It’s Crystal Clear that Being a Bully Takes Its Toll

You can get very tired in Bali, despite a healthy diet, intake of recommended vitamins and a normally manageable schedule. Even if you add to the equation self-inflicted late nights, bouts of insomnia and inadequate exercise (thanks to the horror of rabies), there’s something else that saps your energy.

It’s the sheer physical and mental drain of getting things done: normal things, regular little tasks that are a part of life. It’s the pressure of knowing that after the initial pleasantries, you have to be persistent, even aggressive, to get a result.

And if that forceful side of your nature doesn’t seethe to the surface of its own accord, possibly because you are just too exhausted to give it passage, you have to dig it up, fire it up and … become a bully. And the certain prospect of that is just as fatiguing as the activity itself.

Thoroughly fed up with being prevented by packs of suspect dogs from safely resuming morning walks about the Bukit, The Playmate and I headed to a hospital to start our course of anti-rabies vaccine. I’d done the homework, by email and personal consultation. All previously obtained information was consistent, but not with facts dispensed on the day.

The number of injections required was different and the period between them too (they’d given me the post-exposure panic schedule) and this actually did make a difference, because of travel plans. All that had to be sorted after a security attendant had inspected the car and ceremoniously ushered us into the car park, whereupon a colleague tried to direct us straight through the exit as the car park was full. “There is no parking outside and we have an appointment,” I barked several times, depleting far too much of the small reserve of energy that remained after the stress of negotiating the madness on the roads.

He looked at my handbag. I mustered the strength to shoot back thought waves: Not today, Sunshine. No money for you today. I’ve got five things on my To Do list and I’m not in the mood. “What are all those taxis doing in this cark park?” I rasped. “Move the taxis.” And that little piece of bullying obviously hit home as he quickly offered to park the car.

“Which one of you is sick today?” the nurse asked. Oh boy. I’d certainly imparted reason for consultation when making the appointment. It was a detailed discussion which established that the required vaccine was in stock. Wasn’t there a note in the files? Hang on, there was only one file. Someone had assumed I was “sick” (perhaps they’d seen the car-park scene) and that The Playmate was tagging along for the fun.

The doctor chimed in: “Which one of you is sick today?” “Me,” I mustered the energy to whisper. “Me. I feel sick now.” Don’t be silly, breathed The Playmate wearily. The doctor insisted: “Which one, please?” I sank on to the consultation bed and closed my aching eyes. Presumably The Playmate found the strength to sort it. I’ve got a plaster on my arm so I must have been jabbed with something.

‘OK, OK, Missus. We send to Jakarta.
We repair. But you must pay.’

The process of making the follow-up appointments was just so exhausting that The Playmate startled me with his exuberant announcement, while we searched for our car, that one thing could be crossed off the list and there were only four to go.

Wearily, I deposited four pairs of spectacles on the counter of the optician, from which we’d bought all four sets of rather complicated lenses and expensive frames, and pleaded for inner strength. We’d been back once to show the unacceptable deterioration of the “super-duper anti-reflective” surface coating on the lenses. “It’s not the surface (which is guaranteed); you have mishandled your glasses and scratched the glass underneath,” we were told.

Hmmm … guaranteed “protective” surface coating but not what’s underneath? We took the glasses to another outlet of the same operation, hoping against the odds for more satisfaction. We visited two nearby and competing opticians. Same story.

A tourist with optical experience examined the glasses and diagnosed scratching of the coating and not the glass. An overseas optician advised that only top-quality surfacing coating will last in the tropics.

So, with lassitude but an enormous effort to arouse some attitude, I offered my back-stop prescription sunnies, now 10 years old and purchased in Hong Kong, to the staff. “Can you see through these?” Collective nod. “These are my sports glasses. They get treated rough. But you can’t see through these ones, can you? These are yours. Much younger. Bad quality.”

“OK, OK, Missus. We send to Jakarta. We repair. But you must pay…”

I’m tired and I think we’ll go home. Two off a list of five is a fine achievement. We’ll do the rest tomorrow, I lie, knowing we’ll be too tired.

Of course, the strain of not being able to see properly for two years must have contributed to my overall exhaustion. And as I watch our occasional nightly hour of television through 10-year-old sunglasses, it all becomes so much clearer.

LC
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