said “MA’AM, YOU JUST HAVE TO WAIT.” I again started to ask about a replacement, but received the same talk-to-the-hand pose and was told “MA’AM, YOU JUST HAVE TO WAIT.”

Appalled, I returned and recounted the story to all those in line, each of whom started to loudly freak out. A man in a blue vest approached us and asked if there was a problem. As the self-appointed spokeswoman, I responded “Yes, there really is.” I then described my experience with talk-to-the-hand lady, and demanded immediate assistance. Faced with angry travelers, he quickly said he would get his manager, and ran off. A few minutes later, a large man wearing a red jacket, apparently a sign of authority, sat down at red-haired lady’s spot and called for the next in line.

Red-jacket man asked for our destination. We responded that we would like two tickets on their next flight leaving. He rolled his eyes so far back into his head, I’m surprised he was able to get them out. He told us he couldn’t look up anything without a destination, pulling flights up by time wasn’t an option. Patience wearing thin, Christy opened the Delta app on her phone, and was able to quickly get a list of all flights leaving that day. She asked “Are you telling me I have more information about your flights today than you do?” Clearly hating us, he again asked for a destination. From the Delta app, we knew the next flight leaving was to Seattle, so we said “Fine, two tickets to Seattle, and we would like to use our frequent flyer miles”. The daggers from his eyes were piercing as he told us “You can’t redeem miles at a counter. You can only do that online or over the phone. Next!”

Brushed aside after so much waiting, we were angry and cursing Delta. Determined to still make our dream come true, we took a few deep cleansing breaths and moved on to the airline we were stupid not to try from the beginning. Southwest. Of course Southwest! Their flight attendants referred to Las Vegas as “Lost Wages”! That’s the fun attitude we needed for our trip! We checked with the Southwest employee manning the insanely long line to ensure this was the correct line to purchase tickets. “Of course,” he responded “All of our agents can help you with anything you need.” What a novel concept.

As we waited, we decided to pull up the Southwest app and check our options. Most flights leaving that day were sold out. What if we couldn’t get a flight? As we scrolled through the list, we noticed the next flight with available seats was to Portland. And we could purchase tickets right there in the app. We had a decision to make, continue to wait in the long line and roll the dice as per our original dream? Or take the easier route and purchase tickets to Portland online?

We decided the easier route was still true to the experience, as fate was still determining our destination. After almost two hours of walking around the airport dealing with humans, we were able to purchase tickets to Portland with no fuss in less than five minutes on a phone. Thirty minutes later, our phones provided a hotel and a car rental. By the time we boarded our flight, we had researched restaurants, things to do in the area, and had received suggestions from friends via Facebook of can’t miss Portland sites.20140103_231155

Portland was an amazing trip, with nightly runs to Voodoo Donuts. But this trip taught me an important lesson about how the world of retail and customer service has changed. The internet made our adventure possible after humans almost ruined everything. So, if you are ever hoping to jump on a plane for a spontaneous adventure, don’t forget your phone.

India Go!

India is an awesomely terrible place. It’s an overwhelming experience in the extremes of human existence. It’s a country rich in culture and religion, with extreme inequality and corruption; the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi that still upholds the caste system. It’s sweltering hot, constantly noisy, smells of curry, and overflowing with people. Prior to visiting the country, my view of India was formed by books and movies. I pictured India as a vibrant country full of colors, music and dancing; a country where people go to pray and experience spirituality; a place where British retirees can find love.

India does have many colors, many of which come from the garbage in the street. There is music, but it comes from the constant sound of horns honking on the packed roads. I’m sure some can find spirituality, but I felt far from peaceful in the packed, jostling temples. I am still hopeful for the British retirees looking for love. While the reality was very different from my expectations, I grew to appreciate what India did have to offer. India pushes you to your limits, and it’s nice to find out how far you can go.

Standing in the Ganges River. This is as far as we could dare to get in. Gross.

Standing in the Ganges River, looking like tourists. This is as far as we could dare to get in.

The very best and the very worst India has to offer is epitomized in Varanasi, which is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Located on the banks of the Ganges River, it is the spiritual capital of India. People make pilgrimages from all over the country to Varanasi just to wash themselves in the Ganges. In the Hindu religion it is believed that those who die in Varanasi will go straight to heaven, breaking the cycle of reincarnation.

In the Hindu religion, all animals are sacred, but the cow is holy because it is the only replacement for mother's milk, its dung is useful for domestic purposes, and its urine supposedly has medicinal value. The cow gives more than it takes.

In the Hindu religion, all animals are sacred, but the cow is holy because it produces the only replacement for mother’s milk, its dung is useful for domestic purposes, and its urine supposedly has medicinal value. The cow gives more than it takes.

