This episode of Tell Us Something was recorded in front of a live audience on June 22nd, 2016, at The Wilma in Missoula, MT. 9 storytellers shared their story based on the theme “Bad Advice”.
Transcript : Parasites and Ice Cream
So as he says, I did all go to Costa Rica during the winter times. I’ve lived in Missoula about nine years, but I’ve only spent about five winters here. Four of those winters I flew down to the Caribbean with my two-year-old son. And we weren’t just tourists, okay. We weren’t like traveling through the country. We had to pick a spot and settle down, and stay there for about six months at a time. So we picked this small Rastafarian village on the coast of Costa Rica called Puerto Viejo. [cheers]
You guys are familiar with Puerto Viejo?
And we set up shop there. And my son went to preschool there for four years. He played on the soccer team that traveled to different villages and played other, other schools. I got a job at a restaurant, an Argentinian restaurant for some reason, in Costa Rica! And I learned how to do empanadas and Milanese sauce, and I paid rent. And we were fully engulfed. We we started wearing Rasta colors. It just happens. Red green and gold.
Now, that sounds dreamy, right? We got to go to the beach all the time. Productive day down there is three hours on the beach doing nothing. So we did that a lot. But, that, it sounds dreamy to get out of the Missoula winters, but there are some hardships about living in the Caribbean. This was the poorest region of the country as well. And we were introduced to the poverty. And we never had hot water. A lot of people couldn’t afford hot water and I thought was good for us to live the same way like that. And so my two year old son had to take cold showers. Which was rough. Sometimes he wanted a little hot water so I’d boil it on the stove mixture of cold and just put it in this plastic, plastic bin, right? That was rough. That was rough.
The moistness of the jungle down there makes everything grow just like mushrooms everywhere, on your clothes, on your toes. This is gnarly. Gnarly. It smells…. So that was rough.
But the hardest thing were the mosquitoes. Yeah. Yeah. So, in Montana, we got mosquitoes they’re pretty big. They’re pretty gnarly.
But they’re not tropical mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes down there are huge. And they carry diseases, you know? Like dengue fever, malaria, other things.
But, we’ve all gotten bitten by a mosquito and it hurts. And it itches and it’s annoying, and it’s it’s horrible.
It’s a tourist town so you could see all the tourists coming in. The pale North Americans and Europeans, they come in white and they leave red, with the sunburns and mosquito bites. It was just, that was part of the deal.
The first year I was down there my son got destroyed by mosquitoes. And locals were like, “Do you have a mosquito net?”
I was like, “No, Dude, I’m a local now! I’m a native! I’m like you guys!”
And they were like, “We have mosquito nets!”
I was like, “Oh!” So I got a mosquito net.
Year two we went down, and I have less money, so I could afford the beachfront property for $200 a month, so I moved into the jungle for hundred and fifty dollars a month. Deep in the jungle. And as we already heard with the centipedes and the scorpions and the snakes and bigger mosquitoes that’s where we chill.
Now, my son got bit by a special mosquito, when he was three years old. He got bit on his wrist, twice, and he got bit on his face. Now just like any other three-year-old or 50-year-old, [unintelligible] everyone — it’s hard not to scratch mosquito bites! Am I wrong?
And this three year old just wouldn’t stop touching. His marks…his his bites and I became became neurotic about it you know, like, “Dude! Stop touching your thing! Get your hands away from there!”
And they just kept on growing. You know? They wouldn’t heal. They wouldn’t heal. And it just kept on growing bigger and bigger. All three spots.
So I went to my neighbor, and I was like, “Uh, what is going on?”
And my neighbor’s looked at my son and he was like, “Oh, he’s got papalomoyo.”
Which is slang for Leishmaniasis. Which I later found out was a parasite that you get from mosquitoes.
So I was like, “Oh, Shit!” I’m like so out of my realm, I don’t know what to do. I’ve lived here for a year. This is my second year. I feel like I’m involved. I’m part of the community. You know, we’re doing all the things. We’re living the life down here. But I’m so far out of my league as far as health care down there. I don’t know what to do.
So my neighbor says, “Don’t go to the doctor!”
Hashtag “bad advice”.
“This is all you need to do. Go into the jungle. Find this white flower. Take the green leaves off the flower. Mash up the green leaves into a paste and put it on the wounds.
And I was like, “No problem! I’m you guys! I can do this!”
So I go into the jungle, and he comes with me, he’s like, “There is right there.”
So I find the flower, and I take the leaves and I take him home and I’m super psyched, like, “Eff Western medicine! I can do this! I can do this!”
Mashing it up. Cutting it up. And then I apply it to my son. He had said, “You just gotta put it on a paste, stick it on there, and maybe put a piece of tape on there, right? So it stays. And the juices from these flower leaves will kill this parasite.”
Because the parasite cannot be killed by antibiotics it’s just a strong…. Papalomoyo is the real deal down there.
So I mash it up. Make this little paste. I put it on his face. I put it on his wrist . And then I’m like, “Okay. Now what?”
And he says, “Just wait.”
So he spends a couple days with this on his face I go down. We’re hanging out.
My neighbor sees us out in town, and he calls me over and he’s like, “Ethan, what are you doing, Man. What’s with your kid?”
I’m like, “I’m doing what you told me to do!” I uhh…
He’s like, “No.”
It looked like I just like stuck leaves on his face. Right?
And he’s like, “You gotta mash it up into a paste!
So he’s running around with his leaves taped all over him. I’m trying to be like a native. It’s not working.
So then I’m like, “You know what, I need to make, I should probably make sure that this is the right diagnosis, right? From my neighbor.”
So I go to a clinic. And the way we get down there, get around on there is on bicycles. And the more, the bicycles, you can fit up to five people on a bicycle down there. Those are called minivans. Gets her whole family on there? Anyway, it’s dangerous idea so we got one of those, where you have a seat on the frame, and we rode to the jungle about 3 miles up to Home Creek where there was a little clinic there. And this is like straight out of MASH, like 1970s. Old equipment. Not sure what’s going on.
I told him what the deal was I said, “I think he’s got papalomoyo.”
He’s like, “Okay let’s take a test.”
And so the test, so the whole idea, as I said before, everything is wet there. All the mushrooms growing. There’s just fungus everywhere. So the wounds of mosquito bites — it takes forever to heal, because they need to dry out. And so I’d watch him at night, trying to see if his wounds are drying out, and they get a little bit drier, so I think, right?
