One of the other disadvantages of being a Nurse-much like being a police officer or paramedic-, is that no matter where you travel, on holiday or business; home or away; first class or cattle class: you always notice the crazies.
And they always notice you back.
They invariably have a dog. A weird dog. Usually a mongrel. But a special mongrel, one of a ‘superbreed’ that the crazy person has developed all by himself…..a ‘new’ or ‘improved’ breed that he hopes will corner some ,as yet unspecified, money-making market…..perhaps a new drugs-sniffing dog…perhaps a new type of sheepdog.
The fact that the dog isn’t wagging its tail and pointing to his bag, thus clearly demonstrating its lack of any ability to actually sniff out drugs, rather passes him by.
The dog is usually , simultaneously , happy and vicious, due mainly to its socialization .
Now I don’t personally like dogs as pets. Indeed, I don’t even like them as lunch.
But if I was the head of the SPCA-or its Canadian equivalent-, I think that it would be mandatory that any one, who wants to own a dog, if they are under 65 years of age, should have a full set of teeth.
No teeth, no dog.
This will protect the dogs.
And of course there are the other, more subtle signs of crazy people:-they invariably travel as couples; one will always look like s/he has been through a famine, whilst the other will look like s/he caused it; they will always have a disproportionate amount of plastic carrier bags, often pushing a supermarket trolley; they will always be inappropriately dressed, usually wearing an overcoat in summer, and of course, not wearing an overcoat in winter.
They will frequently be seen at flea markets selling ‘dog tags’ or bunches of dead flowers or tickets to last nights concert; they will be smoking roll-ups; and you will frequently hear the clink of glass, followed by a satisfied licking-of-lips.
And of course, they will start begging at some time in their interaction with you.
And so, there I was last night, sitting outside a Tim Horton’s shop- (a Canadian chain of coffee-and-donut shops) (great coffee)-in downtown Armpit, sipping my Extra-large cup of French Vanilla coffee, and nibbling on a walnut and chocolate claw (don’t ask!!).
It was dusk; I had just been to the library and was just sitting down, doing some people watching.
It seems that in small towns, that the main Tim Horton’s has rather taken on the role of being the town square, where everybody comes to ‘see and be-seen’-a veritable evening parade.
Much like those little villages in Provence . But without the charm and good looking women. And wine. And cheese. And some haunting refrain. Good conversation and witty banter….oh what the heck, at least they speak English…or an approximation of it.
And so I sipped on my coffee, nodding at all the friendly people who were walking past, and who were wishing me a good evening; and sure enough, along came the crazies.
So…what you doing?
“Sitting in the sun…eating some cheese…sipping some wine”
(One of my all-time favourite movie lines)
So…we’re passing through, my girlfriend and me...
(He was so thin he probably had to run around under the shower to get wet-if he ever had actually showered; had a thin moustache; a baseball cap of indeterminate vintage; and was holding a mongrel dog on a piece of rope. She had the shopping trolley; had successfully won the battle against anorexia; and was dressed in several black bin-bags)
So…we were wondering if you could help us?
With the price of a cup of coffee?
“Dear Lord” I thought, “I know that I’ve disappointed you, but REALLY?…crazies??…on my working holiday??”
“OK…sure…how much do you need?”
$10 would be fine he said,pocketing the note with the speed of a hooker in Portsmouth docks on a friday night when the Fleet has just sailed in
What hat is that you have on your head there buddy…you’re talking kinda funny there?
“It’s a Springbok rugby cap”, I replied .. “You know, rugby world cup winners?”
Oh …right…eh…so…what part of Australia do you come from?