Friday, January 30, 2009

You're A Gray

So my last night in Buenos Aires there was this big rumor about some drum show that was going on. I didn't know much about it except that everyone was talking about it like Jesus had risen from the dead, and taken up the bongo.


So myself and the other 15 or so kids from my hostel leave like a heard of cattle and go to this drum show near... I don't know what. We wait on line for about an hour before we enter this outdoor arena with a huge orange iron staircase. We stand outside drinking over sized beers and waiting for the fun to start. Finally around 8 a group of 20 or so drummers come out stage and fire up the music.

It was awesome, bongos, and all manner of percussion being banged and hit on, heavy thumping beats, dancing, and laughing. Culture gyrating and mixing like a drum smoothie. It was awesome. We then went out to dinner afterwards where I waited an hour to get a plate of uncooked ham and cheese and salami. It was salty but tasty.

I did wake up in the middle of the night thinking that I REALLY wanted to return all of the food I purchased. However, I was able to hold on to my purchases.

The next morning I wake up and pack up my crap to get a cab to the port to take a boat to Uruguay. So I get up to the counter at the port and the man says, "Do you have your passport."

I literally scream, "FUCK!"

Counter guy then says to me, "You can't leave the country without your passport."

Oh really Columbus? Thanks for the hot tip, I was hoping I could get into Uruguay with a package of Duty Free Mentos and my charming smile, but I'll go back and get my passport.


It's 10 am and I'm trying to catch and 11:30 am boat. So I shlep my shit and hop back in a cab driven by an old white haired dude with awesome posture. Immediately this guy punches the gas and we are off and flying. He pauses at a red light to offer me a cough drop. I figure why not, so I take his mentholly goodness.

Light turns green and my driver starts weaving through Buenos Aires like a Geriatric Steve McQueen. It is awesome, he's honking, shifting, cutting people all off, and still able to say the rosary and kiss his beads as we pass the churches. He never loses his cool, he never changes his perfect posture. He even offers me a cigarette. Perhaps he thought maybe his driving might cause me to crave a nicotine addiction at this point in my life.

So we hit the hostel, I grab my passport from the safe, and make it back to the boat with plenty of time to spare.

I take the one hour boat to Uruguay. Go through customs, which is basically a guy who shrugs when I show him my passport. I try and store my bag at the bus station but nobody speaks English so I end up paying this woman at the cafeteria 3 dollars to keep it behind the counter.

I walk around Colonia which is a UNESCO world heritage site. To be honest I really don't know what that means, but I'm starting to think that just means that a place is really old with no other tourist options. I spend a couple hours, snap some pictures, have some pizza and Uruguayan wine which tastes like grape ocean water.

Mmm grape ocean water.

I take a 3 hour bus ride to Montevideo. Another white knuckler since I don't know how to convey that I don't know where we are going. All I can say is,

"At what time... Montevideo?"

So I get to the... I don't want to say 1 horse town, because I saw at least 12 different horse drawn carriages on the street in the 36 hours I spent there. So I go to dinner. I go to bed.

I try to sleep but between the Israeli kid who snores, and our bedroom door which doesn't... what's the word... close. Our balcony door doesn't close either. And because its a windy night the wind makes our bedroom door slam close like an angry pubescent teenager leaving the house on a friday night.

There is nothing more awesome than being woken up at 2 am by a slamming door to realize you have slat marks in your side from the worlds awfullest bunk bed and now you can't fall back asleep because of the snoring Israeli and you lost 3 of your earplugs so all you can do is jam one earplug so far into your head that whats left of your brain starts squeezing out the other side.

I wake up, go for a walk on a cloudy day, get a sunburn. Have lunch, eat ice cream. Finish a book, sit in a hammock, have a giant asado (grill) where I eat like 6 different kinds of meat... twice.

I hang out with an Irishman and a tool bag 20 year old from Washington. The Irishman buys a round of drinks, I buy a round of drinks. and then I realize why I never buy drinks for 20 year olds... they don't return the favor.


I would like to tell you more but I am really not sure what happened to my one earplug so I must go and make sure I actually took it out... 2 days ago.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

McGruff Goes to Argentina

Welcome to sunny Buenos Aires, where the culture is rich and the sidewalk is a frigging minefield. In all honesty it looks like the city suffered an anvil storm about 3 years ago because every 20 feet there is a MASSIVE hole in the sidewalk. They are not repaired so much as they are just kind of filled in with rocks, or not filled in at all. I trip every 8th step. I have twisted each ankle so many times I´m surprised my feet haven´t started facing different directions.