I took him to this test. And the way that they test to see if it’s a parasite, they take a razor blade, scrape open the wound to get inside and to see what the to get the parasite and put it on a microscope. So I’m watching this as he takes out the razor blade and he’s scraping my child’s face. He’s screaming.
I’m like, “What the hell is going on?!” I’m about to freak out. And it gets over. There’s blood. There’s… I’m like, “Dude I’ve been spending weeks try to get this dry! Thank you! For opening it up again!”
And they said, “We’ll contact you with the results.”
I bike down back to my house in the jungle, and we get the results, and sure enough, it was papalomoyo. The doctor says you need to take this heavy-duty shot if you want to get rid of papalomoyo.
All the locals, the natives, the homeopathics: “Don’t do the shot! You don’t know what’s in the shot! Chemicals!”
And I was like, “Yeah that sounds horrible.”
So my other neighbor said, “You know what you should do?
[internal laughter and an aside] Bad Advice number two.
“You know what you should do? You go…go into the jungle, again, farther down, and there’s a woman there that does energy healing.”
I don’t know what I was thinking. I know. I could be arrested for neglect. Honestly.
So I was like, “That’s what i’m going to do. Instead of get the shot. Because the shot sounds horrible!”
So we go into the jungle farther and we find this little bamboo hut. And we walk in there. It is very very very nice. It’s calm. There is water running. There is a massage table, yoga mats. I’m like, “Yes. This is what I’m talking about. This is gonna cure my kid!”
So, he’s three. He is oblivious. He’s got these festering wounds. He’s playing with toys, and this woman is telling me to connect with him by putting my hand on his head, and thinking about him, and good thoughts. And once we get that energy connection we’ll be able to transform the healing powers that I can give onto him and get rid of this parasite. All in Spanish.
I’m like, “I think I understand.”
This isn’t working!
This is three weeks now, and these these these these wounds are getting huge. And it’s it’s it’s horrible! I can’t sleep at night. I wake up in the middle of the night with flashlights, just checking him to see if they are getting smaller, to see if they’re drying out. If the mosquito nets are tucked in. But he’s got more bites. Just neurotic! Obsessed! On the health of my child.
Ultimately, I can’t take it anymore. I can’t take anymore. I go back to the clinic with them and I was like, “Sign me up for the shots.
So they bring out..so it was like, “Okay.”
And they get it ready. And they bring out this huge ass needle! My my kid is this big, okay? And this needle is gigantic! Because it’s got to be an inter-muscular injection right? It’s not just a little thing. You got to go right in the top your rear right here and deep so it can penetrate and get in. And it’s supposed to kill everything.
So I don’t know how to explain this to my three-year-old son. Like, “Listen, we’re going to do this.”
He doesn’t know what’s going on. I’m scared as hell. I just wanted, I just want to heal these wounds, you know? So it’s me, this Costa Rica nurse, this MASH clinic, and we put my son on the table and the needle comes out.
And he’s like, “Waiiiit a second!” But not so calmly. He’s like freaking out.
It takes me and the nurse about two minutes to pin this kid down on his stomach while she gives him this interscope…intramuscular injection in his butt. And that was, that was intense. That was intense. And still think about that today.
And then she goes to me, and she goes, “Okay, you just have to come back for nine more of those.”
“10 days of this will get you free.”
And I was like, “Nine more shots like that? I don’t know if I can handle this!”
[timestamp 12:47:973 — transcription to be completed next week. Editing the podcast, including transcription, to this point, has taken me 5.5 hours & I need a break. I am disappeared for a few days & this is being scheduled for publication. — Marc Moss]
Transcript : Audience Participation
First one. These are anonymous “Bad Advice” stories that you submitted.
Marc: I called in a bomb scared to hide the fact I was late for school again my friend gave me bad advice.
Lauren: Alright. The worst advice I ever received just so happens to be conventional cliché wisdom on love. To marry someone who gives you butterflies in your stomach. What this common advice fails to realize or mention is that sometimes these people give us butterflies, these people who may even be soulmates are not necessarily the same people we are meant to spend the rest of our lives with. Sometimes these people are meantto come into our lives for very specific reason, to teach us something about ourselves or to challenge or better us in some way. But when it comes to marriage, and the rest of your days, I’d say finding someone who, with whom you share a deep friendship, uncanny communication, and calm understanding is a more fulfilling route. Someone is a more…. Someone who brings you an incredibly sensing, sense of lasting peace rather than a relatively fleeting feeling of joy.
Marc: By the way, this is my friend, Lauren Ciampa everybody. Hope I said your name right. Close? Okay.
Bad Advice: I was once dared to moon another party bus while on a brewery tour down the Bitteroot. The party bus turned out…[laughter] …the party bus, in quotation marks, turned out to be a bus of fifth graders on a Saturday adventure. Unfortunately the chaperone at the kids bus didn’t find it as funny as my friends did.
One month later in court, [laughter] the judge forgave me of my sin and asked if I was indeed an astronomy teacher as he suspected.
Lauren: Once when I was 7, 55 years ago, my oldest sister passed through the kitchen with a glass of vinegar on the way to the bathroom. I asked what the vinegar was for. She said it was for her hair.
“Do you drink it?” I asked.
“Sure,” she said.
“Can I have some for my hair?” I asked.
“Have all you want! I can get more.”
So I drink the glass of vinegar. Today I am bald.
Marc: What’s wrong with bald?
It was my first year teaching high school English and was every teacher’s favorite time of year: homecoming. I was put in charge of supervising the sidewalk decorating team while they drew huge victory murals in the parking lot. With sidewalk chalk.It was a long time to stand around with teenagers getting pumped up for the big game.
After they have drawn on much of the sidewalk, and part of the parking lot, one of the more artistic, seemingly upstanding seniors asked if they could draw on the side of the brick school wall.
I said, “No”, automatically.
But then he said very politely, “It will show our school spirit and it is going to rain this weekend anyway.”
In my first years teachers brain, it made sense! So they did!
A while later my principal wondered by, wandered by and asked “Who let them draw on the wall?”
The look of disappointment on his face when I fessed up is forever etched in my brain. Don’t trust teenagers!
Lauren: When we were five and eight, my sister and I overheard our dad tell our mom, “Someone should scoop up the shit in our yard from the neighbor’s dog and put it in their mailbox!”
Well, we filled the neighbors box with said shit.
