I walk my dog a lot. It’s great exercise and since I’m constantly reading about how I’m going to die earlier rather than later or suffer from excess belly fat and lethargy if I don’t stay fit, I have decided to hedge my bets. I’m not convinced my dog is happy about this. I motor along at the speed of sound which is not conducive to letting him sniff every blade of grass or peeing 112 times in 45 minutes. It is far from a leisurely stroll but there are only so many hours in a day and I’m a profuse multi-tasker.
So the other day as I was race-walking along with my possibly pissed off dog , basking in the glory of the magnificent, powerful Northern California coastline when something caught my eye. It was a sign placed just above a rocky cliff that dropped off into the roiling, crashing waves of the Pacific. I have sped by it a zillion times before but never actually stopped to read it. For some reason, at that very moment, I thought it proper to take the time to give it a closer look. After all, someone took the time to put it there and maybe it’s something I need to know.
Hmmm. Better read further because danger sounds pretty dangerous to me.
“The coastline is naturally dynamic….”
Oh. My. God. Really?!
“Crashing waves and crumbling cliffs….”
Okay, I can see that. It’s right in front of me and therefore, by default, obvious, right?
“Rocks are slippery…’
Yes, they certainly are! They’re covered with green, slippery moss and slimy kelp and seaweed.
I read on….
blah, blah, blah something-something about “waves sweeping people off their feet”… yadda, yadda…”swept out to sea”…
And I start to go all cynical and laugh out loud at the absurdity of the warning. But then I remembered the importance of warnings. I mean, how else is one supposed to know they need to “STOP and remove frozen dinner from package” before placing it in the microwave? Or that you shouldn’t attempt to drive a back-hoe after taking a sleeping pill? Warnings are important, folks! Im-port-ant!
But what about dangers for which there are no warning signs?
Like the unexpected ingestion of a flying insect?
Yeah, it sounds gnarly. I can assure you it is.
But it happens.
And it happened to me.
Just after I read the coastal warning. It was cosmic payback, I’m convinced.
It was also shocking and disgusting. Not to mention humiliating. It happened in front of a busload of Korean tourists. Perhaps they have a cultural aversion to seeing an otherwise respectable-looking woman hacking and spitting in public because they were clearly horrified. Mothers grabbed their children and fled for the safety of the tour bus. Men covered their eyes, turned away jabbering in a language I couldn’t understand but the tone was unmistakable disgust.
Doesn’t look like you can count on a Korean to come to your aid when you’re hacking up a foreign object. Maybe the Heimlich is strictly an American thing? I don’t know but whatever the reason, don’t count on them in an emergency. That’s all I’m sayin’.
So I was on my own. I had to rid my mouth of this winged interloper before it went any further….which it did.
I just had to, you know, swallow.
There! I said it. I ate a bug with wings, okay?
The remainder of my walk-of-shame was spent looking at the ground, the brim of my baseball call pulled down on my forehead like a quasi-windshield.
And I altered my breathing.
In through the nose, out through the mouth, NOT the other way around. What was I thinking? Did I learn nothing in Bikram yoga?
IN through the nose. OUT through the mouth. IN through the nose. OUT through the mouth.
No need to thank me. Just don’t speed walk with your mouth open.