So I got into Bs As (that is how you abbreviate it) and caught a shuttle into town. Going through customs was a lot easier and I didn´t have to pay the 135 dollars I had to pay to get into Chile. I´m still not sure why they charge people that. It´s like they said, ¨Hey we don´t have too much cool stuff here how do we get more people to come? Charge them!¨

So I clear customs behind a man who when he was asked if he was from the United States he shivered like he had just put his thumb in a socket. Turns out he was from France. Yea I wouldn´t like it if somebody screwed it up for me either.

So I check into my hostel and go out for a stroll. I want a slice of Pizza and since Bs As has a tremendous amount of Italian culture (half the people here have at least 1 Italian relative) I find myself a place to have a slice. Good, tasty, delicious. I walk for a while and decide I want another. So I go to another place, and seeing as my Spanish is what it is... I accidentally order a whole pizza.

Now I watched the guy put it in the oven, but I couldn´t very well stop him at that point because all I would have been able to say was

¨No no, one pizza, ONE pizza.¨ So I just paid for it and ate most of the damn thing.

Bs As is beautiful and old and diverse and a little dirty. There are so many unique neighborhoods and places to eat and the shopping is incredible. So many neat and different stores. It is still probably 90 degrees out but I love it. I don´t know what the temperature is in New York and I don´t want to know.

So my second day I take a gorgeous stroll along their revamped Puerta Madero area which converted all of these old shipping building into trendy lofts and restaurants with a beautiful promenade.

I was needing a snack so I went and got an empanada. I couldn't really understand the menu, but they had something called Bife Suave, which I interpreted to mean Slow Beef... or Handsome Beef. Either way it sounded tasty. So I ordered my Handsome Beef Empanada and it was good.

I then went and found an ice cream place and ordered a cone. For you Spanish speakers out there you might know that the word for ice cream cone and the word cucaracha are damn close. I am just glad I got what I intended.

The woman then proceeded to scoop and pry a pile of ice cream the size of a bean bag chair out of the freezer. I worried that perhaps I had accidentally ordered 10 ice cream cones. It took her no less than 5 minutes to get the chair sized scoop out, but I did not complain.

I then took a 4 hour bike ride around the older parts of the city really getting a feel for the city, the immigrant neighborhoods, the new yuppy buildings etc. The city has a lot to offer.

This is where I was about to tell you a story about something that happened over 2 days but for safety reasons I will jump ahead in my story and skip this part for now. You will understand later.

The next morning I go to the San Telmo market which is full of antiques and art and local creations, lots of locals, lots of tourists, lots of walking really close to people. Places like that always make me a little concerned.

I´m always very cautious, I wear a money belt, don´t carry a wallet and keep my head on the swivel. So I´m walking enjoying soaking it up when I feel a woman walk uncomfortably close to me, and my spider sense starts tingling. I keep my eye on her and she just looks shifty. She´s too tan to be a tourist, her backpack is conspicuously empty, also meaning she´s not a tourist, and she wasn´t with friends.

So I don´t think of it until I see her again, 5 feet away from me, standing next to some German couple and she is definitely eyeing his wallet. She moves in close behind him and turns to look around. That´s when I hit her with the crook eye and she froze and tried to play it cool.

But I just kept staring at her. She stood there looking uncomfortable. I warned the German couple but realized I couldn´t just follow this chick all day. I´m not batman, I´m not polizia. And I can´t report her for being sketchy. I don´t know how to say that in Spanish. Hell if people went to jail for being sketchy I´d be serving a life sentence right now.

So I just walked away knowing that chick was probably going to get someones wallet, but like Smokey the Bear says, ¨Only YOU can prevent creepy locals from picking pockets in the markets of Argentina while you´re on vacation.¨

I was wearing my Tampa Bay Devil Rays hat this day (Thanks Grandpa) and it had provoked a couple of conversations. While at the market, a woman approached me and asked me if I spoke English (which I do) and then asked me if I was from Tampa.

