Out on the path, I noticed that I was catching up on a much older neighbor. At a curve, when she stopped to look at a bird, she saw me. She waited, and as I reached that spot, she said "may I join you until the bridge?"
It is a different culture here. In the old country, I cannot imagine a "may I ...?" from another person, especially one who is much older.
"Of course. Will be my pleasure" I replied. I meant it. I knew we would talk about France and the Dordogne, and her daughter's family, and her blueberry cobbler that was heavenly and divine. We did.
"Speaking of France, did you catch the movie?" I asked her.
"Oh, wasn't it lovely!" she exclaimed. And then came the thought to her that neither she nor I had referred to the movie by the title. "You mean The Hundred-Foot Journey, right?"
I knew fully well that it was not my place right then to analyze the movie. I did not want to tell her that I didn't find it to be lovely. But then I am not into bullshitting either. So, I focused on what really caught my attention.
"The part of France they showed was gorgeous. And it reminded me so much of the old towns by the Dordogne."
"I understand the place is called Saint-Antoine" she said. I made a mental note to Google it myself!
We were about a minute away from the bridge when I felt a sharp prick on my calf. "Ouch!" I jumped. "Looks like a damn bee or something got me."
"Like any animal, maybe you can also put your saliva on it" she suggested. I did.
"You are not allergic to bee stings, are you?" Thankfully not.
We went our separate ways. Every once in a while, I stopped to examine my calf, which was slowly swelling up. And itching.
I reached home.
I got into the car to run errands.
It was a gorgeous evening, with gathering dark clouds and a wonderful breeze. I opened the sunroof. I thought an insect stung me. I decided I was imagining things after that bee sting.
As I continued to drive, I felt another nasty one. And another. I could now feel the bumps on my hand. On my back. I did not want to take my focus away from the road and my driving.
I reached the parking lot, and rushed out of the vehicle. I removed my t-shirt, stood topless and examined myself. And shook the shirt a few times. I examined the car seat.
Quite a spectacle I would have been--a middle-aged, gray and bald guy, topless, waving his t-shirt around like a mad man.
But, a man has got to do what a man has got to do. After all, it is life in the wild, wild, west! ;)