Monthly Archives: December 2007

Repetitive Strain (II)

It was the day before my birthday when the pain became unbearable. My mother took me to an acupuncturist that used to treat my allergies when I was a child. I´d probably not seen him at least since 1990, when we moved West and my allergies got lost somewhere along the way.

To my surprise, the place hadn´t changed a bit: same plain furniture in the same old spots as before. Only the waiting room seemed too empty: I remember that we used to have to wait for hours, often standing.

The secretary interrupted my thoughts: “First time?” I replied that technically it wasn´t, but that it´d been nearly twenty years since the last time. She decided to go look for file all the same, despite the doctor´s protests (“20 years many time. 5 years ok, but 20 many”). Interesting to note that the doctor too hadn´t changed a bit. 

I entered the treatment room, noticed that the posters on the wall also hadn´t changed, lay down on my tummy and the doctor felt my pulse. “Swollen, very swollen, must have pain here in the back also.” As I yelled affirmatively (50% pain, 25% surprise of discovering a new strong pain I didn´t know I had and 25% fright that someone could move so fast), he had no doubt: “Yes. Tendinitis.” This was when I first got to know her name. 


Repetitive Strain (I)

It´s been now a bit over a month since I started feeling something I´d never thought I´d ever feel: it started small, a little tingling thing going from the palm of my hand all the way to the elbow, that turned out to be a certain inflammation of the tendons, a.k.a Tendinitis.

This inconvenient lady came slowly, almost imperceptibly. When I started taking Krav Maga, however, I was forced to discover that my ability to do push-ups – which had always been non-existent for lack of biceps – had got a thousand times worse: I was unable to even open my hands flat on the floor without yelling in pain. My instructor did not hesitate to blame Mr. Computer, and taught me some stretching exercises for hands, fingers and wrists (while everyone continued suffering with their push-ups).

This was but the beginning of Ms. Tendinitis´ visit to this humble writer. Since I did not know her in person, I at first mistook her for her cousin, the frightening Ms. WRULD (Work Related Upper Limb Disorder), a.k.a. RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury).

I was terrified. I started to picture in my mind what would become of my poor dissertation, abandoned forever, a rough diamond that would never see the sunlight. Imagination got carried away as lamented the loss of a brilliant writing career, cut at the root by a silly obsession to type everything that head and fingers came across, for the mere love of a keyboard´s tec-tetec-tec. 

While my guitar gently weeps (Final episode)

WmGgW Complete Season:

Part 1: Preparations

Part 2: Pearson International Airport

Part 3: Interlude

Part 4: Poker Face

Part 5: Duty Free

Part 6: Boarding

Part 7: Flying High

Part 8: Hitting home 

Telepathy didn’t work this time, and all I could do was wait until we landed in Sao Paulo. After another couple of hours flying, then landing, immigration and baggage claim, there I once again, in the check-in line up, getting ready for a new confrontation.


“Can I have a piece of ID, please? Where are you going today?

I decided to launch a full-fledged attack.

“Let me tell you what my situation is. I am moving from Canada to Brasília. Because it’s an international move, I know that it’s going to go over the 23kg limit” (for domestic flights, the limit is 23kg – approximately 50lb – for all pieces of luggage combined) “but could you perhaps give me a discount?”

“Yes, of course! Let me weigh your bags to see what I can do. How many do you have?”


“And do you have any carry-on?”

“There it comes again…” “Yes, I do. Two.”

“I’m sorry, ma’am, but you are allowed only one piece.”

“Ready. Set. Fire!” “You mean that I cannot board with a guitar and a backpack?!?” I said firmly, straightening my back so it was not so obvious that the backpack weighed way over the 10-pound allowance.  

“Ah, I’m sorry, ma´am, never mind. Guitars do not actually count towards your allowance. You can take it aboard with you in addition to your backpack. No problem whatsoever…”

And this was how I learned that, be it in Canada or in Brazil, guitars are not considered carry-on luggage. All that was left for me and my guitar to do was to gently weep for joy as we made our way home safe, sound and together.