They watched us do it and told our parents, who laughed, then made us scrub it out.
Marc: Bad advice. I told my younger roommate that peanut butter was a hidden gem as far as sexual lube goes.
[aside] Oh, it gets better.
Next day I went to make my usual PB&J sandwich, I noticed that my extra crunchy peanut butter was significantly more empty.
Lauren: My friend and hiking partner advised us that we didn’t need a map to find Stanley Hot Springs because he had been there before.
[aside] This is familiar.
It was February and had only been there in the summer. Still, four of us follow him into the wilderness.
Five hours late, with snow up to our upper thighs and one hypothermia member later, we camp on the trail.
The next morning we slowly hiked out without finding without finding the hot springs.
Marc: Okay last one.
Bad advice: Everything that comes out of my best friends mouth. Example die your hair purple.
I think that’s good advice!
Transcript : Lost in Kauai
So not every Alaskan vacation is all cracked up to be. And some Alaskan vacations are way more than they should’ve been. Which was the case about four years ago when for the first time I went to the Hawaiian island of Kauai. I do love adventure, and I did the normal touristy things of laying on the beach, playing in the surf, having a Mojito or two, and having grown a little bored with those things I wanted to kick up the adventure level.
So I found a Hawaiian guy who was standing on the beach, and I said, “If you only had three days left in beautiful Kauai what would you do?
And really without hesitation he said, “Lost Trail Man.”
I said, “That that sounds really hard to find.”
He said, “No problem. I’ll draw you a little map.
And he sketched out a map, a bunch of dirt roads with no names where I would come to a small footbridge and a small break in the jungle, which marked the beginning of the trail. No sign. So I should known at that point that was very bad advice, but I was pretty excited about the adventure. The next morning, or afternoon actually, about 3 o’clock, [laughter] I started the journey in my rental car.
And pretty miraculously, I’d say, I found a little break in the jungle after about an hour and a half of driving. And I thought, ‘this must be the trailhead because I don’t see anything else and it’s getting late’. So I threw a few things in my backpack and took off and very quick pace. About 2 miles in I came to an opening in what’s called Waimea Canyon. It’s 3000 feet deep, it’s 10 miles long, and is just spectacular. I’m taking pictures. There’s waterfalls in the distance. The lava, over time has turned red and I thought, ‘this is amazing’. And that should’ve been enough.
But I wanted more!
So I looked at the map, and you know when you start doing this, you probably should go back.
But I went forward. And the trail, after about another mile, it branched off. And there was no branch markings on this trail. So I stood in confusion looking down either one, and I remembered a Robert Frost poem [cheers, laughter] about standing at the crossroads where two roads diverged in the yellow wood [laughter] and I took the one less traveled by [laughter] and that made all the difference. [laughter] And it really did. It greatly impacted my life. [laughter] I decided I would take the trail most traveled by thinking that’s probably it. And so I went pretty happily. It’s now maybe an hour before sunset. I have a good 4 miles left according to his map. But it’s a loop so I should come back in the same place.
So the trail starts to fade and it fades so much I don’t even know if I’m on a trail. And I end up on this really steep, maybe 1,500 foot rockslide area. And I’m so nervous about the, the darkness coming that I keep going across it very tenderly and then realize, ‘this is crazy’. And I look back and there’s no way I was going back what I just accomplished. It was too scary. So I decided to go up. I’m clinging to the hill, and I finally get up to the top. There’s a little clearing and I see that’s what the jungle begins up there, and then I see these small yellow tape markings hanging from trees . And I said, “Eureka it’s a trail marker.”
So I went into the jungle and I went for about 15, 20 minutes and started looking around, and noticed there yellow things hanging everywhere like Christmas ornaments, and realize these were not trail markings. And then I went downhill, uphill, downhill. Next thing I knew it was completely dark. It was over. I was in the jungle at night.
I was pretty, pretty nervous because I had heard a lot of stories about wild boar with the tusks that could tear a man in two in seconds. And they ran ferral all over the island. So, I considered my assets: I had an empty Nalgene bottle which I started to fill with my urine.
[laughter] I had read that somewhere. Then you can recycle. So I added some liquid to the Nalgene, and then remembered I also had a cell phone, and of course there’s coverage in the jungle.
I turned it on. Not shockingly, no coverage. But in the darkness I just start crawling around desperately trying to find a place, and after about a half hour I found a 1″ x 1″ parcel that had one bar.
It was another miracle! So, instead of calling 911, I call my girlfriend at the time, and I told her, “Look I started off on this trail I’m not sure even where the trailhead is. I’m not sure where the trail is. I’m not sure how to get back to it. I think I’m spending the night here in the jungle.”
And then she said, “If you’re happy with this message, press one.”
I later heard this message I left, and realized, I was pretty impressed, because my tone of voice sounded like I was at the mall, and I’d be back just a little late for dinner!
So there I was in the night, just fearful of the wild boar. And sure enough after about four hours branches are starting to snap. And I hear something barreling down the hill towards me. And my heart explodes and I stand up with a burst of adrenaline and by the beard of Zeus, I got about 9 feet up in the tree.
For about 10 seconds before the branch broke.
I was back on the canopy floor. But still filled with adrenaline I found another branch, about as high, and I sat there for several hours not wanting any boar contact. Eventually, my ass got so sore, I didn’t care about getting bored. I sat down on the ground. And at that point a cold, cold fog came in, and the temperature must’ve dropped 20°. But I remembered the emergency poncho I had thrown in. Whose thickness could be measured in terms of atoms.
But I went ahead and I wrapped myself in that poncho, and I started shuddering, shivering and I thought for sure hypothermia was gonna take me down. But amazingly, I lived to sunrise. And it was the most beautiful sunrise I had ever seen. And so this time, a little wiser, I called 911. [laughter] And my battery warning started flashing, which, with this old phone, 2012, meant it could crash at any moment. So, I call 911, I get put on hold.
And I’m on hold for a minute, a minute and a half, and I’m watching it flash. This is it! And I get the captain of the fire department.
And at this point, he says, “Where are you?”
And I said, “Lost Trail.”
“I never heard of it.”
I said, “You’ve never heard of it?”
He said, “No, I’ve never heard of Lost Trail”.
I said, “I’m not sure to tell you. It’s somewhere in the Canyon.”
He goes, “Okay we’re going to get a GPS coordinate on you. Don’t go anywhere.”
