On the cab trip this morning to the office (yes, working on a Saturday), I was explaining nuances of the English language to my driver (Korean). While driving to the office, the roads are buckling and also have large pot holes. After driving over one of the buckles, I said, "ka THUNK!" He asked me if that was Native language for something. I said, well no, it's sort of an onomatopoeia. An onomatopoeia is when a word is what it sounds like. An example might be "BARK!" or "Meow." As we go over the road, the tires go ka THUNK!
He sort of glazed over. Imagine that.
And back to the rest of the ER story:
The cab drivers in Bethel represent a large and diverse population. Mostly Korean, some Albanian, a few from here and there, they are all hard working, aggressively seeking the most customers for the trip. Everyone pays for the cab, not split between riders like in New York.
I noticed on the night of my famed ER visit, I was not headed in the direction of my abode. Instead, headed the other direction. I quickly voiced my concerns, the driver said, gotta check something. We pulled into a little side street, where there were two women, arguing, a police officer and a large SUV marked “Bethel Police.” Alarmed, I said, uh, I think we should leave. Gotta check, gotta check. One of the women flew into the back seat. Usually, Alaskan Native people are very quiet, almost shy, not so once they begin drinking. The driver then waited for the second woman. Both were intoxicated and very loud.
They were doing all of the typical things intoxicated people do: loud, vulgar, flirting with the driver, and generally being obnoxious. I sat very quiet, just wanting to go to bed. I just prayed they wouldn’t become violent. I very quietly said, now? can we go?
Fortunately, we went straight to my residence and I quickly paid the driver and got out of there, but not before I was the recipient of several comments about my disheveled state. All I wanted was sleep.
So weak, I barely made it into the house and up to my rented room. But once there, I fell blissfully asleep. I awoke the next morning, feeling not quite dead, but not really alive. I made the decision to stay in Bethel and address issues in the local schools, rather than flying out to a village.