(Here's another new theme I'm kicking off here on the blog, similar to retroblogging. This one will be known as "story time." You get the idea. Might be real, might be fake, but most likely, its the former. And for these first few ones I have in mind, they're most likely an adaptation of an email or IM conversation I've had recently. You'll know its story time, because it will start with "It is now time to talk about...", which happens to be my favorite way to start any story. Enjoy.)
It is now time to talk about the hallucinations.
I'm on a malaria medication whilst here in Africa, you don't need it for most of South Africa (except Kruger park, where it is carried prolifically by the M.O.U.S.'s, or Mosquitos of Unusual Size, as they are known here. Seriously, Brian and I saw one eating a bee. A BEE.). Anyway, you do need it for much of the rest of Africa, like Kenya, and Zambia, both of which I've spent time in recently and still have to blog about.
So, the medication. First off let's point out that it won't prevent you from getting malaria. Only copius amounts of deet and running faster than the bugs can fly will do that. So there's that. It does lessen the effects of the disease, if you get it, which some locals argue might take you longer to realize you actually have it, which is detrimental, if you don't get to the doc sooner rather than later, to get tested and treated if in fact you do have it.
But everybody takes it, so, whatever. Basically there's two types, the once-a-week-you-might-have-hallucinations-type or the once-daily-other-probably-less-noticeable-side-effects-one (no hallucinations with that one). Shakespeare said "Know thyself," (although I once had a friend try to tell me it came from the Bible), and, well, having my horrible memory, taking a pill every day for a month and a half just isn't going to happen. I'm lucky enough to remember to take the thing once a week. Well, no, I'm not even that lucky, as you'll see shortly. Maybe its because there's no such thing as luck.
Early on, however, this malaria med had not been too hard to remember, because every Saturday night was hallucination night! Yay. Pass the popcorn. The first time I was supposed to take it before leaving for my London / Nairobi trip, both of which I've spent time in recently and still have to blog about. But I forgot. So I found myself debating whether or not to take it on the flight up to London (an overnight flight), but I very smartly didn't. Having my first dose at 37,000 feet over western Africa probably would have ended not very well, and by "not very well" I mean "in a London prison."
The first one in London actually wasn't that exciting. I was exhausted from the trip and my first day in London, so a couple of vodka cranberries and the pill and I was out for the night. There may have been some minor Mary Poppins related stuff (the animated part, in particular, also Dick Van Dyke dancing in that stupid outfit) in my dreams, but that's about it. Pretty tame.
The next week I was back in SA, after the brief trip to Kenya, and there were some pretty intense thunderstorms. And by "pretty intense" I mean "the worst I've ever heard in my life." Put the midwest ones I heard as a kid to shame. That was, suffice to say, a long night. I probably had about 60 dreams of nuclear holocaust, most of them beginning with me fleeing a glowing, flattened Manhattan in the background as my skin started to fall off.
The following week, I'm happy to report, was much worse, however, because it was just windy, and I had left the kitchen windows open. That's not so bad. Unless the kitchen windows have those thin-metal blinds, and the wind keeps banging them around all night long. And you're living in a country that has bars on all the doors and windows and you're inside a complex with a security guard and walls and electric fences at the top of the walls, and you regularly hear stories of break-ins and robberies and hi-jackings and whatnot. So that night I was up at least 3-4 times, in my shorts, ready to kill the non-existant-villans who were breaking in, with my flashlight, before I figured out that it was the wind. Each time, lights on in the whole place, search it for bad guys, ready for them to pop out of every closet, and then somehow I turn off the lights and go back to bed without thinking to close the window. I wasn't thinking very clearly.
Then, the 4th week, no weather, I figure I'm set. No nuclear bombs going off nearby because the weather is nice out, no people breaking in because the kitchen window is now closed, I'm going to finally have some more peaceful hallucinations.
No, instead, I get scorpions shooting across the floor. I had forgotton about the insect / spider problem here - they're bigger and they're more a part of everyday life, shall we say. So that's what the brain went with that night. Took me a while to get from the couch to bed, where I slept on top of the covers.
I've learned that London was the best idea. Now I won't have this pill with less than a little wine in me first, so I know I'm gonna crash immediately.
Last week wasn't too bad, nothing that I particularly remembered the next morning, although I was due for another one this past weekend and I've forgotten it for 3 straight nights now, so tonight is the night.
Not sure why I couldn't get the fun trippy mushroom hallucinations - not that I'd know what they're like - but I'd imagine recreational drugs make you see happier things. I certainly don't see happy things. Mine seem to be mainly related to stuff that you should naturally have a healthy fear of: anger-of-God thunderstorms (and/or nuclear war), break-ins, and the pervasive spider problem. Apparently, though, after I deal with it the first time, I'm fairly certain my brain can cancel it out for next time, seeing as I haven't had any repetition.
Maybe tonight I'll get ones about having to write a deliverable about a subject I have no experience on. Because there's been some of *that* going on lately, too.
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"If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world."