And I said, “Oh, you, don’t worry about that I can, I can walk out of here. I got plenty of daylight.”
He goes, “No! No! No! No! No! Don’t go anywhere! Stay right where you are. You’ll get lost. The jungle, it all looks the same.”
What you should know in my mind, is I grew up with a mom who equated personal injury with the cost of medical care.
For example, one time when I fell off my bicycle with a big gash in my leg, I came in the house first thing she said, in compassion, was, “Oh, Shit!” And then, I’m not sure this is a rhetorical question, “Do you know how much that’s gonna cost?”
“I’m not sure. I’m eight years old. I’m bleeding profusely. I’m not sure I am capable of that calculation right now.”
“All right! Get my sewing kit!”
“Oh, please, Mom! No! I can see my femur!”
“All right get in the car! I guess I’ll take you to the hospital! There goes your allowance!”
So, yeah that’s how I grew up. So I did not want to incur this expense of being rescued. Because I had heard rescuing could be thousands of dollars.
He says, “I’m going to send a helicopter.”
I said, “Oh! No! Not necessary! Not necessary!”
He says, “No, that’s what’s gonna happen, and stay still. Turn your phone off of it’s about to die. We’ll call you in 20 minutes. So I turn my phone off. 20 minutes come, I hear a helicopter, but they’re on the wrong side of the canyon.
And so get back on the phone, I said, “You guys on wrong side!”
He said, “Is there any break in the foliage?”
I said, “No, there’s no break, it’s just trees,” I said, “But you’re, come to the other side.”
So they came to the other side and said, “We can’t see you.”
And then I remembered! The old tattered yellow poncho! I took it out of backpack and just started swinging it!
And sure enough they spotted it. And then my phone died. It was over. And then helicopter took off. I didn’t know what happened. I sat there in fear for another half hour. The helicopter came back. The guy breaks through the canopy on a wire. Incredible sounding.
[helicopter blade sounds]
And there’s leaves blowing everywhere. Scorpions and centipedes.
And he hooked me into a harness. So we’re like face-to-face. We break up through the canopy. And it’s amazing. And I think going into the helicopter, but the retraction stops.
And we’re just swinging below the helicopter!
And as we go over the canyon, I say to myself, “If this is $10,000, it’s worth every penny!” So I get the ride of my life. Until, we came to a clearing where the rest of the fire crew rescuers are waiting.
And then came the descent of shame.
From the heavens I was lowered down. Not a lot of words were spoken. I apologized and thanked them. And as we got in the fire truck, down these dirt roads, they said, “We’re going to take you to your car.”
I said, “Thank you,”
And as we drove, I was fearing they would ask the question. And sure enough they did.
“So, ah, what do you do for living?”
Now I knew I could tell them, there’s two truths. One is, I actually was a massage therapist, and also was an adventure guide. The year was divided in half. But I thought about all they done for me, and I thought, ‘I owed them something,’ so I said, “I’m a professional [choking for dramatic effect] adventure guide.”
And the guy driving, the captain said, “Are you kidding me?”
I said, “I wish I was was.”
The crew was laughing. He gets on, [laughter] on the CB radio, [laughter] and he says, [laughter] “You guys won’t believe this! The guy we rescued? He’s an adventure guide!”
And so I was. Thank you
Transcript : I Swear That’s Me!
I’m in the kitchen with my mom, she’s making tortillas, it’s after school, I’m a senior high school, and I’m trying to see if I can get permission to go to the high school football game. The go to the Chula Vista dance after. She wants to know who’s driving, who am I going with and what time coming back. So: Ed Bacon, he’s going Les Wanamaker, he’s driving. We’re going to get back at eleven.
My mom goes, “Well I like Les, he’s a nice guy.”
I go, “No, Mom, he’s a wimp and a spoiled brat and he never listens to nobody.”
So, she gives me permission. Later on, they show up. I’m going out to the front yard getting the car. It’s a two door. Ed opens passenger-side, I climb in the backseat. We’re all excited. We’re talking about how we’re gonna sneak down to TJ, which is Tijuana. We’re not really….
I hate to lie to my mom. But I wasn’t going to tell her that.
The thing is you could party in Tijuana if you were 18, but most of us were 17. So you need to either trunk it, get fake ID or use somebody’s draft card like your big brother’s. So, we had our stuff together. I had Dennis Graham’s temporary driver’s license. He just turned 18 and there was still time on it. Ed Bacon had his brothers draft card and Les said he had something. So, we’re cruising. It takes like 20 minutes to get to the border. We get there. I go, “Okay, so don’t forget, we gotta pull over where the upholstery shop is, leave our rig, leave our car, and it’s right there, we can see it, it’s safe, and we walk through separately, that way if anything happens youknow, we’re separate.”
So, Les goes, “No, I’m gonna drive. I’m not leaving my car there.”
I go, “Look, we’re gonna walk. It’s easier. We separate. We walk through. They don’t even care! Man, we could do it all day long.”
“No, I’m driving! I ain’t gonna leave my car there!”
“First of all, you need insurance! Do you have it? For your car? And what if you come back and you’re drunk? You gotta go through the Mexican guys, you gotta… US guys. We’re gonna get popped.”
“Bobby says he he does it all the time. It’s cool.”
“Bobby? Bobby don’t even got a car!”
He says, “Just act relaxed. Go through. It’s Friday, they’re waving the cars through.”
I go, “Man, I don’t know. I don’t know. Ed, let me out!”
“Don’t open the door, Ed!”
So it’s too late to do anything anyway because we’re getting closer. And they’re waving all the cars. It’s Friday. And then, we show up and he’s goin’ “Hey guys, what your purpose in Mexico?”
“Dance. Meet friends.”
“You don’t look 18 to me!”
“Oh, well, we’re 18.”
“Pass your ID.”
Pass my Dennis Graham’s temporary driver’s license. Ed passes is Tom Bacon draft card. And Les, and the guy looks at. Les opens up this piece of paper, and it’s like, he took the driver’s test, and they give you a paper, and you sign it and date it and then take it home and your parents or guardian sign and bring it back and get your temper. He thought that that was the one. He changed the month so he would be 18.
And the guy goes, “So what’s this?”
And he goes, “Well, that’s my,I took my test.”
“Well you didn’t date it.”
“Well, what? Uh uh,” you know.
“And you and you have to have a guardian or parent sign it. So this is actually just a piece of paper! And and you’re driving illegally! So what I need you guys to do is pull in the inspection area.
