AUTHOR’S NOTE: The only reason Sheena let me publish this article was for the hope that it may help future travelers overcome…their issues.
Sitting in Nacho one evening in San Miguel de Allende, Sheena looked over at me with wanting eyes. Almost immediately I knew it was a trap.
“Bradley?” She said, sounding so sweet. “Will you do me a really big favor?” I knew I couldn’t say no. When your spouse is ill, it doesn’t matter that you’ve retired to your easy chair for the night with a Steinbeck novel and a good beer. No, it doesn’t matter if your whole body feels like Jell-O from your 15 minute hot shower, or that you’re already wearing your pajamas. For the last few weeks Sheena had been feeling unwell, and after adjusting her diet had failed to deliver results, I knew she was ready to pull out the big guns.
“Does it involve going to the pharmacy?”
These things, like pulling teeth, are best done quickly before your body has a chance to object. I grabbed my hooded sweatshirt and canvas moccasins, opened the sliding door, and headed out of the campground. I was halfway to the pharmacy before I looked down and realized what I looked like; a black hooded sweatshirt, matching oversized black sweatpants, and canvas moccasins without socks. Being that they were my pajamas, and hence never having been worn with shoes, I had never noticed the nerdy way in which the bottoms of my sweatpants didn’t quite reach my shoes. Instead the leg holes swung like hula hoops around my white, sockless ankles.
I made my way, self-consciously through the passersby on their way to dinner on this, a Saturday night. I’ve heard that the French secretly make fun of Americans for the subset of our population that thinks it’s okay to be seen in public wearing full sweatsuits. Shame on us for giving the French a reason to laugh at us. When I see this atrocity, even I turn my nose up in disgust. And how many times have I posted snide comments on Twitter about Scottsdale women and their bad habit of wearing matching sweatsuits in public? Apparently twice.
I made my way down our street, across Calle Zacateros, to the Pharmacy. I hadn’t really thought through how I would approach the interaction, so it went down like a train wreck. I stormed in the front door and found the young female pharmacist staring down at the counter in a kind of trance.
“I need an enema.”
She looked up at me, startled. She didn’t say anything, her eyes gave away her uncertainty laced with fear. She didn’t blink. I wanted to turn and run, but I remembered Sheena’s poor little eyes looking up at me. …a really big favor?
“Um…do you have any of them here…for sale?”
“No.” She must have been mesmerized by my matching sweatsuit. “They sell them at Farmacia Guadalajara. It’s down the road.” As I left I could almost feel her thumbs on her phone keypad, texting all of her friends.
The town’s main street was crowded with couples dressed to the nines heading out for dinner, old ladies crouched over going wherever it is that old ladies go, and assorted laborers making their way home after a hard day’s work. Beyond all of these judging eyes, Farmacia Guadalajara.
I bobbed and weaved through the foot traffic, my matching sweatsuit grazing the odd hand or old lady cane. Straight ahead, Dilshan stood in front of his restaurant talking to Greg, our waiter from the night before. When he saw me, Dilshan stopped and stared, mouth slightly ajar. As I approached, he looked at my matching suit in disbelief, and then recovered.
“Heeeeey…you’re back in town?”
“Yeah…uh…our car is still broken down. I’m going to the pharmacy. You know, Sheena’s feeling ill.” For a minute I thought he’d suggest that we stop by for dinner again, but then I remembered he had a reputation to uphold.
“I hope it wasn’t from my food!”
I assured him that it wasn’t, and dismissed myself with a handshake. I turned to Greg and shook his hand, only to realize that it wasn’t Greg at all, but a complete stranger. It was that moment of horror that we’ve all felt. Oh, you!? I didn’t mean that YOU were pregnant! Been there.
Once inside Farmacia Guadalajara, I made my way to the back where another young female pharmacist waited. As she handed me the enema kit her eyes said feel better, while also saying you look like a clown. I picked up two packs of chocolate and headed to the checkout counter. It’s just something you do when buying a product like this. Chocolate seems to lessen the blow, as if to say, “yeah, I came to buy this chocolate, but these caught my eye, so I decided to casually buy them too.”
There must have been something magical in that chocolate, as Sheena was feeling like a million bucks the next day. Silverio and Mario returned to our campsite and fixed Nacho once and for all with new rear driver’s side wheel bearings, and we were ready to rock. One more night in San Miguel de Allende and we were poised to hit the road to Oaxaca, near where Nacho Libre was filmed. A place where people are used to seeing Americans dressed up in funny suits. What would the French think? Oh, let’s stop kidding ourselves. Since when have we ever cared what the French think?