Knowing the spiritual significance of the city, I was expecting a bit of relief from the noise and chaos I encountered elsewhere in the country. Wrong, so utterly wrong. I was truly unprepared for the filth and garbage that fills the city. Piles of garbage sit at street corners, where they will stay until they decompose and are swept away by the Ganges. This holy river is believed to wash away sins, which appears to be working, as the brown sludge that passes for water is full of evil. The labyrinth of narrow alleys that make up the city streets smell rancid. Cows, considered a very holy animal, walk through the streets unattended, eating the garbage and pooping. The cow dung is then scooped up, by hand, by local residents to be used as fertilizer, as fuel, and as insect repellent for their homes. Monkeys are not cute animals, but vicious creatures that break in and steal things, or will hold you hostage in your hotel room while they pound on the door.

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The ghats, or steps, lead down to the Ganges River and are constantly filled with a variety of people. Those wearing orange are pilgrims.

Once I got past the worst, I saw some of the best of Indian culture. Watching the pilgrims doing their devotions at the banks of the river against the backdrop of ancient temples is breathtaking. Learning about the Hindu religion was fascinating and seeing the devotion of the people was inspiring. Observing cremation ceremonies showed how deeply family and traditions are honored. Participating in a sunrise yoga session with a master yogi taught me I really can do a head stand pose. Amazingly beautiful silk saris are worn daily, giving elegance to household chores. The people I met were kind, obsessed with Bollywood movies, and fanatical about sports. My favorite Indian sport became Kabaddi, essentially an extreme version of tag. And my personal favorite part of India was Horlicks, a malted milk drink that is amazing. If anyone knows how to get it stateside, please hook me up.

India, in a word, is overwhelming. There is too much to see, too much to hear, too much to smell, too much to touch, and nothing to eat because you are so sick of curry you’ve decided to never eat again. India isn’t a terrible place; India is a difficult place. But, amid the chaos is beauty, if you are willing to search for it.

Moonstruck in 60 Seconds

Sydney Bristow of Alias is still one of my all-time favorite TV characters, and I’m pretty sure one day the CIA is going to recruit me for my keen powers of observation for a secret mission. It’s important to keep my skills sharp, so when waiting at airports I try to analyze which of my fellow travelers seem shifty and worthy of suspicion.

I was leaving NYC, feeling tired and content with my “Friends Forever” reunion tour of the East Coast. My perceptive eye noticed a man in a suit pacing frantically, unable to sit still, holding a duffel bag. If my TV training has taught me anything, it’s that you should keep an eye on the guy who is nervous to fly. But then, a group of guys stopped him to take a photo. And the guy sitting next to me made a Con Air joke. Then it all came together. This was Nicolas Cage. Nothing gets past me.

He was skinnier than I expected. His suit fit amazingly well. He was unnaturally tan for March, and his hair unnaturally black. He never sat down, and just paced without making eye contact, pausing occasionally to take a fan photo. When taking the photo, years of Hollywood training where apparent. He morphed in front of the camera into the confident man we expect to see riding flaming motorcycles or rescuing the Declaration of Independence, and then quickly melted back into the twitching, nervous man who didn’t seem to know what to do with his own hands. I snapped photos when he wasn’t looking, because I’m super cool like that.

Pacing the airport

Pacing the airport

Taking some fan photos

Taking some fan photos

As I boarded the plane, traffic up the aisle came to its typical stand-still. This time I was grateful for the delay as I found myself standing two rows ahead of Nicolas Cage’s first-class seat. He was uncharacteristically still, doing his best to stare straight ahead at the back of the seat in front of him, not seeming aware he was even in a crowd of people. This gave me freedom to stare at the one part of Nicolas Cage I was truly interested in: his hair. I’m pretty sure there is a Buzzfeed “Nicolas Cage Hair” quiz, and this was my chance to get the real answers. As traffic started to move up the aisle, and I found myself walking right by his seat, I just had to know. I had to get the full view. As I stepped past him, I paused, turned back, and leaned forward to get a direct view of the top of his head.

I sat back in my seat, and prepared myself for take-off.  We taxied away from the gate, only to be told we would be delayed a bit as we waited for deicing equipment. After an hour of sitting on the plane people were getting angry, so drinks were served. Two hours on the plane, and people were demanding to be let off. We were told this wasn’t an option, so food was provided. Celebrities, they’re just like us! They get trapped on a plane waiting for deicing equipment at JFK only to be pacified by free drinks and food! Three hours on the plane and I took a sleeping pill and knocked myself out. We sat on that plane for 4 hours before taking off. This was a horrific airline experience. But I am happy I was on that flight, because when I turned around and took a good hard look at Nicolas Cage’s head, I saw hair, and not the scalp I had imagined. A true hair loss success story! Plus, he smelled fantastic. I’m sure the CIA appreciated my report.