That piece of shit.
So we go over there. They ask escort me and Ed into the office. They make Les sit on the curb away from his car while they go through the whole thing: run the statewide to see if he stole it, check all the things. I’m watching everything that’s going on.
Border guy in the office goes, “Who’s Dennis Graham?”
Because they had kept our ID.
“Okay. So, when’s your birthday?”
I had memorized it. “February…whatever”
“Um, I need you to sign your signature right here, because I’m going to compare,”
I’m goin’, [mimicks signing name] “Dennis P. Graham.”
I just guessed.
He goes, “Well, what do you think?”
I go, “I dunno.”
“I tell you what, sign your name 10 times and see if you can sign it the same way,”
And I’m thinking, “I can’t even sign my real name ten times the same way! Sign Dennis Graham’s!”
So I’m doing that,. Ed’s over there. Looks like he’s gonna die. We can see all the commotion! Okay time goes on because we sat there and waited.
Anyway I’m speeding this up.
So next thing you know I see Les’ parents there. His mom’s all “[high pitched emotional cryaing sound]” All emotional. And she…hands and stuff. And I see Les and it looks like he’s crying. Border guys are there and they’re looking our direction. I;’m thinking, “Oh, we’re screwed!”
Ed’s still quiet. Border guy comes in and goes, “Okay I’m gonna tell you something. I’m gonna ask you one time. Is this your draft card? Because it’s a federal offense if you use somebody else’s draft card.
“No, it’s my brother’s”
They walk Ed out. Big commotion. They drive away.
My two friends get in the…his dad’s car. His dad’s this big giant ex-Marine with a crewcut. Plumber. He’s got arms like that. And he just stood there and listened to the whole thing.
I see him drive away. See the mom take the car.
There I am alone. Denying everything. Lying through my teeth. I’m Dennis P. Graham.
The border guy comes in, goes, “Well Steve you ready to tell us your real name?”
I died a thousand deaths! How embarrassing! Busted! Again? Caught! Again? My mom is gonna kill me. Oh! How embarrassing!
I give my parent’s phone number. They come. Take about 20, 25 minutes. It’s Friday night. It’s busy. Here’s mymom and dad.
Now, my mom is like, that big. She’s like a Mexican Indian Aztec blood kinda…. She loves her kids to this day. But she don’t take no shit! She’s walking in, holding this purse, it’s like a gym bag. Growing up it had every single thing in it. She had a flashlight and pens and napkins and toilet paper, and when we had my little brother it was the baby formula and the diapers. We go to the show there’s a peanut butter and jam sandwich with a box of raisins and the grapes and the penny candy! It weighed a ton. And she’s just beating the shit out of me.
“Mom! Mom! Mom!”
Just wailing on me!
And my dad, he’s like that, because he’s always guilty doing some shit…
“Oh goddammit! Don’t do that! I taught you better than that!”
“Mom! I know but stop!” you know?
And was over I was just like, “Goddam!” I was fucking throbbing!
The border guys are like, you know. They explain what…all the shit I did. I get in the backseat, gonna drive home. It’slike 20, 25 minutes. It seemed like two hours!
I’m just back to throbbing. I’m aching going, “God! I’m going to be on restriction forever now.”
And then my mom starts. “How could you do this to me? You embarrassed me. I was so ashamed! My son’s down at the border! You’re going to those whorehouseses! The prostitutes! With the disease!”
“Mom! I wasn’t…”
“And your brother’s in Vietnam, and he went to officer and cadet school and he’ll go to flight school and the security and you’re going to ruin it for him….”
And I’m going, “Mom! Mom! Sorry!” God, I’m dyin’ there.
Here’s my thoughts: busted again. I was pissed. Mama tried to raise me better. But her teachings I denied Leaves only me to blame, ‘cause Mama tried, Mama tried.
Transcript : Oh, Balls! Don't Just Take the Antibiotics!
I am actually batting for my husband. My husband Clint was supposed to be here tonight he couldn’t make it, so if you are tweeting this: #weloveclint and give him a little bit of shit because he was the one who was supposed to be here. But something about marriage vows and being relief batter puts me here.
So here I am, relief batting for Clint. So let me tell you a little bit about Clint. Clint is crazy about Twitter and I never really got on the Twitter hook thing. He kinda poked me in the side, “Ah, yeah you got to get a Twitter account,”
And I said, “Ah, no I don’t. I’ve lived my whole life without this. Why do I need this?”
But he’s way into it. He’s got 2,781 followers. Which, I’m not really good at math, but that’s way more people than there are in this room tonight. So, when you have that many people on social media and something maybe goes a little awry and that’s tweeted to 2,781 people, it breaks the Internet. Um, well, maybe one Twitter account doesn’t break the Internet, but it does put a pretty significant ripple in it.
So this is one part social media and one part about our, our lives for the last couple months, and it’s funny, it’s not funny, and are some bad advice in there.
So, a few months ago, Clint starts coughing. Just this horrendous awful nagging cough. And being thesupportive wife that I am I said, “If you don’t fuckin’ go to the doctor, I’m gonna kill you, because I can’t wake up another night to you coughing!”
So, after my very persuasive argument for him to go to the doctor, he does. And he leaves with his token prescription for antibiotics, because I think if you show up with cough and have a temperature roughly in the 90s, you get a prescription for antibiotics. It’s just kind of the thing. And, he takes his antibiotics, they tell him he’s gonna be fine, “Here you go”.
This goes on. For about six months. In-N-Out In-N-Out. More antibiotics. More coughing. More threats of murder. Me contemplating if orange really is my color? Do I want to serve a life sentence for stabbing my husband and his sleep for coughing?
And the answer is: “Obviously not.”
Purple is kind of more my color.
So, this goes on. For months. And finally we have a little, uh, “lover’s quarrell”. Uh, some people call it a fight. I call it a lover’s quarrel. And he goes to the doctor and she says, “Huh. Maybe we should do some imaging, because it turns out, those antibiotics didn’t really do anything for you at all.”
And, that’s exactly what happens. So he goes to the doctor or, the emergency room. Eh, take your pick. There’s some doctors there, so I guess that qualifies. And after oh, six or seven rousing hours of blowing up latex gloves, trying to find all sorts of great ways to amuse yourself in the emergency room, of which there are about, one, and that’s blowing up gloves, they did some imaging on, on him. And, it was not good. It was the kind of not good where the radiologist takes one look at the imaging just goes, “Fuck.”
