My scalp was unusually itchy. Even on the mountain top I had tried to ignore it, but finally there was no denying that something was wrong. The constant itching was driving me mad!?
I stood scratching my head one afternoon, chatting with one of my Tahitian friends.
“Poux?” He asked, pointing to my head.
“Poo?” I repeated back.
“Poux.” He said again.
“Poo?” I didn’t understand. He motioned me closer and I leaned over for him to have a look. He fingered through my hair and then confirmed,
“Poux….Les enfants. Aller au pharmacie, acheter le shampooing. C’est facil.”
I didn’t understand until I made it back to my French dictionary aboard Swell, where I was revolted to read, ‘pou, (pl ~x) /pu/ nm louse’.
What!? How had I managed to get head lice? I thought back what my friend said, “…les enfants…” I had been spending a lot of time with the kids lately. The little ones especially liked to crawl all over me.
Speaking of ‘crawling’, I quickly looked up ‘lice’ on the internet and was further appalled when a magnified photo of one of them popped up on my screen! They were miniature monsters! It was too late to make it to the pharmacy before it closed that day, so with a sigh and a scratch, I confined myself to quarantine aboard Swell for the rest of the day.