How can I describe literally the most unbelievable doctor’s appointment I have ever had? I want to draw you a picture of Alice falling down a rabbit hole into Wonderland, but instead of finding the Mad Hatter she finds a crazy, anti-communist doctor who oddly resembles Albert Einstein.
In order to finish the paperwork for my visa (which I’m beginning to think is actually just a hoax run by people with a sick fascination for watching others run through bureaucratic mazes like lab rats) I needed to get cleared by a doctor. Just a quick visit to make sure I wasn’t radiating nuclear waste or coughing up organs.
The doctor, pre-approved by the school where I’ll be working, has a home office – that is to say, his office is in the basement of a large relic of a house on top of a hill. The basement.
With a twinkle in his eye and a broom in his hand, Jerry leaned in and imparted to me words I may never forget.
“You know, Mary, you only need two things to run a Vacation Bible School: the Bible and water balloons.”
When I think about this last week a number of mental images come to mind. Most of them involve the sound of herding cats through prickly pear cactuses or re-written scenes from a Poe novel where helpless Americans are bricked into a wall using cotton balls, glue and paper-mache butterflies. Something about that age difference really put a barrier between our attempts at international relations long about two o’clock every day. I just don’t have as much energy as I used to. Even sweeping up the hallway with Jerry in the aftermath of the last day I could feel places in my back decaying with the swiftness of a wheel chair rolling down a hill in San Francisco without brakes.
Trail marker near the top of a mountain that took forever to climb.
Most people seem to know that I tend to get lost. I’m not going to blame Google maps, but I refuse to be the bigger person and say that it’s all my fault. Anyone can miss a turn and wind up alone on streets that are probably owned by Mexican drug lords or find themselves driving backwards into a Drive-Thru. Life happens. And when it happens to me I have always called my Dad. It’s like the first thing I do.
But long-distance calls from Prague are expensive, I’m told. So I have been doing a lot of getting lost and staying lost for a very long time.
There’s basically no feeling worse in the entire world, I promise.
But while Prague’s antiquated street signs could be a little less confusing, hiking trails in the Czech Republic are amazing. There is an intricate pattern of routes through mountains, meadows and little villages that all look like the one in the opening scene of Beauty and the Beast. Each path is marked by a different color and each color is painted in between two white stripes on trees or rocks or other very obvious markers. Follow the colors, find your way home. Very easy.
Unless you’re colorblind.