And as it turned out, Clint had cancer. So, clearly, we have now entered the upper level of, “Hmmm. Maybe antibiotics isn’t going to do the trick.”
I mean the guy could have been taking Altoids for really all the good it was doing him. And as it turns out, Altoids have far better side effects. Like: good breath.
So, life gets a little complicated at this point. And they admit Clint. And they schedule him for surgery. Because, as it turns out, this cancer came from his balls. This was the Lance Armstrong Cancer!
Oh, ball jokes galore!
“Lefty’s trying to kill me! I’ve got one ball, you know, like those Uniball pens? I’m their new spokesman!”
And I’m like, “Oh, this is great! We’ve got tumor humor! Ba dum da… tsssss!”
So, find humor wherever you can. So that’s how this cancer journey started for our family, on the bad advice of, “just take antibiotics and you’ll be okay.”
There’s some truth to that. If you don’t have cancer. So. We’re crying we’re laughing. We’ve got tumor jokes. We’re getting all the platitudes, you know, like, “you’re going to beat this.”
So, about then time that Clint’s getting whisked off to surgery, and he’s coming up with one ball jokes, and he just thinks this is great. And I’m going, “This is not great. You have cancer. There’s nothing great about this.
I grab his phone and I said, “Now listen. I’m not really into this Twitter bullshit. But you are. Do you want me to let your people, your disciples….
“…your tribe, your posse. Do you do you want me to kinda let them know what’s going on?”
And he goes, “Yeah, why don’t you do that.”
And so I tweet. And, boy, I came into the 21st-century in one hundred and forty characters. “Hey folks, this is Angela and Clint has cancer” I mean I don’t…what do you say?
And the Internet breaks down. So it was kind of a touching moment because now I’ve taking the reins for Clint and what might be like the Millennium Falcon of Twitter of the Twitter [laughter] I’m like, “Whoah! Like, I don’t even know, I’ve got a hundred and forty characters and I get to say anything?And I’m like, this is great. To two hundred and seventy one [sic] people even better!
So, Clint goes into surgery, he comes out, now we call him “Lefty.
And things are going pretty well. He’s doing his chemo. His hair falls out. I get shave his head. I offer to shave my head. He says no. I said yes. Ugh, well, he wins. So, this social media thing really takes off. And, we have these shirts now. We’ve got these wristbands now: “#weloveclint”, cause Clint’s in a bad spot. You know, he has cancer and that’s really where the power of social media comes in because if it were up to me this weird reclusive thirtysomething-year-old who’s like, “What is this Twitter garbage, I don’t even know what this is,” But they’d be like, “Clint’s wife? Who the hell is that?”
But this guy, he’s got it! He’s large and in charge and he’s got this Twitter persona and ball cancer. So, here we’ve got, who better to be the spokesperson for ball cancer, I mean besides Lance Armstrong, than Clint-Fuckin’-Miller? Who has, not only ball cancer, but two thousand seven hundred and eighty one people. And they’re tweeting and retweeting.
And this is the wrong, the wrong thing to affix to two thousand seven hundred and eighty one people.
But the reality of cancer is that it’s very expensive. And we did fall on hard times of course, ‘cause he’s not working I’m not working. And I’m trying to take care of him, and we’ve got the mortgage payment and bills and cancer bills and kids and a dog and cars and all of these things that people, well, adults, apparently, spend their money on. Because, as Marc said, I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. And apparently they spend a lot of money on tuition too.
So, social media really becomes Clint’s go-to for emotional support which, as his wife, you know, I could cross my arms over my chest and be like, “Huh, well what do they got that I don’t got?”
But the reality is that they actually do have something that I don’t have. And it’s not the vows, it’s certainly notmy dashingly good looks. It’s a certain amount of just being anonymous. And I kinda fell into that too because when I was at my worst for his cancer I, I could kinda retreat into ahundred and forty characters and anonymously just go, “You know guys, I’m really having a hard time with Clint having cancer and I’m really uncertain about the future and where this is going to lead.
So the reality is that it all comes back to this advice of, “Well, just take the antibiotics and you’ll be okay.”
Yeah. Maybe. Maybe it will be okay. But it won’t always be okay. Because the antibiotics? They’re, they’re great. I’ve had them, you’ve probably have them. I think everybody’s had them at least once in their life.
But when it comes to cancer, when it comes to your body…I’m kinda getting off track here. This is the good advice and the bad advice.
The good advice is: you know, you gotta listen to your body. You gotta know what is and is not right for you and after six months of coughing and your wife threatening to murder you, and coming up with plans as to where she could hide your body in forty-seven of the fifty states, that’s relatively bad advice.
So if I can give you any bad advice don’t just take antibiotics, run off to the pharmacy turn the other cheek and go, “No, I’m gonna be okay,” because the reason Clint’s not here tonight is because he died from that.
[collective breath from audience]
That’s why I’m here that’s why I’m relief batting. That’s our story. Don’t just take the antibiotics.
Transcript : The Suckerfish
I just got done with the hundred mile bike ride overnight trip with my girlfriend, Beverly. I’m sitting in a hammock. I’m drinking wine. I’m eating cheese. I’m at Purple Frog Gardens. I’m listening to the 750 chickens that I’m gonna have to close tonight and open in the morning and realize we had a great weekend. I’m tired exhausted and I’m gonna wake up with enough sleep that Monday morning will be great. I’m killing. Usually I don’t have a recovery day but this is this is a recovery day.
Another farmhand, Heather Ma, sees us out there, runs up and says that we’re doing everything correctly and I try to pat myself on the back and she just gets me.
And she says, You’re doing everything right, but doing one thing wrong.”
And I’m like, “What is that Heather?”
And she’s like, “You should be on the water.”
And I kinda look up. I look at the sky and I see where the sun is and I realize it’s pretty late in the afternoon. I don’t think I really want to go on a river trip on a river I’ve never been on this late in the day when I have to work Monday morning. But for those of you who don’t know Heather she was born in Billings, she’s been to the Yaak and back. She’s put a kid through school and well you just can’t beat her charm. And she told me I wouldn’t even have to paddle!
So we packed up the canoes and the rest of the farmhands to the farm and headed north pass Old Knee heading towards Trego. We stopped at the Stillwater Bar. Heather being true to her form and telling me this is gonna be a relaxing event decided that she would buy us some ranch soaked hush puppies and some cheesy fries.