The Fast and the Fearless: Saigon Drift

I have limited mobility in the thumb on my left hand. I may never win a left-handed thumb war again. And I feel pain every time I send a text message. But, I guess no one leaves Vietnam unscathed.

Our first observation of Ho Chi Minh City was the traffic, and the shocking number of scooters filling the streets. Everyone rode them, mothers with children, men in business suits, couples who appeared to be on dates with the young lady riding side-saddle on the back in her skirt and heels, not breaking a sweat in the stifling heat. I watched from the street corner, mesmerized, sweating through my shirt.

Scooters everywhere

Scooters everywhere

Scooters and cars weave and intertwine down the teeming streets inches from each other performing death-defying maneuvers at each intersection. The never-ending river of traffic flows effortlessly, without any accidents or hold ups or pausing for pedestrians. Crossing the street in Vietnam is one of my greatest accomplishments. It’s like playing real life Frogger. The trick is to stand next to a Vietnamese person and go when they go. We got some odd looks when using this method, but that is probably because we chanted “When they go, we go” as we were crossing. One of the toughest things I’ve ever seen was a little old lady who didn’t bother to look, didn’t even pause, but just stepped into traffic with her upheld palm facing the oncoming vehicles. It was as if she parted the sea and walked through on dry ground. Like a boss.

When Maren first announced “We should rent scooters!” and Christy agreed, I did everything to hide the fearful “Not a chance” look on my face and instead gave a smile and a “Yay! That would be fun!”. No one is ever going to accuse me of not being up for adventure. We started to shop around the various rental companies lining the streets and I just felt dread in my stomach. We settled on a place where the lady in charge, our future tour guide, seemed just pushy enough and spoke great English. She informed us that she would only rent to us if we passed a driving test, and told us to follow her.

She took us out to the busy main street next to the shop. The loud traffic made her 30 second course on how to operate the scooter difficult to hear. For some reason, she chose me to be up first. My hands were shaking as she gave me a helmet, pointed to a scooter, and told me to take a trip around the block. As I sat on the bike, I tried to ignore the scooters and cars whizzing by in my peripheral vision. I told myself to calm down, I could do this, and I slowly turned the handle to move forward. Nothing happened, so I sighed, and turned harder, much too hard as it turns out. The bike leaped forward, directly into the steady flow of vehicles next to me. I panicked and did the one thing you shouldn’t do, I grabbed the hand brake, causing me to fly forward and the bike to fall over. Somehow I managed to keep hold of the handle bar, and I just repeated over and over in my mind, stay on top of the bike, stay on top of the bike. I performed the greatest Superman of all time as the bike and I slide along the asphalt into the busy street.

As soon as I came to a rest, my only thought was to get out of there; I was going to be run over and killed.  I immediately jumped up and ran back, only to see the horrified faces behind me. As Christy and Maren ran to my aid, our tour guide said, “Maybe we should do the test drives in the park across the street”. I stared at her dumbfounded “THAT WAS AN OPTION?”

As Maren and Christy easily proved their ability to drive a scooter around the calm test drive in the park, I reviewed my injuries. One ripped shirt, bruise on my shoulder and across my stomach from the handle bars, large goose egg on my knee and road rash on my ankle. Small cuts and bruises on the rest of my legs and arms. It could have been much worse. To prove I wasn’t a complete moron, I successfully completed the park test drive and was given the thumbs up by our tour guide. But, as I drove the scooter for the second time, my entire body shook. I knew I couldn’t ride a scooter back in that traffic, let alone be on it all day. Tour guide to the rescue, she allowed me to ride on the back of her scooter while Christy and Maren followed behind.

The aftermath in the park. I fixed my shirt using safety pins. Pretty punk rock.

The aftermath in the park. I fixed my shirt using safety pins. Pretty punk rock.

Sometimes blessings come in disguise. I was able to take our tour of the city in leisure, while our tour guide told me stories and explained the history of the buildings in between our stops. I was able to snap pictures and had a lovely, enjoyable day. Meanwhile, Christy and Maren almost died on several occasions as they tried to keep up with our tour guide’s scooter, praying for Jesus to take the wheel. At least neither of them ever fell, although Maren did almost kill a group of old ladies when she attempted to run them over.

My only lingering injury is the one that I didn’t notice immediately, my limited-use thumb. Every time I feel a twinge of pain, I’m reminded of a very important lesson. Never be the first victim.