Second Thoughts: A way with worryMy sister has a theory that the things you worry about never happen. As her thinking goes, the way to prevent a tragedy is to worry like crazy about it.
By: Judy Wiff, Regional Editor, River Falls Journal
My sister has a theory that the things you worry about never happen. As her thinking goes, the way to prevent a tragedy is to worry like crazy about it.
After our trip to Mexico, I nearly see the wisdom of her reasoning.
Roger and I have traveled to Mazatlan, staying at the same little beachside hotel and enjoying the cuisine of a slew of little restaurants, every year for at least a decade now.
We’d never felt any danger. But last year two men were shot down in a drug-trafficking incident across the one-lane street from where I had bought a turquoise ring just days earlier.
To say we wavered about going back is putting it mildly. We WORRIED.
It wasn’t until December that we made our reservations, joking about how to practice throwing ourselves flat on the ground if we heard gunshots.
But by the time our taxi dropped us off at the Emporio Jan. 27, we realized that worry was wasted. Or by my sister’s reckoning, we had warded off the danger.
The city was as it always is — warm, friendly, serene. The loudest noise was the sound of the waves crashing on the beach or the band playing at the restaurant on the corner.
But we had forgotten our preventative worry about illnesses.
In all the years we’ve gone to Mazatlan, neither of us has had more than a couple of mosquito bites.
This year late on our third night there, my husband was sick. By mid-morning he was exhausted. By afternoon he was running a fever.
The next morning I asked our friend Jacquie, a retired nurse from Canada, about taking him to a clinic.
“You don’t have to do that,” she said. “The hotel has a doctor on call. He’ll come here. Just ask the head waiter.”
A quick word to the waiter, and a doctor, three attendants and a wheelchair showed up at our door ahead of the breakfast we’d just ordered.
Minutes later, an ambulance deposited us all at Clinica Loma, actually a small hospital. Roger was started on a 28-hour course of IV fluids and antibiotics.
“It could have been the fresh salsa,” said the doctor.
“The fish,” suggested my husband.
“The water,” I said.
Ensconced in a lovely blue private room, poor Roger pined for the beach.
“No reason to ruin your vacation too,” said my devoted husband, who went from aching all over, to being too uncomfortable to sleep, to being bored witless.
So I did what any loving wife would have done: Gave the nurse my cell phone number and walked back to the hotel.
After I assured the staff that whatever bug Roger had swallowed had been eaten somewhere else, I had a nice lunch and walked on the beach.
But my worries weren’t over. The beach is sprinkled with peddlers. Usually I do not make eye contact. Except — this one guy had the cutest bracelets.
We bartered, finally agreeing on a price. Somewhere in the discussion I mentioned that my husband was in the hospital. Mistake, I thought.
The vendor followed me back to my hotel so I could run up to my room for the payment. As we closed our deal, he held out his hand and introduced himself as “Chicken.”
Automatically I told him my name.
Whoops, big mistake.
But, I thought, though he knows my hotel, my first name and that I’m alone, he doesn’t know my room number.
Back upstairs a few minutes later, I heard my name called through our third-floor room’s open balcony door.
“Judy. Judy, where are you? I will sing to you,” called a man with an accent from the courtyard. Then a short song in words I didn’t understand.
I didn’t go to the balcony. I didn’t touch the lights. I left the room by the inside door, headed to the front of the hotel, went down the elevator and left through the lobby to go back to the hospital.
A couple of hours later, dusk by now, I was back in my room preparing for a solitary supper when I heard the same man’s voice calling me from the courtyard.
Decision time. I could either wimp out and call for room service, or I could face my fears head-on and go through the courtyard to the restaurant.
I went down, again taking the elevator through the lobby and walking through the now-empty courtyard. I enjoyed penne pasta with a quattro formaggi sauce, signed the check, went back to my room and put on pajamas.
The phone rang.
“Judy?” asked the man with the accent.
“Yes?” I wavered.
“It’s Joe,” he said. It was Jacquie’s husband, a native Brit who mixes a heavy English accent with an equally heavy Canadian accent.
“I called your name from the pool twice, but you must have been out,” he said.
“I tried serenading you with an Italian aria,” he laughed.
While he and his wife knew which side my room was on, they didn’t know which it was. In the end, they asked a waiter, who said I’d just been down for dinner and looked up my number on the computer.
I joined them in the courtyard for a drink. By the time Joe suggested we wander over to visit Roger in the hospital, it was after 9 p.m.
“He’s probably sleeping,” I said.
Silently I worried that we’d probably be hit by at least two cars while trying to cross the street. But, of course, that didn’t happen.