I take a snort of whiskey. I put down a beer down my gullet and I walk outside the Stillwater Bar to look at the dock out there, which is a very peculiar dock for those you have not been there. It has a large log on it about two canoe links long sits in the water, takes about 2 tree huggers to wrap around. It’s covered in carpet. It’s fixed on two ends with a rod going through so it rotates. It is fun for the whole family. Some advice that I can give you is if you’ve never been on it don’t try to run. Then I look over at the Stillwater landing to the east where they have a brilliant stage the owners who have retired love music and I love to have shows. In this stage is beautiful great carpentry joinery it has 220 power hook up it’s got 110 hook up you could plug in 30 Marshall cabs cranking to 11 and you’re still gonna have a good show. I’ve seen the Dirty Dozen Brass Band play there, my friend Vinny with 20 Grand Funk band, Nuwave Time Trippers. And it’s a venue that you drive to and then park your car. They give you wristbands, you set up your tent and you go down to listen to music. You need to go back to the bar you can go to your tent it’s just a great venue.
At this point in time I was a farmer and a college student and my financial adviser a.k.a. my wallet is pretty empty. So I learned a little trick and if you wait till dusk there is a road that goes behind the Stillwater Lake and if you have a canoe you can canoe to that dock. You’re not going to be part of the club. You’re not going to get a wristband. But you can listen to free music. Well I decided I was done staring at the bar and the landing and the dock. We decided that we had to get this trip on the road. So we packed up and we go to the to the where we’re gonna take out to drop off the vehicle. We get there. We do the drop off, the shuttle rig.
We put the keys in the gas cap and there’s this couple sitting on the bridge named Dirk and Sally. They’re sitting in this brilliant weaved Kmart special low rider chair underneath the bridge with their feet in the sand and Ugly Stick mounted between the two of them with a line in the water and a bobber. Sally, she was really intent at staring at that bobber, but Dirk was the social one. So he came up to us and he was smart, clever. He could tell that we were not putting in there but we’re gonna take out there.
And asked us, “Where you guys putting in?”
And we said, “Oh up at the landing.”
He goes, “Really?!” and he takes out a piece of paper and he writes a little chicken scratch on it and handed it to our friend, Joel, JoJo. JoJo puts it in his pocket, and he says, “I want to give you my goddamn phone number. “If you guys see some sucker fish you better call me because I can put it in my garden to help with the corn.”
I think to myself, “What’s a sucker fish,” but I didn’t want him to know that I didn’t know. So I was just like, “We’ll do.”
We jump in the car, we take off, we’re heading down the road and I get this tug on my shirt from my girlfriend Bev and she goes, “Sean, what’s a sucker fish?”
“I don’t really know. I think they’re in the river.”
“Well what happens? How do we know we’re going to see them?”
I was like, “It will become apparent.” And somebody says, “That’s the end of that conversation.”
We get to the landing we put the boat in the water we have a canoe with me and Bev and my yellow dog named Yellow Dog. I have my other friends in another Stillwater boat. It’s a two-person breakdown canvas kayak. Very not made for any whitewater. We had one whitewater boat with Joel in it but it we made it a Stillwater boat instantly when we forgot the skirt for it. We were wearing flip-flops Crocs, you know the attire that we would not need to paddle and we start heading down the lake to the outlet which becomes the beginning of the Stillwater River.
We hear in the distance this lady and she’s on her dock. She has a house right there at the outlet and we hear, “You’re not gonna make it very far”. At this point, we’re having type one fun and I am committed and I was originally from New Hampshire and my state motto is “Live free or die.”
I respond with, “Thank you.” We continue downriver. We get to the first portage, the second portage, the third portage. We’re starting to have type 2 fun. Then we realize the river makes this huge oxbow bend. And we end up 6 miles from the shore at the point where we could hike back to shore but wearing Crocs and we don’t want to bushwhack that far so we keep portaging. We hit this strainer. This is whe type 3 fun come in. Joel loses his one of his flip-flops. Everyone makes it over the strainer but our boat. I’m in the canoe which has Yellow Dog in it. My friend goes to pull the boat in, the water goes over the gunnel, the boat flips over. I’m looking at the bottom of the strainer and I’m thinking to myself, “This is not drinking wine or eating cheese.” I figured, “This is my way out.” I found a hole, I’m going to swim through it and suddenly I stop moving, and I’m like, “This is where I die.”
Because when you’re in a strainer and you’re not moving that means you’re stuck. But luckily it was my friend, Leaf, with his brute strength somehow pulled me out of the water. I look at him we kinda have this bro moment. We don’t need to talk to each other we just know Yellow Dog is still in the boat that’s upside down. So we flip that over. Miraculously, Yellow Dog jumps out of the boat and just starts doing Daytona laps on the island, just high on life. It was an uplifting moment for the group.
And then, I don’t know if any guys got morel mushroom picking but you know when you’re looking for morels and you find that one and then they kinda come out of the woodwork. And you find more. Well that just happened but it wasn’t morels. I just realized that we were hiking in poison ivy for at least four hours. Right now at this point it’s pushing midnight, 1 o’clock in the morning. Type three fun is not fun. Joel, I told him the best thing, he can do is wrap his foot with his shirt since he only has one flip flop on. And we’re going to have to continue the portage. Some of us have decided to cover ourselves in mud, hoping that would extract the poison ivy out of her skin. We’re not having fun. We’re not talking. Sometimes you look over at Heather, all of us. Heather looks down. We look down.
Joel just starts laughing hysterically.
We’re like, “Joel, what is so funny?”
And he pulls this little piece of paper out of his pocket. He reads the phone number and goes. “I get it.”
We’re like, You get what?”
“Well, we’re the suckers.”
Transcript : Amsterdam, Not What I Had in Mind
When I was 21 I studied abroad in Tartu, Estonia.
I think this is movin’ down real fast!
[Microphone lowers because it was not properly secured. Marc fixes problem. Much laughter.]
Alright. Here we go. So….
When I was 21, I studied abroad in Tartu, Estonia in northeastern Europe, and I made a friend, Brian, from Baltimore. And our friendship was really a rivalry about who is the most badass, him being from Baltimore me being from Montana, obviously superior. And we decided we wanted to go to Amsterdam. We were in Europe and when were we going to go again? So we decided I would do the flights he would do the housing. I booked some kickass tickets, and a friend recommended we should Couchsurf. And, I have a Couchsurfed and it was a very positive experience. Brian never had, but was on board. And he messaged a few people on Couchsurfing and we heard back from 35-year-old British mailman, Simon, who had two couches for us at the end of November when we were planning to go. So. Alright, let’s do it. Amsterdam or bust. So we go to Amsterdam. We get there. And we take our bus all the way out to the outskirts of town, as instructed.
