"The warning that I've received, and you may take this with however many grains of salt you wish, that the brown acid that is circulating around this... is not, specifically, too good. Uh... it's suggested that you do stay away from that. Of course, it's your own trip, so by my guest, but uh... please be advised that there is a warning on that one, okay?" -- announcement during the second day of Woodstock, 1969
Is there anybody out there...?
Well, the last day in what the Spanish jokingly called "the fertile valleys" was kind of a blur. I was pretty sick, and it seemed like an acid trip from the 1960s. This is actually spanning two days, but because of time zones and lack of sleep, it was more like two days that ran as one.
I got some of my voice back in the morning, but it was a low and horse croak. I definitely had a high fever, but we had some generic Dayquil-like stuff with us, so I took that, and that sustained me for most of the day. CR got up early to swim with Sean and Lou, and Christine tried to get a late check-out. Our plane did not leave until 11:59pm that night, so we had a lot of time to kill. But the Luxor was already booked solid for the weekend, so we had to vamoose out of there by 11am. Crap.
We packed up, and decided that we were going to spend most of the day around the Luxor until about 7pm, and then head on over to the airport. Christine played BJ Blitz for the better part of an hour while CR and I did some people watching in the main area with the fountains and the huge statues. Sean and Lou (in my feverish state, they have become like one word, "Shawnandloo," which sounded like an Algonquin word for something) went out hiking around the strip. I really wanted to do that too, but I was so tired and sick, I feared I'd collapse or flip out or something. Parts of me were becoming delirious, and I knew that, so I tried to stay low-key so I wouldn't do something I'd later slap my face in complete embarrassment over (and you know Sean would just egg me on). I have done that when I am totally deprived of sleep, of had a really high fever. I kept thinking, "Fuck, I am in the desert; I'll see the Lizard King, swear cactuses are talking to me, and some Navajo River Goddess with black holes for eyes will convince me to eat peyote and write songs about killing my parents until they find me dead in a bathtub. Oliver Stone directs." Later, to kill time, we spent some time watching the Luxor 3D movies. We saw "Pirates in 4-D: Starring Leslie Nielsen and Eric Idle," and that was so bad, I don't even want to go into it. Just imagine if the people who did those bad old 1960's Pippi Longstocking films tried to do a parody of 3-D film making. Remember Count Floyd on SCTV? And his 3-D schtick? Yeah. But this film wasn't trying to make fun of itself. Eric? Your career just called. Monty Python says its sorry and wants you back. Anyway, Christine and CR saw some Haunted Mansion 3-D thing, and stayed outside, because I feared in my slightly feverish state, I might not take anything scary well. Well, they said that film was great, so I missed out. Instead, I got a chilled mocha drink (to try and reduce my fever), and ended up being the "buddy" of some old woman from Baltimore who just latched onto me. She was very obviously drunk, but was too nice to just brush off. I just wasn't in the mood. She insisted I was sad because I had lost a ton of money or something, and I didn't have the energy to argue. Later, I slipped away when she went to go get her friends, and met back up with Christine and CR. It was only 6pm, but we decided to go to the airport, anyway.
We got there, and they wouldn't let us check in until 8pm. Around this time, CR finally succumbed to the illness, and was so sick, he was shaking and crying. Nothing we could do but give him cold medicine. He had been feeling a bit off since the night before, but we hoped it would hold out until we got home. Usually when CR gets sick, he gets REALLY sick, because of his asthma. We tried to head off asthma at the pass, but he was still breathing pretty hard. Luckily, the medicine put him to sleep. He slept on the floor of the boarding area for a while, and after we gave him Dramamine, he slept through the flight.
We got home at 8:00am Eastern Time, and I had to go to an emergency clinic right away. It was a place recommended by our insurance, but was in a rather... depressed area of Herndon. It was in a run-down shopping center in a low income Hispanic part of town. But when you got inside, it was actually rather clean and professional. I was the only one there, and I got seen pretty quickly. Turns out I have tonsillitis. I've had it before, so this didn't really make me feel one way or another, which surprised the doctor, so he repeated it. I told him I got some ENT infection every year, and told him I had had tonsillitis, bronchitis, three kinds of pneumonia, two strains of strep, sinusitis, and a bunch of other similar illnesses since I was 12. He also tested me for diabetes, and I was glad to find out I do not have it yet (runs in the family). The doctor there was really nice, and gave me a whole lot of free anti-biotics he had lying around. I guess when a majority of your patients are poor, it's handy to be on the "free samples" list. Total cost was only $35 of a co-pay, a fraction of what Christine had to pay. After just one pill, a few hours later, I felt MUCH better, and everything from Wednesday onwards seemed like a kind of acid trip. Not that I have done acid. That I'll admit to, anyway.
When I got home, we slept. Most of Saturday was a blur. We unpacked, and I realized that Las Vegas airport must have gone through my luggage in fine detail (but they didn't with Christine's). They didn't break anything, but they didn't put anything back the way I had it, either. Part of this problem was I had a lot of breakable stuff wrapped up which they opened up and didn't repack. But since nothing broke, I can't really complain. I think my tribble, which warbles and shakes when you hit it, must have looked "odd" under an X-ray. I thought about this, and so actually removed the mechanism from the soft body, and used the tribble "skin" to wrap some shot glasses. Let the inspectors think the mechanism it's a sexual aid, I didn't care. But I am sure they wondered about it for a while. It's a small, white, domed object which kind of looks like a parmesan cheese shaker you find at pizzerias.
Insp1: Hey, Roy, look at this.
Insp2: How would you insert it?
Insp3: I dare you to turn it on.
Insp1: Okay. Hmmm. Did nothing.
Insp2: Maybe the batteries are dead.
Insp3: Shake it.
Insp1: YOU shake it!
Insp3: Oh, look a tribble skin. I've seen this before. That must be the mechanism. Slap it.
Insp2: Slap it?
Insp1: YOU slap it!
Insp3: It's just a toy, you big girl. [slaps it]
Mech1: [shaking] wrrrrble wrrrble wrrrrble wrrrble [stops shaking]
Insp1: That's weird.
Insp2: Why is it OUTSIDE the tribble?
Inps3: I don't even want to know. Look in the tribble skin, there's something there.
Insp1: Shot glasses?
Insp2: Okay, this is getting weird. You remember those stories from the emergency ward? About shot glasses?
Insp3: Roy, you are sick, man.
Insp1: Let's see what else we have in here...
and so on...
I wouldn't call my Vegas trip a "disaster," because when you take a look at everything that COULD have gone wrong, it didn't. United Airlines (the strain we took was called, "Ted"), despite their horrible reputation, never treated us rudely, nor did they lose our luggage. We never got stuck in layover hells, the hotel didn't treat us poorly, the room was nice, the Internet connection worked, I got to see the Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon, Penn and Teller (in person!), my friend Tracie get married, got to meet Adam, got a free Snort book, got a tribble, and Sean and Lou REALLY helped keep us from falling into despair.
Let me just separate that for a second. I really felt bad because I wanted to spend more time with Sean and Lou. But one of us was either too sick, or we were afraid we'd give them what we had. I think Sean wasn't feeling too well at the end, but he was doing his best with diet (lots of OJ) and exercise to stay well. He really took the edge off of being upset and kept me focused and in the real. He did this once before, too, with Imaginecon, back in 2000. He's really a good friend, and I was very glad he was there.
The whole family is sleeping this weekend off. It's over.
This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000519.html