Twists and Roundabouts

I’m wrenched awake by a gut-churning headache. It might be the altitude. I’m in a tent somewhere in the mountains, long before dawn, far from home. I fumble around in my backpack for my ‘Vitamin I’ (Ibuprofen) and realize that I’m all out. Oh, shit.

I force my agony-fogged brain to calculate.

Continuing the hike as planned goes in the ‘ha ha’ basket. Once I get a headache like this I need drugs or I’m out of action for days. For this reason and many others I would never have survived in the pre-industrial era.

I can drive into the nearest town pretty easily. Problem is, it’s 4am. Pharmacies won’t open until 10. I could get home by then, take the drugs there, then sleep in my own bed.

Can I get home? Physically, can I drive that far in this condition?

Maybe not, but it looks like the best of a bad set of options. My study of the Stoics shall be tested. I cannot control painful events, but I can choose how to react to them. On this occasion I choose to react by spitting obscene language and furiously kicking objects that get in my way as I start gathering my stuff.

Bending down is a really bad thing for headaches. Probably that’s what extraordinary rendition camps do to suspected terrorists. Induce a headache then scatter a bunch of irresistible goat porn on the cell floor. You know what else really requires a lot of bending down? Packing up a tent. My condition worsens until I

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