Come rush me to the gates of heaven
Let me picture for awhile
How I lived for my days as a child...
--Makaveli, "Hold Ya Head"
Part I -- Part II -- Part III -- Part IV -- Part V
4:30 PM - Our son Jalen appears to be somewhere between asleep/awake and mild discomfort/unmitigated agony. We're back in our room, because Mrs. Bootleg's GPS phone couldn't pull up accurate directions to the closest Urgent Care. The wife is now calling Urgent Care directly and simultaneously cross-referencing their directions with Google Maps. Jalen is curled up in the fetal position on the couch, cupping his aching ear, but manages to weakly ask, "Can we go swimming?" Helpless maternal moments like this usually melt Mrs. Bootleg's heart. Instead, it appears to be "go time"...
4:31 PM - "You need to change shirts", Mrs. Bootleg declares in my direction. Earlier in the day, I spent almost an hour running around the kids' diamond at the Cleveland Indians' spring training site. Can y'all believe she's worried about a socially awkward moment within the borders of a state we don't live in and doctors we'll never see again? I trade out my mildly stinky A's t-shirt for a clean A's t-shirt. Mrs. Bootleg and the boy are still wearing their A's t-shirts. Collectively -- away from the ballpark -- we look ridiculous. In all seriousness...what will everyone in Arizona think when they see us? What will the doctors think?
5:15 PM - Back home in San Diego, the Urgent Care (or emergency room) facilities are conveniently located next to other medical providers. In Arizona, we landed at an Urgent Care in a strip mall. Across the parking lot was a Wal-Mart and right next door was a Dunkin' Donuts. We were literally just a few hundred feet from being underneath a freeway on-ramp. 15 years ago, I'd have made an obvious "judging from the surroundings, the only doctor I expected Jalen to see was Dr. Dre" joke. (Today, I'll point out that it's been 15 years since Dre dropped his "Keep Their Heads Ringin'" single. 15 years!)
5:45 PM - Nothing like the waiting room at Urgent Care. A gentleman just walked in with an absolutely gaping leg wound. His half-assed self-bandage job is a crimson mess. He was like the inverted version of this guy. Silently, I thought to myself, "He needs a doctor NOW." I turned to Mrs. Bootleg and verbally shared the loose translation, "Glad we got here before HIM."
6:30 PM - Jalen's diagnosed with a moderate ear infection. He'd caught a pretty bad cold about a week before our vacation, which eventually morphed his current ear issues. The doctor prescribes antibiotics and directs us to the pharmacy at Wal-Mart. With any luck, we could be back in our room before sundown.
6:40 PM - Of course. Wal-Mart won't fill the prescription because it's too close to the pharmacy's 7:00 PM closing time. As a point of reference, I pulled the same bullsh*t on paying customers who wanted me to fire up the blender for a milkshake or smoothie 20 minutes before closing time, back when I managed an ice cream shop in college. I was 20-years-old and couldn't have been more transparently lazy. The difference between a frozen dessert for drunken douchebags and medicine for a sick child is beyond incalculable. Be grateful Mrs. Bootleg grudgingly agreed to leave peacefully, Wal-Mart. You wouldn't like her when she's angry.
7:30 PM - We drove to FOUR more pharmacies before finding one still open at this apparently crazy hour. Mrs. Bootleg is half angry black woman, half unstable explosive at this point. And, everyone within this 24-hour CVS had better hope the "angry black woman" half doesn't win this schizophrenic tug-of-war.
8:30 PM - Back in our room, as Jalen has washed down his meds with a nutritious ice cream cookie sandwich
9:00 PM - Jalen is barely hanging on to consciousness, but he won't let go until he makes it to the end of the televised hockey game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Phoenix Coyotes. He'd had a long day, so I presented him with the stupid paternal promise: "You can stay up until the end of the game". What was I thinking? I was thinking that a six-year-old African-American child wouldn't stay up until the end of a hockey game. Instead, he watched the Coyotes rally from a goal down in the third period. He watched the entire overtime. And, he was inexplicably riveted when Radim Vrbata won it for Phoenix in the shootout. Jalen's "NOW we can go to bed" declaration was the highlight of a day (and night) that ended up being pretty
Sunday, March 21
9:00 AM - The Dunkin' Donuts Waffle Breakfast Sandwich awaits. My readers had drawn their own battle lines on this lightly-read blog. Some loved it, some loathed it. The Waffle argument needed a definitive voice and at the Dunkin' Donuts roughly 15 minutes down the road, I found it:
"I don't think we're selling that in Arizona, sir. I know we don't have it here."
NEXT: The final part of this insanely long travel diary...from Las Vegas!