Hi everybody. Welcome to Chapter 109. I’m going to call this chapter “Bugs,” and I’m going to dedicate it to my friend, Bugs.
Let’s start with my friend, Bugs. I’ve no idea how he got his name Bugs, but I think it’s slang for “crazy.” I think it’s French for crazy. Anyway, it fits. One of my fondest memories of him is at a ski resort in France. We were in vacation. We were skiing. He stopped at a fence called “Avalanche Area.” We stopped, looked at the fence. He lifted the fence, went under it and said, “Come on let’s go.” So like a young idiot, I followed him. Good skiing. I would follow this guy everywhere. One time we were windsurfing in Hawaii. He just took off towards the horizon. He said, “Come on let’s go.” We went out to open ocean. It’s kind of scary out there. Imagine a wave the size of a house rolling towards you. That’s what it’s like out there in the open ocean. Anyway, we went back to shore. So, you see what I’m getting at. Yeah, his name is Bugs.
I’ll tell you about the other thing I was saying was “Bugs” and that’s the insect Bugs. Man, there were a lot of those in Australia. That reminds me. I have to tell you guys one more story about my crazy friend. I was staying at his house and he asked me to help him plant a tree for his wife’s birthday. It was going to be a surprise. I said, “Yeah sure, no problem. Just wake me up when you want to get the tree.” Well, the tree was being delivered. I heard the sound of an 18 wheeler truck outside my window. I looked out and there was a gigantic tree on a flatbed. I looked at the plates. The guy was from Queensland, and it looked like the truck had been on the road 48 hours. I said to myself, “Man that tree is huge.” He came to my door and sheepishly he said, “The tree’s here.” We went out back and, oh this is the best part of the story. We went out back and the driver said to us, “Well, mate, your tree’s here. Where’s the crane to plant it.” My friend said, “Oy mate, that’s not the tree I ordered,” and he pulled out a photo to show the driver. I said, “Let me see the photo.” I said, “You ordered a tree from a photo? Did you have any indication how old the tree was? Look at what they’re wearing.” The farmer who had the tree was wearing clothes from the 1970’s. Anyway, my friend Bugs had to go up the street to a construction site and borrow a crane to plant the tree. The driver of the truck said, “I’m gonna turn the rig around. YOU AND YOUR SON (ha ha ha) can start digging a hole for it.” Anyway, we dug all day. We called all the people we knew to help dig a hole. We just missed a power line. We spent the whole day digging. They lifted the tree over some power lines and into the whole. We filled the whole up just in time for his wife to come home. My friend Bugs said, “Surprise! Happy Birthday!” Her reaction was, well, “Oh I love it Bugs, but isn’t it too big.” I exited stage left to the local pub.
Back to the creepy crawly bugs. I forgot to tell you, after we planted the tree, these huge spiders came out of the tree. I guess they wanted to check things out, but they were huge. Anyway, I just wanted to share that with you.
Another time that freaked me out was in Manly, Australia. It was a suburb of Sydney. Anyway, one of my friends took out a lease on a storefront property. The store used to be a butcher shop so it had some things in it that had to be sold off. One of these things was 4 foot by 8 foot mirrors. they were all along the wall and very valuable. Anyway, we had the construction workers slowly pry the mirrors from the wall. They slowly would lean them down to the ground. On the first mirror, they lowered the mirror down and it hit the light on the ceiling, the light was swinging back and forth. All of the shadows around us were moving. One of the construction workers stopped the light from swinging, but the shadows on the wall kept moving. One of the workers said, “What’s that all about mate? And he had a flashlight and he pointed it at the wall. The wall was filled with cockroaches and palmetto bugs. 4 feet by 8 feet and 2 inches thick. All the bugs freaked out and scattered. Now imagine this – Imagine, 4 big construction workers in shorts and high top boots wearing tank tops looking very macho, but screaming like old ladies and running off into the dark covered in bugs. I went to the pub.
My friend here who’s writing this for me said, “Oh at least it wasn’t spiders.” Then I thought, “Oh, I have a story about spiders.” I was on Heron Island with my first wife. We were ready to go to bed when I noticed a huge mulch huntsman spider on the wall.
Well, I threw my shoe at it. It looked at me and ran into the air conditioner. I said, “Well, I’m gonna take care of this guy.” I called the front desk. They gave me a can of insect killer which I promptly sprayed into the air conditioner. Well, the spider came out and looked at me like “You bastard, you just sprayed me.” I sprayed him again. He looked at me and just ran back into the air conditioner. I thought, “You little shit, I’m gonna get you now.” So I sprayed the whole can into the air conditioner. Well, he came out, his friend came out , his other friend came out. The whole family came out. The whole room was filled with hunstman spiders. I ran out of shoes. I changed rooms, needless to say.
Oh man, I could go on and on about stories of insects. I was a little scared of them. You know, things would happen like, you would put on your wet suit to go windsurf and after you put the wet suit on you’d feel some bugs crawling between your skin and the suit. Or you would go to sleep and just as you’re drifting off to sleep you’d hear a big cockroach walk across the floor. One time I opened my cupboard door in the kitchen and it looked like I brokeup a party or something. All these palmetto bugs just looked at me. Like I said, I could go on and on, but I promised you, in the teaser, I’d talk about a topless girl.
Well, I was on an editorial job in Martha’s Vineyard. The fog rolled in for like a week so the editor decided to relocate to New Mexico. Anyway, we used up all our money on tickets. We had no money left for locations so we did all our photos in places like the hotel parking lot, your local truck stop. That would have been fun except all of our photos were about skin, naked skin. Yup, the girl had to be topless in all the photos, so imagine this – Imagine a family rolling into a hotel parking lot and there’s a naked girl standing there. I can hear now, the son going, “Look dad, what’s with the naked girl?” And the mom saying, “Don’t look at that.” Or we were at a truck stop once and there was an old picnic table covered in really cool weathered wood. I told the girl to lie there. so all the truckers saw a naked girl lying on the table. Just another day. The best part of the trip, I think I mentioned before was the editor trying to tell a priest it’s OK if a naked girl leans against the church. I could hear her say, “But she’s god’s creation.” Never a dull moment.
Enough of the stories. This week has been tough for me because it’s so humid and hot. When you have a traumatic brain injury, some things will really affect you. For example, humidity really affects me. It’s hard to describe, but you know how you feel when it’s humid. Well, increase that times 100. It’s not fun. I did wake up this morning and had a moment of absolute clarity. It was weird. I was looking at my pool table and I thought, well, I’m just gonna stand up, walk over there and play a game. It was a good feeling, but it only lasted a second. Maybe it’s a beginning of a pattern. Who knows. The other cool thing was I walk even more fluidly with my Up & Go walker. I was really tired, but the motion of my movements was more fluid. I guess over all, things are getting better. I had a friend over the other day. She was an art director I used to work for. I haven’t seen her for about a year now. She noticed a big difference between now and last year. Pretty cool. It’s good to get feedback from friends. Kind of like a pat on the back. She’s helping me with the launch of my big trip. Here’s the link. And keep checking back for updates.
Anyway, that’s about it for this week. I hope you guys have a good week. You know, I think there’s some more info at www.helpbriannice.com – like my surgeon and the good hospital I went to. Someone emailed me and asked for some more info. Anyway, I hope it helps. I’ll talk to you guys next week. Love, B. Nice