Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Bloody Nose

It was the damndest thing!

I had been sitting at the hotel bar for 20 minutes and had another hour before the shuttle would come to take me to the Denver airport. My second Fat Tire draft sat half full in front of me. The meeting I was attending was supposed to go for two and a half days but the last half day was canceled – scratch that – it was squished into the second day. My choices were to either stay over another night or I could take the red-eye back to Boston. Since I was having trouble sleeping in the hotel bed anyway – I figured I might just as well have trouble sleeping on the plane and be home 15 hours sooner.

Earlier I had picked up a book for the airport. My choice was The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy (now a major motion picture from Universal Pictures – I feel obligated to toss in that in). I was reading about the boxing match that happens early in the book between the two main characters – Lee Blanchard and Bucky Bleichert.

In the book – Bleichert landed a wicked blow to the nose of Blanchard. Suddenly it felt like a tiny water balloon had popped in my right nostril. My initial hope was that it was just a sudden runny nose but I knew better. I quickly grabbed for a cocktail napkin and placed it up to the nostril. When I looked at the napkin half red and half white my nose bleed was confirmed.

Nothing like this had ever happened to me before.

It took five or six cocktail napkins to stem the flow of blood. The blonde female bartender with the English accent tried to pretend that she had not noticed. The restaurant hostess standing not five feet away just stared straight ahead doing her best Sergeant Shultz, “I see nothing” impersonation. However, the guy bartender who years ago could have been a defensive back or a hockey player came over with a trash bucket and scooped up the bloody napkins.

“Nose bleed?” said he.

“Yes,” said I.

“It happens all the time to people who come out here from humid climates. After a couple of days the dry air causes the inside of the nose to crack and then pop” the bartender explained.

“Maybe” I replied but I had never thought of New England as a humid climate and I couldn’t help thinking that I had played contact sports all my life and never had a bloody nose like this. I had played football, basketball, rugby and even boxing and never had an experience like the feeling of the tiny balloon filled with blood that just exploded in my right nostril.

It was the damndest thing.

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