You Can’t Always Get What You Want: A Cautionary Tale

by Deanna K. Kreisel (Doctor Waffle Blog)

The other day my friend Matt told me a story about a camel that fell in love with him. Scott and I were on a Zoom call with him and his partner Tania—the two of us in Mississippi, Tania in Santa Barbara, and Matt in D.C. It had been a year since we’d all Zoomed (I remember this because both calls were on my birthday), and no one was sure how we’d let it go so long since we had so much fun whenever we talked. I had been friends with Matt and Tania in college when they were first dating, but we’d all fallen out of touch for decades. Although the phrase “first dating” is misleading: they were together for a year or so in college, broke up before graduating, went their separate ways (long relationships, a marriage, kids, doctorates, a divorce) and then got back in touch during the pandemic. And then started talking every day: Matt in dreary D.C. with his neutral greige therapist’s Zoom background, Tania in her sunny California kitchen with beautiful goblets of straw-colored wine and plates of imported cheese. And then they got back together again, over 30 years later. I hope there are lots more heartwarming Covid stories like this one out there, but this is the one I know about, and it’s a pretty fucking great one if I do say so myself.

So Matt and Tania were telling us that they were planning (ha ha! “planning”) to go on vacation together to Mexico in a few months, which prompted Matt to tell the story of the amorous camel, whom he had encountered on his last trip there. He was visiting a monkey sanctuary on the Mayan peninsula (as one does); there was a camel living there, too, who had previously been in a zoo or a circus, because the person running the sanctuary rescued all kinds of miscellaneous animals in his spare time. Matt and the camel immediately bonded the moment they met. I wish I had asked more questions at the time, because I now realize that I’m not 100% sure what “bonding with a camel” actually entails, but as Matt was telling the story it seemed to make perfect sense. They hung out together the whole time Matt was at the sanctuary, more than half an hour, basking in each other’s presence. I like to imagine that at one point Matt gently leaned against the camel’s flank, stroked his soft nose, and whispered something like “There there, big fella”—but of course I am making that up. As far as I can tell, Matt more or less ignored the monkeys, but we all have to make difficult choices from time to time. Read more »