by Richard Dawkins 28th May, 2015
I should be well on my way to Los Angeles by now. I’m actually still in São Paulo. Tripped on my way down the walkway to my plane, fell on my head, broke my glasses and noticed blood all over the floor. My glasses must have cut me.
Unfortunately (as I thought at the time), the passenger ahead of me was a doctor. He took one look, said I needed stitches, and from then on my fate was sealed. Nothing would persuade the officials to let me on the plane. “A doctor” had pronounced. Paramedics were summoned. They were very kind, kept saying they’d take care of me. I kept saying I don’t want to be taken care of, I want to get on the plane. To no avail. They bandaged my head like Basil Fawlty in the “Don’t mention the war” episode, put me in a wheel chair (although I was perfectly capable of walking), and took me off to some kind of office, where I did a bit of waiting around.
Meanwhile, my plane took off.
Bright spot: They managed to get my suitcase off the plane, and they brought it to me.
Less bright spot: They refused to let me take it with me in the ambulance.
Bright spot: I finally persuaded them to let me take it.
Blurred spot: My glasses broken, I couldn’t see.
Very bright spot: I remembered that I had, at the last moment before leaving home, shoved in my case an obsolete (only just) pair of glasses. So I can now see.
In the hospital I was impressed by how little waiting around there was. British experience had prepared me for long hours in Accident and Emergency, and it was already nearly midnight. But no, they saw to me almost immediately. None of the nurses, or the paramedics still with me, spoke a word of English and I regret that I don’t speak a word of Portuguese, so I felt rather adrift in an alien world. Then the doctor came, and he spoke good English. He gave me five stitches in two cuts: two stitches above the right eyebrow, three in the forehead. The anaesthetic injections hurt, but they did their job because the stitches didn’t hurt at all. I shall have scars.
So it looks as though I maligned the kind doctor on the walkway ahead of me. Looks as though I really did need stitches, and the paramedics were right to bar my efforts to push past them onto the plane. Sorry doctor. Sorry paramedics. You were right.
American Airlines gave me vouchers for an airport hotel, which is where I now am. And where I shall be all tomorrow, kicking my heels waiting to catch tomorrow’s equivalent of tonight’s plane, the one I should be on, now presumably somewhere over the Amazon jungle.
Fortunately, the man I was supposed to have lunch with in Los Angeles tomorrow had to cancel to go abroad, so I won’t be missing lunch with him. Yes I will. I will be missing lunch with him but I would have done anyway. But it’s still kind of fortunate in a silly, illogical way. Very illogical, but you know what I mean.
Obviously time to (try to) sleep.
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29th May 2015
Woke up to find I have a prominent black eye, as in shiner. Never really understood why that is such a sensitive litmus test of almost any kind of blow in the region. I don’t know whether it’s related but on both the last two times I was stung by a bee, once on the thumb and once on the foot, the main response was that one eye swelled shut.
The doctor must have done a good job yesterday, though, because the stitches don’t hurt at all: less than my hand which I didn’t even notice was bleeding when I was in the hospital.
Now to get on with some reading. There’s notning else to do. See you tomorrow, Los Angeles. Apologies for any dates I’ve missed, and hope the jetlag won’t show too badly in my on stage conversation with Michael Shermer.