Our ambulance drive took place in Sofia, Bulgaria, during the 1995 Masters World Freestyle Wrestling Championship. I was sixty-one years old and a gold medalist.
The siren was ear-splitting! It was both under-toned and over-toned by the screeching of brakes at every intersection. I, the leader, was just as helpless as Perry, my injured comrade. Perry was one of the United States’ best wrestlers, but his injury wasn’t the emergency, it was the Bulgarian ambulance driver’s testosterone level! My eyes were scared shut for most of the trip, my heart in my throat.
Once, as I glanced up between intersections, I recognized Sofia’s great four-story dance hall and a flash of pleasure hit me. Only two nights before our team had visited that hall and it’s hundreds of couples and young women. We were overcome by the tantalizing perfume of so much energy, sweat and woman-smell. But that was the only good thing about our trip today, except arriving uninjured.
Little did we know that the destination we were hurling toward included “The Whale,” a huge immutable Bulgarian nurse!
This moment comes from a longer story including my befriending an all-time famous Iranian athlete, the “Michael Jordan” of Iranian sports. The full story will be included in my forthcoming book, Reckless But Lucky.