Long story short she takes a picture of me and her husband and says;

¨Tell your grandpa that you met someone in Argentina who works for the Devil Rays... my husband´s the General Manager.¨


So I walked around a bunch more, bought some things, and looked over more stuff as the San Telmo market devolved into stinky hippies selling stuff they made and burning incense. I walked over to the wealthy Recoletta neighborhood and another market.

At this point I was starving so I sat down at an outdoor cafe to have lunch at like 5pm. Every meal I have had I have either been way too early or way too late for, as much as I try to blend in with the locals I cant eat dinner at midnight, go to bed at 2, and be ready for lunch at noon.

So I sit down and in my fake Spanish order something I thought looked good. My waiter, a dead ringer for Daddy Warbucks, comes over and when I tell him what I want says a bunch of stuff in Spanish and turns to a different page in the menu.

I guess he didn´t want me to have what I ordered.

So I look on the page he turned to and point to something fairly priced that says Especial in front of it. Especial? Well that must be good! He seems delighted by my choice. He brings me my half bottle of wine (which is something very prevalent down here, its way better than just one glass) and gets my setting all put together.

Then I understand why he smiled.

He brings me out what appears to be a fully grown adult cow. And I realize, I ordered the steak for 2. It doesn´t even come on a plate, its comes on a miniature grill because they want to keep it warm as I eat my 437 ounces of beef. Well, when in Buenos Aires...

I am no longer capable of burping, I try to burp but all I can do is... well... Moo.

I saw the Cemetaria Recoletta which is home to the richest families in Buenos Aires. These massive mausoleums are unreal. It is like a tiny walled-in city, but instead of every one living in massive homes, they live in these massive stone closets, and instead of living, they are dead.

Its kind of weird to catch yourself leaning against one and then go, OH MY GOD I AM LEANING ON A DEAD PERSONS HOUSE.

I saw Evita's grave. Didn´t take a picture because it seemed too creepy.

The next day I went to the Zoo, did shopping in SoHo (they have one too) and had another salad to combat my beef-itis.

There is much more to tell but I am tired, I have to prepare myself for a big day of fighting crime and ordering 2 meals at a time. Ciao Ciao.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


One of the problems with not knowing Spanish in a Spanish speaking country is transportation. Riding the metro is easy enough. Especially when its as beautiful as it is in Santiago. Taking a three hour bus ride to the coast however, is another story.

I was on my way to Quintero for a couple days at the ocean. I went to the bus station and bought a ticket for what was called the ´Direto¨. I thought that meant it would go directly to the beach and I could just get out there.
No, apparently direto means that the bus will pick up every single person on the highway with their thumb out, and make tons of stops in random towns. The whole trip was a white knuckle adventure for me because I didn´t know what the destination looked like and more and more people were getting off the bus. Finally at the last stop there were just 3 people left when we pulled up to a dirt field where people were riding horses, luckily my stop was the next one.

So I get out, take a taxi to the beach. The taxi, like every single taxi I have been in since I started my trip, was of course a Toyota Yaris. (You could start a clever side business Sophie) I get to the beach and am greeted by a lovely German girl who works at the hostel which is just a cute pair of houses steps from the beach.
So I drop my stuff, slather on a ton of sun tan lotion and go for a stroll along a dark sanded beach. Of course I put the lotion on myself so I couldn´t reach every spot. So there is a very red bat-shaped rhombus in the middle of my back now. Perhaps I should have gone against my instincts and said to Angie ¨Hey we´ve just met, but hows about you rub some lotion all over me?¨ Yea perhaps so.

The first night a bunch of people from all over checked in and we had a pirate party. Most of you know I do not need a reason to act ridiculous. Drinking in itself is enough of a reason. So as you can imagine, dressing as a pirate while drinking the local favorite Pisco, did nothing to subdue me. If anything it added to the nonsense because I was able to buy an eye patch in town. This was only kind of cool, because while I got to end every sentence with ¨ARRRR¨ I also kept walking into shit.

So by the time 1 am came, and we´d had some drinks, and I was trying to shoot pool, while wearing an eye patch... well, let´s just say we never finished that game.

