Today, I woke up covered with little red bumps. I had assumed that if anything bit me on this trip, it would happen in southeast Asia. But it transpired in a family friend’s million-dollar+ apartment, while I was cuddling with a velvety 2,000-thread-count blanket. The road is full of surprises…little biting surprises.
Bed bugs! A timely issue, given the current infestation in New York City. I now sympathize with Jack Donaghy of 30-Rock: the CEO diagnosed as a bed-bug carrier. He refuted, “I can’t have bed bugs. I went to Princeton.” Sarah’s mind works the same way. When I informed her of my situation, she answered, “You can’t have bed bugs. You went to UPenn.”
I’m afraid to wind up like Jack, who lost his friends and his driver and wound up having to take the metro. There he confessed, “My name is Jack Donaghy, and I have bed bugs.” Homeless men inched away.
I felt like a pariah just yesterday, when I indulged in my first pedicure since leaving Manhattan. The salon staff interrogated me.
Owner Isabella: “Why are there spikes in your foot?”
Me: “Probably from the Italian sea urchin. Sorry, I thought I got all the spikes out.”
Pedicurist Antonia: “Why is your toe blue?”
Me: “A horse stepped on my foot.”
[Wary silence. I suspect that they were calculating whether a crazy person – which I appeared to be – would pay the bill.]
Of course, I am in Madrid and I do not speak Spanish, so this conversation was translated by my embarrassed godmother. It reminded me of the unusual conversations in Ms. Swan’s Gorgeous Pretty Beauty Nail salon. Long live the maladroit.