And, you know, there’s some construction sites and it’s an industrial area. But there are some apartment complexes. So off we go to find Simon.
We go into the first apartment, and we don’t see his name on the address, and we’re like, “Okay. It’s fine.”
We go to the next one. After about an hour, we can’t find his name on any of the apartments! So we’re a little nervous, but we’re fine. Y’know. We’re cool. We can handle this. And, we find a public phone and give him a call.
“Hey, Man, we’re at the bus stop. How do we get to your place?”
And he tells us, “Oh, you have to go through the industrial part. The construction site.”
Off we go.
We walked for about five or seven minutes, through warehouses, and we see this empty dilapidated warehouse with the address on it. And, a little nervous, and out walks this guy. With a mohawk and tattoos, and he’s got piercings. Like really punk. Not your Brit sipping tea. It’s Simon, the 35 year old British mailman! So while I’m taking in this abandoned warehouse in this strange person walking towards me, I have this internal monologue.
My father watched “Taken”, the movie with Liam Neeson? The week before I flew. For those of you who don’t know, it’s a movie where his daughter goes to Europe alone is kidnapped?
And I’m going, “Oh shit! My dad’s an elementary school principal and does not have the special set of skills that I’m gonna need of this happens!”
But, I looked to my right, and Brian is there, and there’s no way he’s going to see see me flinch. So we follow Simon into this warehouse.
Turns out, they’re squatting. It’s just: empty warehouse in Amsterdam. Doesn’t have electricity, there’s no plumbing, no heat. But what they make up for, or what they don’t make up for in electricity, they make up for in other Couchsurfers!
There were at least seven other people there that had all been accepted by Simon.
Okay. To be polite, we all you know, go around and introduce ourselves.
And there’s this one girl, and she’s like, “Oh, I’m from Idaho.”
I get super excited! Go to shake her hand, and she stands up, and just: fairy wings!
And I was like, [to self] “Not quite the support I was hoping for, in this environment. Okay. We’re fine.”
And so, it is Amsterdam, and everyone passing around a couple joints. So Brian are like, “Yeah, this’ll calm us down, relax us. Let’s do it!”
So we’re smoking a couple joints, and I don’t know anything about weed, but I know it’s not supposed to be really sweet? And so, after a couple times, it’s kinda like, “This is really sweet what’s going on here?”
And one of the random Couchsurfers goes, “Oh yeah! We put some mushroom honey in that!”
To which, you know, [to self] “Excuse me? You did what now?”
This is exactly where I want to be: squatters house in Amsterdam, with mushrooms! Totally normal! Okay! I’m fine! This is gonna be okay.
And then the girl from Idaho suggested we go out to a concert of the band Portugal the Man, who actually really like. They’re from Portland. They’re familiar. I’m like, “Let’s get out of this environment and go to one I might react to a little better.”
We walked for about an hour and we get to this venue that’s this is old church that they’ve repurposed into a music venue, and it’s really cool scene. But they kept the stained glass windows and I don’t know if this was the building or the drugs but there were some weird demonic imagery! [laughs] [laughter] That didn’t sit too well with me.
But the show was really wonderful. And it calmed us down. You know, we were able to enjoy whatever happened. And then it was time to go back to our home? Abode? I don’t know what to call it.
We went back and Simon, who had not, uh, he didn’t come to the show with us, decided that Brian andI should have our own little space. Which was fine. Except, because there is no heating, we were further from the water heater that they had cut a hole in and put wood to burn, and had about maybe 10 feet of warmth. So that was a little disappointing. But, you know, we didn’t need to be with everybody else, so.
Into our little closet sized room we went. And this room, there were two windows. There was no glass, it was just the, like, plastic construction sheeting kind of covering it up. And again, we’re at the end of November. And Amsterdam, as far as like longitudes, it’s between Calgary and Edmonton, so it’s *really* cold. But, um, the windows are not there. There is a bare mattress on the floor. And a small little table. Because no electricity: they had candles, in a pentagram.
So at this point I’m convinced I’m going to be sacrificed.
But, can’t let Brian see me sweat! Everything’s cool! So I ask him, “Hey Brian, which side do you want?”
And he says, “I want the side closer to the wall. You can sleep by the windows.”
So as I’m putting my coat and my hat and scarf and gloves on, muttering “Chivalry is dead, you Asshole,” you know.
I curl up, and there’s this big lumpy pink blanket with like, David Bowie lightning bolts on it, but I dunno. But it’s all we had so we were going to make do. And Brian went to go take out his contacts in some reflective surface. He found the bathroom I don’t know what the plumbing situation looked like, but they did have a sink which was a mannequin’s leg and a bowl on top.
It, I mean, it, I, no questions.
So Brian came back and he put all of his you know, warm stuff and crawled in next to me, and just goes, “Oh! Ew! Ugh! There’s something here!”
So I grab a candle, ‘cause there’s no light. And I pull back our blanket. And there is a huge pile of nasty vomit!
[huge groans from crowd. laughter]
Just chillin’. Right there. Yeah.
And we’re both just like, “Oh my God!”
I’m secretly thinking, “Karma’s a bitch! You sleep in the vomit! I’ll take the cold window!”
So we grab a little towel, and wipe it off, and put it down, and he sleeps on top of the towel.
And we actually went to sleep and woke up. Alive. No sacrifices took place. But we were broken. And we, we made eye contact and we’re just like, “I can’t, Man! This was the worst thing I’ve ever done! I can’t do it again!”
It was mutual defeat, so, it was okay.
Luckily, there is a guy who went to my university that I met one time, but he was studying abroad in Amsterdam.
Public library Facebooked him, “Hey, Man! Can I sleep on your floor? ‘Cause I slept in vomit in a squatter’s house last night.”
And luckily he was very generous and accepted. But because it was the Thanksgiving weekend his dad and two other friends were there. So, six of us wedged into aone room apartment.
But now that, now whenever I hear someone say, “I’m going to Amsterdam.” I like to say, “Oh, I’ve been to Amsterdam! Might I recommend a hostel?”