Sunday, January 3, 2010

January 3, 2010

I was in Ecuador. I was at the Plaza San Francisco in Quito. Quito is the nation's capital. They celebrated their bicentennial last year when I was in town.

My grandfather, Jay Allen, had gifted me a pocket knife before leaving for Ecuador. He said that even though he had dozens of pocket knives, he hadn't carried one in his life. Later I'll tell you the story of him carrying one through the airport with my Uncle, Jay Dee Allen. Because it had never been carried, much less used, the knife was extremely sharp.

Sitting in the Plaza San Francisco, I decided to clean my feet. They had street gunk in them, and it was time to address the situation. I would be showering soon at the Hostal Residencial Sucre, whose corner overlooks the Plaza. I will be telling you hundreds of stories about that place soon.

I aimed to take care of some big stuff and then finish with a cold shower. Cold showers were all I had been offered to this point. I had yet to explore and find the warm shower. I'll tell you about that sometime, too. I took out my grandfather's knife. He had given my brother and I our choice from a shoebox that he had in his room. The one that I chose was fake bone. The blade was about eight centimeters long.

I opened the knife with my fingernail. I don't like to do this. I went at my left big toe with the knife. The point was down and the blade out. I stuck it in between the outer rim of my toenail. The blade, being as sharp as it was, cut right through my skin. I started dripping blood onto my sandal. The sandal was a white one called Habaiana, a company from Brazil. The white surface did a terrible job hiding the blood.

I decided to go ahead and think about that shower a little more seriously. I walked across the Plaza and entered the Hostal. There was written on the brown door the words, 'God is love,' in English. This is worth noting because there is quite a bit more Spanish and Kichwa spoken in Ecuador. I went to my room, prepared to shower, and showered.

The next morning, I walked to get a carrot juice. I stood next to a woman of probably 90 years whose height approached one meter. She and I slammed our carrot pints. I returned to the Hostal to decide on my daily activities.

As I returned, I looked at my foot. It was already clearly infected. I wondered how much and what types of gunk had entered the wound. I wondered if my usual approach, nothing, would suffice in keeping this thing manageable. I decided probably not. I had seen enough people vomit and piss on the street to know that there was some real grade A scum in the cracks and gutters of the street.

I used the Neosporin that my parents gave me for just this type of issue. I applied the stuff to my wound over the next few days, and struggled to keep the damn thing clean. Soon enough, it looked okay. By that time, I had forgotten it was even ever a consideration.

Months later, I would be robbed by a Colombian shithead. I will discuss that sometime. When he robbed me, he was very uncreative and unselective. He stole my whole backpack. Inside of that backpack, amongst the other things, was the knife that I used to infect my foot. Regardless of our history together, me and that knife, I miss the little jerk.

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