WHAT IT BE, Y’ALL?! Today was Hump Day, a name that I misunderstood for years if I’m being completely honest. But now I get it: it’s code for Wednesday.
Now, let’s get down to brass tacks here. I’ve been taking picture requests from my readers (and I’ll be doing that all week, so feel free to suggest your weirdest ideas to me), and reader Ellen suggested a CAMEL PICTURE for HUMP DAY. Not exactly what I’d consider weird, but lucky for you I am weird, and I just happen to have a weird little camel story for you.
Fifteen years ago, I went on a fantastic trip to the Holy Land and Rome with Franciscan University at Steubenville. Firstly, an open apology to all who may have accompanied me on that pilgrimage: I am sorry for what I did on the trip and I want you to know that I no longer travel with packages of fake spiders and bugs. Those days are over and I now carry myself like a lady.
When we were in the Holy Land, it was …oh man, it was the trip of a lifetime. Visiting the tomb of Christ? His birthplace? The crucifixion site? All of it was amazing. Some of my most powerful experiences of feeling the presence of God happened when I was in the Holy Land. Truly life changing.
Then I had another kind of life – changing experience. We came upon a man and his camel. You could ride the camel for , I don’t know, probably some dumb amount of money that I don’t remember. All I can tell you is that being middle eastern, I felt OBLIGATED to take a ride on a camel. Really. The whole “camel jockey” thing? It was about to be REAL.
OH BUT GUESS WHAT???!! Unfortunately, I was not aware (aka NO ONE TOLD ME) that this camel was legit INSANE. Yeah. Farmer Ali Babba over there failed to tell me that. (I can make those jokes, okay?? I can make them). So how was I supposed to know? The camel seemed totally normal when I handed the guy my cash. That camel stood around like any other camel I’d ever seen at the zoo or in those Camel cigarette commercials, minus the lung dart. He gave no indication that he was under duress or contemplating suicide or any of that sort of thing, WHATSOEVER.
All he was supposed to do was walk around in a circle with me on his back. That’s all. This wasn’t a trip up Mount Sinai, for crying out loud.
At first, everything was going real swell. I was waving at people, smiling like I was in a parade. “LOOK AT ME!!” I yelled. “I’M RIDING A REAL LIVE CAMEL!!! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT???!!! LOOK AT ME UP HERE!!! I FEEL THE WIND IN MY HAIR!!! I FEEL GRAND!!”
People waved back and stared at me. I didn’t know any of them. They didn’t even speak English, but they nodded at me anyway just to be nice. They looked like they were having a good time watching me. Then they started waving their arms a lot and yelling. I guess they were excited, too. I don’t know what they were saying because I wasn’t familiar with the language. Probably they were saying, “Go, guuurl!” in Hebrew. I don’t know. I’ll never know.
At some point, the camel probably let the whole “no water” thing get to him. Really. I think he must have finally let the dehydration go to his head and he started hullicinating and having evil thoughts. “Let me try my hoof at killing this girl!!!!” he thought, and then he went NUTS.
He started jumping around and trying to throw me off his back! It was so scary!! I was holding onto the braided rope in my hands for dear life, screaming at the top of my very lungs for God’s mercy and for the police and for the man in the turban to stop his camel from acting out!!
Dude just stood there trying to tame his camel but ALICE WAS NOT ABOUT TO BE TAMED. NO SIR. It was a real nightmare of a situation.
You never think it’s gonna happen to you, ya know? You never think you’re gonna be the one to get abused by a camel. Always some other guy.
Eventually the man got ol’ Alice under control though, thank GOD. But I’ll never forget that day.
I don’t trust camels anymore. I can’t. Once you’ve been assaulted by a homicidal camel, your worldview changes. You just aren’t the same innocent, trusting little camel rider anymore. You sneer at camels. You sneer right at their faces and you spit in the dirt and you walk with a dirty swagger.
Well. This was supposed to be a short post, but it’s not. So goodnight. Goodnight and see you all tomorrow and try not to dream about vicious camels throwing you into the rocky desert sand.