Tuesday, November 30, 2004


My friend Mary Alice called me today all the way from Peru and chewed me out. Not really chewed... she just wanted to see if I was dead or not. No... I'm not really dead... just distracted.

"Well, the last time you dropped off the face of the earth I found out you were in the hospital and so it scares me when I don't hear from you."

"Nope. Healthy as a goat. But I guess that I've been playing ostrich here at the JAC a bit too much in the last month. Sorry."

"Sorry! That won't do it. You're such an asshole!" I could hear exasperated noises through the phone. Now, you've got to realize that this woman is way the hell down in a little crappy Peruvian village about a mile above the frost line near Cusco, playing Doctors Without Borders with a bunch of midgets in multicolored tarps. Actually, she's a very talented pediatric surgeon who is down there doing god knows what... anyhow, why she's concerned about me I don't know.

"Listen... what's going on? Your mom is taking care of your dog. Katie is fine. I'm just being the usual workaholic Bob and I haven't called. I'm sorry." I could hear her snuffling and sniveling over the phone. Fortunately, the video part of the damned phone isn't working. Women have such great guilt weapons. A few tears will do it every time.

"I'm just tired and worried about you. "

"Well, don't be. I worry too. I'll go over to New Smyrna this weekend and get some pictures of the Main Mutt and send them to you via the trusty internet."

"It's broke. My helper dropped the laptop when we moved and nothing works around here."

"Well, I'll send you snail mail pictures. How's that?"

"You're a nice guy when you're not being an asshole."

"You say the nicest things."

Then her battery quit. Cell phone service in South America is usually pretty good. The drug business supports an exotic intrastructure, but charging the metal batteries in the phones with unmodulated power converters destroys the life of the batteries. Well, damn.

I dread spending the day with the unofficial mom in law. She blames me for not stopping her daughter from going to Peru. Everybody seems to find at least one reason to pull the wings off my flies. I miss the dog too. And her mistress.