hot Vietnamese essence
Monday, October 4 2004
The weather is now decidedly colder than it was when this drainage project began, though my outfit has hardly changed. I used to work completely in the nude when I was completely concealed by both the walls of the trench and the house. Now, though, I'm working in a shallow trench on the west side of the house, so I have to wear shorts. Because of the morning chill, I've added a teeshirt. But my feet are still bare; it's much easier to clean bare feet than shoes. Sometimes all the cold water and muck saps away so much heat from my feet that they actually go numb, especially when temperatures are down in the fifties. I suspect that all this numbness and associated poor circulation has made it difficult for my feet to fight infections, both of the bacterial and of the fungal variety. Two days ago, as you'll recall, I had something of a bacteriological scare when an infection bloomed overnight at the base of the big toe on my left foot. Today I had another sudden infection, this time of the fungal kind. I took a nap in the late afternoon and everything was fine. By 7pm the searing pain from athlete's foot around my left pinkie toe was so bad that it actually woke me up.
Part of the cure for this condition was some sort of commodity athlete's foot cream. But the other seemed to be dictated by my appetite. I made pasta with an extremely spicy pinto bean sauce, using those Vietnamese peppers I wrote about a little over a month ago. Originally the plan had been for me to prepare dinner for both Gretchen and myself, but the sauce proved far too hot for my wife. It seems I'd overdone it with the peppers, and probably with the garlic as well. Incidentally, this particular variety of pepper imparts a very unusual kind of heat to the food it is prepared in. It's not the kind you feel in your mouth. Instead, it mostly affects the back of the throat. Somehow, though, it feels like health itself. I know my feet lie out on the fringe of my body, on the wild west frontier where microbes have their best chance of burning villages and raping the womenfolk. But it's difficult to imagine bacteria and fungi surviving for long even there when I have that hot Vietnamese essence circulating through my system.
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