The next morning I tried surfing in an ocean with an extremely powerful undertow. Our surf instructor was face down on the beach when we met him. He also didn´t speak English. He was very friendly though and I had a Mexican friend with me who helped translate. That however did not enable me to do any real surfing.
I did a lot of paddling, a bit of flailing, and some partial drowning. And then my cord broke and my surf board floated away. So I watched as the locals on the beach laughed at the skinny pale kid trying to run after his surf board which was moving way faster than him. It was around this point that I stepped on a sharp sea creature... or a steak knife... it really could have been either one. So I pretty much lost at surfing

We then went into town, got some groceries so our Mexican friend could cook us a feast. When we got back we played paddle ball and volleyball. I lost at volleyball as well. So I had pretty much lost at every activity I had played. So for that nights Mexican feast (we all dressed as banditos) we headed down to the bar and I tried to redeem myself at pool. Once again I lost.
All of a sudden someone from the hostel comes up to me and tells me these two Chilenos want to play me in Foosball or what they call, ¨TAKKA TAKKA¨ (say it out loud, its fun).

I honestly thought I was about to get hustled. Like this was some sort of a scam. Hey, get the gringo with the bat-shaped rhombus on his back to play Foosball, we´ll take him for every peso he has. I was even more skeptical when before I event agreed to play these kids are betting. They wanted me and the Australian kid who I´d been paired up with to bet them beers. So I said OK.

It is at this point that I must reference my senior year in college when we had a Foosball table in our house. This is one activity I do not suck at. Those Chilenos bought us some beers after a rousing game which we won 5 to 1, then they won the second game, but the third game we claimed in the name of of the pale folk! They had raised the stakes at this point so we were playing for empanadas! We felt bad taking their money though, so we just kept their pride. It felt good.
I woke up the next morning with a considerable amount of mosquito bites on my feet and hands and arms. There is one on my finger so big that it looks like I am wearing a flesh colored engagement ring.
Not cool.
Hopefully I don´t get yellow fever, but there´s really no guarantees in life.
I jumped into town around noon to go back to Santiago and got right on a bus which said ¨Direto¨ and this bus stopped at every street for about an hour. I was nervous I would never make it back to Santiago. Also when I got on the bus the driver handed me a tiny key which I said wasn´t mine, then he said something which I pretended meant it was for the bathroom. So I kept it.
As you can imagine my Spanish is still nonexistent. I only know 2 phrases, and ¨Please don´t molest me¨ has turned out to be only slightly more useful than ¨My wife is an engineer.¨
So I get back to Santiago, crash for the night, go to the airport the next morning and fly to Buenos Aires super early. I will tell you about Buenos Aires as soon as my rhombus heals.

Monday, January 19, 2009

JFK to Nowhere

Normally when someone goes on an exotic international adventure they start with some crazy tale of how they almost didn´t make it.

My tale will be no different.

My flight left on Friday at 10 am from JFK airport... or so I thought. Turns out I was leaving from LaGuardia... which I didn´t realize until I was already at JFK. So clad in my beachwear I ran outside (where the temperature was 8) to wait for a bus that didn´t come, got in a taxi, and while suffering the worst case of hypertension of my life, made it to LaGuardia airport to catch my flight to Atlanta, where I hung out for 2 hours before catching my flight to Peru, which left late, leaving me 15 minutes to get to my gate to catch my flight to Santiago.
As we are getting off the plane the flight attendant gets on and goes, ¨There are 2 people going to Santiago Chile, Joe shmo and Richard...¨

Dramatic pause

Hey that´s me! So me and my special attendant SPRINT through the Lima airport to catch my plane... and sit on it for 45 minutes before it took off... without my luggage.
Yea my bag didn´t make it until about 12 hours after I did. Oh well.

So I have spent the last 3 days in sunny Santiago (where it is about 90). It is somewhat blended city of no real skyline and an atrocious poo colored reservoir that runs through the middle. As well as an ungodly amount of large, depressing looking dogs who just lay in the middle of the sidewalk like they just got laid off. And don´t say awww because most of them look like they got the mange.

But despite all this I was excited to get out into the city and hone my Spanish skills.
I probably should have ACQUIRED some Spanish skills first because nobody in this city speaks English. My communication has been reduced to a series of awkward shrugs, confused pointing, and caveman like grunting. It´s actually kind of embarrassing that I can´t communicate better. This is by far the least English speaking country I have ever come across. I wouldn´t say this is a beautiful city necessarily but it is interesting.

