My Body is a Machine

My body is a machine!
All rods and ribs. All torque and tongue.
My body is a machine!
All guts and gauges. All pistons and personality.
My body is a machine!
A well-used, poorly-maintained, 26-year-old machine limping across the starting line of the adventure that is today.

I treat my body like I treat my car.
With great enthusiasm, and very little understanding.
I treat my body like I treat my car.
With horrendous abuse, and great expectations of survival.
Brand new I came with parts missing, barely off the showroom floor I was all bursting valves and return trips to the mechanic.
After 10 years and many thousands of kilometres on the clock I had sustained a decent amount of front end damage experimenting with tasks I wasn’t designed for, couldn’t complete and would go on to attempt again and again for years on end.
After 20 years the damage had only continued, but if the cracks and scars, the leaks and smoke have left me with nothing but a well-weathered patina at least I know I still look good in the right light.
And the intervening six years have brought me here, physically comparing myself to my Chevy Astro Van.

While she waits on a spare wheel that isn’t rusted to her undercarriage and a coolant line inbound from Alberta, I patiently and routinely swallow penicillin to defeat a bout of strep throat, moving gingerly from the couch to the fridge hoping to find something that will provide some nutrients to ease joints and muscles aching from a dehydrated and malnourished week in bed.
Sometimes I envy machines – sentience is such a burden.
It was my choice to surf Canadian waters last Monday morning despite the early signs of a sore throat, and then to attempt to drink away said sore throat with Tofino Brewing Company’s excellent Kettle Sour ale on Monday afternoon.
It was my choice to take 4000mg of ibuprofen in 24 hours on Wednesday after I hadn’t managed to use a bout of gastro to shit and/or vomit the other sickness out of my system, which resulted in a wildly attractive rash on my torso and arms.
So on Friday afternoon with a fever approaching 40ºC and a new found of appreciation of Powerade, I stumbled into the pharmacy for the third time that week to collect a penicillin prescription from my lady surfer Dr Gilbert and the pharmacist had good laugh at me for being a one-man-band of theatrical illnesses.
I like her for that.

There was a point on Wednesday night where I was convinced I must be healthy again because I woke up and went to grab a sip of water and poured the majority down my nose and all of my face/pillow, and began laughing immediately.
In such slumbered confusion I could only laugh. And then vomit profusely.
It’s a brutal realisation that the only occasion you’ve had for laughter in a couple of days also caused you to bring up your dinner of salted crackers, Powerade and lemon ginger tea.
But worse things have happened to better people, and I write none of this for sympathy.
Maybe it’s just self deprecation, self flagellation and a PSA about reading the dosage labels on medicine bottles.
But after a week of missed work Tofino has once again sunk it’s beautiful claws deeper into my wanting skin I am finding it harder to leave this town I came to for two weeks five months ago.
So maybe I will stop making plans.
I will forgo a little sentience and hope my body can simply fire on all cylinders, headed straight on a winding road with someone entertaining riding shotgun and a version of myself carrying a little spontaneity and indifference to the destination at the wheel.


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