The Hotel El Dorado was a brand-new, five-story tourist accommodation -- built of unadorned cement block.(Needle In A Haystack)
When they first got to Rome, Dad warned Mom and Greg to watch out for the gypsies at the train station. Greg had been excited, expecting to see brightly colored, horse-drawn caravans. Instead, there was just a collection of women and children, looking hungry and tired, leaning against concrete walls.
Greg moved on -- they all did, trading one city for another, one country for another, one name for another: Roma now, not gypsy, and House, not Greg. When House wheels into the hallway he sees the boy's mother. She looks tired, and he thinks maybe things haven't changed at all.
I was there too, but perfectly invisible.
The nurses, the doctors, hell, even Wilson ask for a number. Rate your pain from one to ten. House hates the scale. You can't quantify pain. It doesn't show up on an MRI, but it's there, always there, and always growing stronger.
How can he explain that a rating of "three" when you first wake up grates on you as the day goes on, increasing to "five" by noon, then "seven" by quitting time simply because it never goes away?
House tried to fool it into silence with Ketamine. It wasn't fooled, and now it's making up for lost time.
The national currencies of all six guests at the El Dorado, the four Americans, one claiming to be Canadian, the two Japanese, were still as good as gold everywhere on the planet.
House watches from the balcony and wonders if anyone below him understands what it means to be normal. If they appreciate it.
He sees med students, anxious to prove they're something exceptional, something special. He wants to tell them to be careful what they wish for.
Patrick passes below him. He's smiling. A real smile -- not that imitation he used to wear whenever he heard applause. It's the smile he used to have only when he was playing the piano, and House hopes again that he made the right call, and that someday Patrick will be happy just being normal.
He could talk to birds in their own languages, for example, something she could never have done, since her ancestors were notoriously tone deaf on both sides of her family.
House knew a geneticist at Johns Hopkins who loved to lecture about how close we all were to becoming someone else -- something else.
"One little slip in your DNA code," he'd say, "one little malformation in utero, and you can't walk, you can't talk. You're blind, you're deaf, your heart refuses to beat, your brain can't interpret the signals your body sends it. You don't know how lucky you are."
House used to roll his eyes.
Then the infarction robbed him of his leg. Now he stands before the urinal, takes a deep breath, and wonders what he'll lose next.
And this supremely important brother of the insignificant hotel manager was at that moment arriving at Guayaquil International Airport on a nearly empty transport plane from New York City, where he had been doing publicity for "the Nature Cruise of the Century."
Survival of the fittest sucks, House decides. There was nothing fit about about that baby. He should have died. Ten years ago, he would have died, and taken mom along with him.
Yet he didn't. Neither did mom. Because of Cuddy, because of him, because of science. The laws of nature no longer apply because science rewrote the laws.
He looks over to the TV screen where a marine iguana dives into the water. Someone says the iguanas are dying, because they haven't evolved in pace with other changes on the Galapagos.
Everything changes, House thinks, and changes the channel.
It was by means of this that Gokubi or Mandarax heard spoken his language, and then, in accordance with instructions from its buttons, translated them into words on its screen.
House can't remember learning Spanish, but by the time he's 16, they're in Arizona and he speaks it well enough that older kids bring him along when they cross the border, buying him beers in exchange for his skills in negotiating the purchase of marijuana or sex.
When he used to travel, he'd head out into the street until the rhythms of the local language seeped into his skull and began to make some kind of sense.
Now he rarely leaves, but sometimes he goes to one of the international markets in town, finds a quiet corner, sits and listens.
Nobody believed anybody anymore, since there was so much lying going on.
(Act Your Age)
Wilson tells his patients all the facts. He gives them the odds, he tells them what treatment they'll get, the side effects, their alternatives. But beneath those facts and figures, he hides the real truth, what he thinks will really happen, whether his gut instinct tells them if they'll be one of the lucky ones.
He's learned to hide his emotions: from his wives, from House, from himself, House thinks. It doesn't take House long to learn Wilson took Cuddy to the play, but as he studies his friend, he can't figure out why, and if he should be worried.
What Andrew MacIntosh said now to Jesus Ortiz was so offensive, and in view of the hunger pangs spreading throughout Ecuador, so dangerous , that his big brain really must have been sick in some serious way -- if giving a damn what happened next was a sign of mental health.
House can't offer Foreman comfort. He would only be lying if he told him that things would be all right.
Foreman should think about her. House has known some doctors -- respected men and women who walked away when their patients died, shrugging it off as a statistical anomaly. He wonders if they're missing something inside, some emotional short circuit in the brain that means that they really don't give a damn.
House knows people think he doesn't care, but that night as he lies awake, thinking of every wrong decision, he reminds himself that it doesn't matter what they think.
On the island of Manhattan, a middle-aged American publicity man contemplated the collapse of his masterpiece, which was "the Nature Cruise of the Century.
This is how it begins, House knows, with that slow descent away from what you've had to what you'll become, by thinking
with your heart, rather than your head, by allowing yourself to be swayed by the easier answer, rather than the best one. He lets Foreman run another useless test, knowing he'll fail.
Getting what you want isn't easy. House studies the gnaw marks Hector left behind on the table, and realizes that sometimes you don't even know what it is you wanted in the first place. And sometimes, change can bring you something you never knew you wanted.
When Andrew MacIntosh signed up for three staterooms on the Bahia de Darwin's maiden voyage, Bobby King had reason to be mystified.
This isn't happiness, this muddled mess of emotions, House tells himself. This is nothing more than confusion, an untrained brain that can't find its way through a minefield of options and opinions.
Happiness is overrated, just random neurons firing in the right order. Music makes him happy. So do puzzles. He senses the clues of every case slipping into place, moving into the right order, finally making sense. That's what happiness is -- knowing the answer, knowing what no one else knows.
Let Foreman think it's just about the puzzles, that he doesn't care about the patients, but House knows better.
After Mary Hepburn showed her film about the great frigate birds, and the windowshades in the classroom were raised and the lights turned back on, some student, again almost invariably a male, was sure to ask, sometimes clinically, sometimes as a comedian, sometimes bitterly, hating and fearing women: "Do the females always try to pick the biggest ones?"
The kid is ruthless with his queen, placing her in harm's way, tempting House to make bad moves by leaving her vulnerable. House ignores him. This isn't about winning a game, it's about pushing the kid, making him vulnerable, forcing him to respond, to take chances. He doesn't bite.
"You're going to lose," the kid says, and for a moment, House believes him.
It's only when he has time to think, to understand, to play the game out in his head, to see it through that he sees how easy it'll be to change everything, and how he can win.
He had heard that the tribe was down to only fourteen members, so that their final extinction by the encroachments of civilization seemed inevitable."
Foreman isn't ready, and House doesn't have the patience to explain to him why he's wrong, so House lets him go.
Chase is ready, but won't leave, so House makes him leave.
Cameron thinks she's ready, and House thinks maybe she is, so he nods, and watches her pack her things.
"Those things I said about you not not liking change weren't intended to be some kind of a dare," Wilson says.
House puts down the guitar, picks up his beer. "Maybe they should have been."
"So what are you going to do now?"
House shrugs. "See what happens next."