My first night the hostel had an all meat barbq on the roof and I ate so much meat I expect to pass a fully formed cheesesteak at some point in the near future. I met some Aussies and some Brits and we went out and drank some Cristal. Not the champagne mind you, but the local beer. That and Escudo, both very drinkable. We got home from our dance party at around 3 am and I slept til almost noon, which is fine, because nothing really happens in this city until then.
I spent the next day at the city´s museums. I went to a Chilean History museum which essentially said this on every exhibit;

¨The indigenous people did this. Isn´t it interesting? Yea we don´t know why they did that.¨ 

Apparently early Chileans snorted a lot of drugs but nobody knows how they got them.

I checked out the modern art museum which had an entire floor dedicated to Chilean Comics... since I don´t really speak Spanish the whole thing was pretty much wasted on me. I also checked out the home of poet Pablo Neruda, where my guide was like a pint size version of the latter half of Cheech and Chong. His moustache was not to be reckoned with but he was by far one of the coolest people I have ever encountered and the tour was all the more awesome because of him.

I had a great lunch of Salad (I figured I could use the roughage after my all meat binge) and a glass of fresh strawberry juice. Delightful. I have so far avoided the local custom of a Hot Dog loaded with Mustard, Ketchup, and Avocado.

Oh my god I almost threw up just typing that.

Anyway today myself and some good kids from MIT went wine tasting at 2 different vineyards. It was way out of the way, and thank god I was with them because the power of 5 people not knowing Spanish was way better than my own incompetence. We squeezed 5 people into a cab several times, including on the way to a restaurant our cab driver did not recognize so he kept stopping and asking strangers on the street where it was eliciting the exact same reaction every time. They would extend their arm all the way as though they were pointing to the moon and presumably tell him to just keep going.

It ended up being worth it because my bacon wrapped steak, which was roughly the size of a duffel bag, was awesome. The vineyards were beautiful, decent wines, but I didn´t find any I wanted to take with.

Tomorrow morning I will abandon this city for the coast, 2 and a half days at Quintero to just chill and read and do squat. I cannot wait.

But before I go, my first horrible experience of the trip.

I did not sleep very well last night. Well I did from about 12:30 until 3:30 when I awoke with a shock to the awful sound of a family of sea lions being slaughtered. No no, no sea lions in my room. It was just the chubby German in the bunk across from mine wheezing and snoring like he was running some kind of comatose marathon.

At first I thought he had managed to accidentally slip his closed fist into his mouth and was trying to breathe around it. Then I was almost positive his entire arm had become lodged in his esophagus. This was excessive sleep apnea. Every snore got louder and louder until I was sure he was either going to wake up, or choke.

I have to admit I was sitting there praying for choke. But nothing happened it just got louder and louder. I wanted to throw something at him, or roll him over... or beat him to death, regretfully I did nothing. And so I spent a considerable amount of time listening to what evolved into him breathing through a mouthful of wet spaghetti. Hands down the most awful snoring I have ever heard. God help him if he is still there tonight.

