August 11, 2010 by David Gillaspie
Travelers to DG’s B&B come with travel stories from other parts of the world. Some show up in peak health, others in less than ideal shape. My place is accessible to all visitors looking for an outdoors environment.
An active lifestyle is always the best medicine but certain conditions limit activity. The one thing common to all living beings on earth is a good oxygen supply. That’s an element you’ll miss sooner than later.
A recent couple shared their harrowing tale:
“When we travel we just like to show up and wing it,” the woman said. “The only planning we do is buy tickets on airplanes. Language, tradition, customs? Ha! We dive in headfirst and learn as we go. We’re not afraid of the unexpected.”
I glanced over at the man sitting on the deck. He smiled and nodded, unslinging an oxygen canula from his ears and nose and draping it over a tank.
“Do you mind if I smoke?” he asked, lighting up a Camel.
His wife shrugged her shoulders the way you might do if a cute puppy took a chunk of meat off your plate.
“We were in Spain,” she said, “and our travel oxygen failed. Something stupid like trying to plug it into the wrong outlet without an adapter. Did you know that Europe all has different electrical plugs? Isn’t that just silly?
“Bob couldn’t decide which was worse, running out of oxygen or running out of Camels. I joked that we were so close to Morocco that he could find his own camel. Ha. But really, he needed oxygen.
“The morning it failed I knew what I had to do. I don’t speak the language, can’t make a phone call for the life of me. It was a new town, Seville, so I looked at the phone book and a map. I saw something that said oxygen and took off. Three miles later in a drenching sweat I knocked on the address from the phone book.
“It was a veterinary referral service with pictures of cute animals on the walls. It was funny, really. They asked if I needed something for my dog. They thought Bob was a dog. If he was he’d be a retriever. At least it seemed like they thought I was there for a dog. Do dogs take oxygen? I don’t know.”
Bob sat back in his chair listening and tipping his ashes.
“Like I said, I no speakee the Espanol. Neither does Bob, but he wasn’t there. I had an image of him back in our room gasping like a flounder on a boat deck. The lady at the dog clinic gave me a number to call, as if I could manage that. Ha. I asked her to call, which was a feat of communication in itself. And she did.”
“Somehow, and this is no joke, I got hold of someone who almost understood English after listening to the woman making the phone call talk gibberish for twenty minutes. This person gave me directions and numbers to deposit money into accounts I’ve never heard of. Something called a Douche Bank. At first I thought they said douche bag, and that’s the last place I deposit money.
“A Douche Bank is another matter. If it’s a bank and it means oxygen for Bob there, then okay.
“I found a bank, but no one spoke my lingo. Neither did the second. Finally a woman in the third had a clue and we went at it. At least she took my money, one hundred fifty Euro and 50 something, and faxed my request like I was supposed to do. The machine even looked like a fax machine.
“The shocker, and I’m not talking hand signal, was that the oxygen machine showed up the same day. Whaddya know? After all that I’m thinking of changing my name to Rosetta Stone, y’know? Isn’t that right, Bob? He calls me Rosey now. I might as well.”
I smiled at Bob who’d just lit another Camel. He used the chain system. The cherry from the last cigarette had fallen on his chest and caught his shirt on fire, but it seemed normal to both of them.
She patted him out.
“Let me tell you,” she continued, “I was a little worried. I was shocked to find Bob in such a state without his oxygen. I went to denial thinking he really didn’t need it. Then I was angry that Spain didn’t have decent electricity and blew his compressor up. The nerve. I bargained with myself and my maker and said if this worked out I’d make changes. Then it hit, I got so tired. Maybe a I was depressed, maybe it was the 110 degree heat. Something. I set out to find his damn oxygen and ended up in a pet store, as if some dog was more important than Bob. Finally I settled down and figured it out. At least as much as I could. Anyway, here we are.”
Bob looped his canula around his ears and slipped the two nubs into his nose and lit another Camel.
I decided to make a bigger ad about being a non-smoking B&B.