Part Seven

Posted By on August 26, 2007

Or
“How To Ruin A Vacation With Nothing But An Incurable Virus”

.: Television cameras add approximately ten pounds to a person’s body. If depression could be quantified by a metric similar to weight, then cameras have the opposite effect on the city of Slough. Slough was the setting for The Office, a comedy of complementary bleakness; the cameras were too kind.


Here’s a picture of something more pleasing to the eye than Slough: a foot-shaped urine stain.

.: A quick survey of the city — all that we got and more than we wanted — revealed architecture cursed with the worst kind of ugly. Imagine the underside of a concrete bridge so horrifyingly foul neither bats nor hobos dare live there. Now picture that surface on the side of an office complex built in the seventies. That’s Slough.

.: Luckily, we never left the train; we were going to Oxford. Oscar needed a replacement t-shirt from an Oxford bookstore, which took about ten minutes. We had some time to kill. Aside from seeing a few nice museums (one of which we accidentally stumbled into without paying), trekking through a garden spoiled by a restrictive tradition, and having Oscar take a delightful photograph of me in Trinity Chapel, nothing of note happened.

.: Our next stop was Stratford-upon-Avon. Since I’m American, I tend to think of England as no larger than Delaware. As such, I figured the train ride would only take about 45 minutes. In fact, England is about the size of Connecticut, so the train ride took about twice as long. On the way I felt a bump on my lip, right where I received the scratch back in Part Four. I was developing a cold sore.

.: One of life’s many pleasures is not experiencing a cold sore. Whenever I don’t have one I am happy. Whenever I do have one, I’m told to eat foods high in lysine (yogurt, beets, whey — yuck) and avoid foods high in arginine (cashews, orange juice, blackberries — yum!), and this only further contributes towards my sour disposition.

.: The ride was only halfway finished when I felt the tingling, and I knew I needed some acyclovir soon or the bastard would rupture. Oscar, I, and my throbbing lip arrived at Stratford-upon-Avon and set out immediately for a pharmacy, but this was England and convenience stops at 5:00. To add insult to very-soon-to-be injury, the only reason to visit Stratford-upon-Avon was closed. We waited an hour for the next train to London, unburdened by happy thoughts.

“You have a crystalline growth on your lip, Cody.”


An artist’s reconstruction of the culprit and alleged crime. Drawing credit: Diego

.: Shit. That meant it had emerged and was seeping plasma, platelets, and little tiny instructions for making copies of itself. Gross. Had I applied some acyclovir before the virus progressed to ape-shit exponential levels, I could have prevented it from rearing its ugly head altogether.

.: We arrived in London at 11:13pm, and the nearest pharmacy closed at 11:00pm. (I’m not sure it would have done me any good were it open since I didn’t have a prescription.) We searched the over-the-counter medicines for the wussy alternatives, and Oscar spotted a tube of Zivorax. Main ingredient? Acyclovir. What’s more, it was only £5 — much cheaper than it would be in America even with insurance.

.: So the day wasn’t a total wash, except the cold sore ruptured anyway, meaning any romantic aspirations for the remainder of the trip were shot to shit.

Next: an abusive American diner, the complete works of William Shakespeare, and other things that have slowly slipped away since I never bothered writing them down until now.
Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six | Part Seven

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