To the Beach!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Taking Shots

How much would you pay somebody to stab you?
Probably nothing right? If anything you would probably ask to be compensated for being stabbed. And you most certainly would not go out of your way to be stabbed. You’d probably avoid it at all costs.
Normally I would be like you. But I recently paid 290 dollars to be stabbed. Not once, but FOUR times. Twice in each arm, by my doctor. It was almost a deal at 75 bucks a stab.
I leave this Friday for South America. I’m taking a two week vacation to Chile, Argentina, and possibly Uruguay. Apparently South America has diseases and stuff that I need to be protected against. Of all the countries I’ve visited before, these are the only ones I’ve been vaccinated for prior to traveling.
I think it was probably a good idea considering there was a 4 year stretch of my life where I got Mononucleosis, Strep, and Shingles in rapid succession… and that was just in college! If you add my time in Spain, Turkey, and Australia to the list you can include Bed Bugs, Salmonella, and some kind of weird rash.
So I’m pretty determined to ward off disease on this trip.
I went to my appointment with my nice, but slightly socially awkward doctor. He asks me where I’m going and types the names of the countries into his computer database.
“Ok Hepatitis A, you’ll need. And Hepatitis B. And let’s see here, Tetanus booster. And Yellow Fever. You’re going to Buenos Aires and where else? You’re not going to any of the…” and he rattles off the names of like 5 different regions of Argentina. And because I haven’t done as much research as I should have, I haven’t ever heard of any of them. I half lie and half guess that I won’t be going to those regions.
“Oh yea, umm, no just going to hang out around Buenos Aires,” I say, completely lying to my doctor.
Then doctor says “And here’s the good news…”
At this point he chuckles but then kind of catches himself realizing he might have said the wrong thing.
“Well not really good news, but, um, none of these are covered by insurance.”
Of course not. (Smooth delivery on the joke by the way Doc) Why the hell would yellow fever be covered by insurance? I suppose if insurance were around during the renaissance period, insurance companies would have been like, “Oh yea the Black Death, oooo we don’t cover that. Not deadly enough.”
How much do they cost Doc?
“Their all around 100 dollars each.”
My butt cheeks instantly clench and my heart rate goes into over drive. Shit. I’m going to go broke before I even get to South America.
“What was that third country you are going to?”
Now I’m in full on panic mode. I can’t afford any more shots! I’m being inoculated against half the diseases in South America, could I really need any more? Do I want any more?
“Oh,” I say, “it’s Uruguay, but I wasn’t even really set on going there, I was just going to go for a day and if I need more shots I’ll just skip it,” once again straight up lying to my doctor.
My heart is out of control and I contemplate the consequences. I made it through 10 days of Montezuma’s revenge in the Mediterranean, how bad can Typhoid fever be? I mean really, do I even know anybody who has ever had Typhoid? I’m sure if it was something to worry about I would have heard more stories.
If I go to Uruguay or anywhere else, I just won’t eat or touch anything. I’ll Purel the hell out of everything before I touch it. I won’t eat any fruit, and I promise not to hold or lick any frogs.
But luckily I don’t need anymore shots. So we go into the stabbing room and I take off my shirt, and doctor comes in with 4 different viles.
Really doctor? You can’t mix a couple of those together like a Hepatitis smoothie or something? Do you really have to shove 4 different needles in my arms? He picks up one vile looks at it and says, “Oh this ones not right.” And he leaves to go get the correct bottle.
My heart, again, goes wild.
He comes back in with the correct vile, “It was on the wrong shelf, they had it on the wrong shelf.”
Well it’s a good thing you read the label doctor because if you had injected me with Avian Chicken Mutaba and I had died I don’t think the “Wrong Shelf Defense” would have worked in a court of law.
Then he asks me which arm I want to hurt more?
Oh this one doctor, please, give me pain here! I opt for 2 in each arm, so I have my pain equally distributed and won’t have to walk around the office like Quasimodo with one arm hanging dead at my side.
He gives me that awkward laugh again before saying, “Um, ha-ha, you’re going to be in pain tomorrow.”
I hate you. Do you know that doctor?
So he stabs me once, twice, puts a band aid on. Walks around to the other side, stabs me once, twice, and puts a band aid on. He then gives me a yellow card with some epileptic scribbling on it and tells me not to lose it otherwise, “They won’t let you back into the country.”
Thanks doctor. Good piece of info there. You’d think that would have been included in a pamphlet he gave me, and not just a side note like, “don’t forget your vitamins.”
The rest of the evening the pain in my arms starts to come on, the soreness is setting in. I go to sleep and hope for the best.
By the time I wake up the next morning it feels like a gang of monkeys had been pounding on my arms throughout the night and I had somehow managed to sleep through it.
The pain is numbing. If I don’t move my arms it’s almost bearable. But if I try to move my elbows even close to parallel the pain in my arms almost bring tears to my eyes. I considered wearing the same outfit for three days straight just so I wouldn’t have to lift my arms above my head to take off my sweater.
The pain feels like somebody is trying to pull my arm bones out through my shoulders without making an incision.
Sitting, standing, leaning, and walking are all painful. The only position that seems appealing to me is “crumpled heap.”
I consider drugs, but don’t want to numb myself so that I accidentally cause more damage. I just want the pain to go away as soon as possible.
The knowledge that I did this to myself doesn’t really make it any better, nor does thinking about what would have happened had I forgotten to go to the doctor before I left.
Really I won’t know if these shots were worth it until I come back to America disease free. But if I come back with Typhoid, I’ll be sure to let you know if it was worth it.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Proliferation of Naked

We come into this world naked. We shower naked. The doctor sees us naked. The people we love see us naked. It would seem that would be enough naked for any of us to stand.
But no, there are some people who need a larger amount of naked in their life. Being naked for a select few doesn't fulfill their needs. They desire a larger audience to view them in their birthday suit.

