Saturday, August 16, 2008


I went camping last weekend, which is one of my favorite ways to spend a Saturday. It is total glamour camping (glamping) -- there is nothing so profane as "hiking in" and the hardest work done is lugging the cooler full of beer and pork products for breakfast from the car. It was a really great day as the weather was sunny and mild, and the blue gill were actually hungry even for my novice spinner bait.

The camp site is a mown lawn along a river that is carefully maintained with several fire pits that stretch the length of the property from the farm house up to the fence for the cow pasture. It is a lovely reward for driving just a few hours, and is a whopping $12 a night. The only challenge is avoiding getting into a conversation with the owner of the property. She is as sweet as a peach, but is an over-sharer. It's awkward at best, downright stomach churning at worst. We affectionately call her "Polyps".

Within the first 30 seconds of any face-to-face conversation with Polyps, her medical history comes out. She's a cancer survivor, has only 8 inches of colon, and has anal polyps.

I've known this since the first time I visited her farm several years ago but heard it from a friend who had arranged the trip -- she actually got sucked into going into the house. It was no surprise when I got the same story later that summer. This time around, though she didn't remember ever meeting me, she was sweet enough to bring down some tomatoes from her garden when I was cooking breakfast, but then ruined it with "I thought you might like these -- I can't eat 'em, 'cause I only have about 8 inches of colon and they hurt my bottom something awful." Thanks. She then went on to talk about her mother's blood disease that killed her and the fact that the guy at the other end of the campsite was a regular and seemed to be with a woman far to young for him. She used spicy language about a woman who she had to throw off of her campsite last year for being "on drugs" and running up and down the road in the middle of the night and the same for a group of women who were nude sunbathing in the cow pasture. She had barely taken a breath.

I don't know what it is in a person that makes them do this -- just spill anything they have in their heads to whoever they are talking to at the moment. I'm not a big talker anyway and have an especially hard time with small talk (I have to plan ahead to think of things to ask people about -- a trick I learned from my patients with aphasia). I would rather have a fork in the eye than talk about my colon with strangers. I was actually thinking I would have to quit my job when it was my turn to have the norovirus a few years ago and threw up on Whoa Eddie, the guy who makes the sandwiches at work who had the bad luck of restocking the refrigerator on the unit when I came bursting in projectile vomiting (he sweetly rubbed my back and said "It's okay Miss Jennifer").

I really don't get those who just give too much information. I do, however, appreciate those who do for my viewing pleasure in shows like this one. I want you all to promise me that if I'm saying something you don't want to hear that you will tell me, as I never want someone to secretly be thinking what I think when talking to Polyps, which is "eeewww!" while smiling and nodding politely. Deal?

The photo is from here -- a cover shot of a publication by surfers demanding better public health signage at the beaches. I don't know that I really want to know what's in the water.

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