To these people, there is no bad opportunity to show off every crevice of their body. The obvious offenders are nudists who feel the need to be naked everywhere all the time. But there is a group of people somewhere between nudist and normal who are naked in my life just frequent enough to make me uncomfortable. Let’s call these people the Subtle Nudes.
The most obvious location to observe the Subtle Nudes is the locker room at the gym. Like most people, I'm aware that my naked body is not necessarily a work of art. I am CERTAINLY not secure enough to stroll around a locker room full of people I don't know, butt ass naked. Alas, some people are, and those people make me extremely uncomfortable
In my gym, there are showers. Great, brilliant. Very necessary for the removal of scum, funk, and all physical manifestations of nastiness. The showers at my gym are nice enough with soap, shampoo, and conditioner. There is even a nice little hook that allows one to hang their towel and clothes outside the shower so they don’t get wet.

However the hook goes largely unused, at least by the people in my gym.
It seems it goes like this. At the very beginning and very end of your life, being naked is no big whoop. I think the only difference is that in the beginning you love to run places naked, and when you’re old, you just shuffle. Either way, your ass is bare and you just don’t care.
Little naked kids = cute.
Little old naked people = saggy, horrific wrinklyness.
When I see old naked people in my locker room it’s like a big naked prune out for a stroll. Go away prune, go away!

I’ll admit I’ve considered strolling naked through the locker room before, but I know it would inevitably end in me running like I was about to jump through my sprinkler when I was 5 years old.
When I am changing in the locker room I try to remain as covered up as possible. But if I allow myself to get all the way naked my goal is; Get some underwear on ASAP. Once I am completely naked, the first move is always to stop being naked.
But not for some people. Some people feel the need to do other things. Fold their clothes, organize their wallet, write a sonnet. I can see them out of the corner of my eye, because it’s very hard not to notice a naked person next to you, just hanging out naked. You think it’s bad if they are sitting on the bench naked, because then you think, oh god, their gross rear has been on the same bench that I am now touching.

Ew ew gross gross gag blah.
Or the nudie will be standing, as though crouching weren’t enough; they feel the need to prominently display their stuff like a naked Superman.
But sometimes those standing people bend over, and that is when my I go into seizures and the blood vessels in my eyes explode. Come on man! Not here! Put it away! There are no naked calisthenics here. Go back to your colony for your thread bare Jane Fonda time.
Inevitably I will see some oblate spheroid shaped naked man in the locker room trying to put on his socks.

Really naked man? You can’t think of a better article of clothing to put on first besides your socks? How about a muumuu, or a tarp, or the entire Macy’s bedding department?
Though being naked indoors makes sense to me when you compare it to those people who insist on being naked outdoors.
At least at the gym you can rationalize, ok we are a select group of people who pay money to belong to this facility I should be able to walk 20 feet naked if I so choose.
But the nude beach, I mean come on man what is that all about? What kind of person decides, ya know what, being naked in private isn’t enough for me. I need to be naked in front of a lot of people, preferably in a place with tiny bits of rock and ocean and sun.
Many people don’t want any tan lines. If you want to look like George Hamilton, by all means go for it. But does anybody really need a tanned butt crack?

I live by myself now, and when I first moved into my apartment I did not own any blinds or window coverings, so my neighbors could see directly into my room. This bothered me at first and I would make sure to cover myself up while coming out of the shower. Then I started realizing… who cares? There is nobody else IN my apartment.
Here comes too much information folks, but now I shower with the door open and I prance around as naked as I want.
I don’t look out my window very much, and even when I do, I can’t really see very well into other peoples apartments, at most I can maybe see what’s right up against the window, I figure they must not be able to see into mine.
I think the only difference between me and the gym folk is that my apartment is my channel. If other people want to tune in, that is their prerogative. I shouldn’t feel obligated to alter my life accordingly. If they don’t want to see what’s on my channel they can just look away. Whereas those naked folk in the locker room…. they aren’t a channel. They are a test of the Emergency Nudist System broadcast directly into the cortex of my brain.

I don’t anticipate any major changes in my life philosophy in the near future. But if I do have a major awakening of my naked senses, I’m pretty sure I won’t have to tell you. I think you might just notice it in your peripheral.