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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Things I Learned on Vacation

Hi, Friends,

My husband and I were away in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands last week.  It was beautiful.  It was hot.  It was relaxing.  It was hot.  It was fun.  Did I mention it was  hot? 

I didn't post any pictures on Facebook because I know the hostility that I feel when I have sprinted into my house from the 20 degree windchill crying icy tears only to click open my Facebook page and find someone posting pictures of her flip flops and umbrella drink at me.  I didn't want to cause any tearing of robes and gnashing of teeth among my East Coast friends.  But now I'm back home just like every other poor sap who suffers with SAD and contemplates using all her money to buy a gazillion watt light box from some company based in Alaska.  Because of this, I can now safely and without smugness tell you about my vacation or at least what I learned while I was staring at the sun and water for six days.

When you look out the window and see this for six days, you tell yourself that the memory will last and maybe you'll be able to use some sort of visualization technique to convince your shivering self that you are actually still in a space where the water is aquamarine and it's 80 degrees.  There were so many moments when I was walking along in a tank top, shorts and flip flops begging myself to hold the memory so that I wouldn't get homicidal each time the bitter wind hit my face when I got home.  Memories are lovely.  But dreams of 80 degrees are no match for the realities of 30 degrees.  I suppose that's why the airlines can keep ripping us off.

Photo above is either my pure ecstasy that I am about to go outside in a sleeveless shirt or pure terror that we are about to hop in a cab.

I'm not sure if you are aware of this geographic fact, but even though you don't need a passport to go to the US Virgin Islands, those island folks drive on the opposite side of the road.  I suddenly felt like I should feign a British accent like Madonna.  Cabdrivers in the US Virgin Islands are insane.  They are sweet and interesting and adorable and also INSANE.  On the way home from dinner one night, I thought for sure that I was going to lose my two glasses of wine and miso glazed sea bass with lemongrass reduction all over the seat as we rambled up and down hills barely missing other sweet, interesting, adorable and insane cabdrivers.  Just as I thought I would puke and/or die, I noticed Insane Cabdriver was singing along with the radio,

"Je -sus, Lamb of God.  Worthy is Your na - aaaa- me."

You know what shines light in the darkness when you feel you're about to careen off a cliff and never see your children again?  Singing with a cabdriver with a Bob Marley accent and virtually no understanding of defensive driving, but a clear understanding of the Savior of the world.  It helps.  It really does.  I didn't throw up and that was the true blue doing of the Holy Spirit.

Listen.  I am really not that nosy of a person, but I think writers (and people who pretend to be writers, as I do) have no control over their desire to observe people and then create an essay about them.  It's an automatic reflex.  In this case, I didn't have to create anything.  I just couldn't wait to write it all down.  Anyway, I was minding my own business reading at the pool when two couples came sauntering in with all manner of towels and tote bags, vacation accouterments and excruciatingly loud New Jersey accents  I love me some accents and accouterments so I glanced up. 

Here's the scene.  The two couples consist of a young woman and either her fiancé or new husband and the young woman's parents.  Young woman has on an animal print swimsuit with an ENORMOUS bow across the top and a voice akin to Lisa from The Simpsons, so now I must refer to her as Girl.  Girl uses said voice quite a lot.  Girl and new husband/fiancé need endless photos taken of them.  Girl screams across pool to him to GET THE SELFIE STICK, BABE!  Photo session commences.  Photo of Dad and Girl at the infinity pool.  Photo of Mom and Girl at the poolside bar.  Photo of young couple pretending they are falling in the ocean.  Photo of Guy picking up Girl while she crosses her legs demurely at the ankles while suspended in mid air.  Photo of Guy doing pushups.  Photo of Guy and new father-in-law doing synchronized pushups at the direction of Girl.  When photo session ends, Girl and Mom settle in to lounge chairs in front of Nosy Blog Writer who should probably mind her own business and get back to her book.  Girl tells Mom that she ordered this swimsuit right before the trip and Girl is all kinds of angry about it.  She had to call the people back because even though she ordered cheetah print, they sent her leopard.  But what was she to do?  She didn't have time to send it back before she left.  So now, she is forced to take selfies with a clearly inadequate animal print suit.  Nosy Blog Writer cannot possibly go back to her book, so flabbergasted is she.  She looks up at the clear blue sky wondering how in the world she has spent 46 years on the earth with no consideration that there might be a difference between leopard print and cheetah print.  Nosy Blog Writer seems to recall that the cheetah is known to be the fastest animal and wonders if perhaps this is why the cheetah print would be preferable to other animal prints.  Nosy Blog Writer's vacation musings have suddenly gone from thinking carefree, idle thoughts to contemplating where she has gone wrong in her life.

(Y'all.  You can find anything on the Internet.  It's fascinating and kinda frightening.)

At 11:00 am the pool bar folks turn on music.  It's Maroon 5.  It's my new favorite song, Sugar, which makes me think of my sister and my grandmom at the same time.  Sister changed the lyrics to "Sho' Nuff" instead of "Sugar" because it works perfectly and it reminds us of Grandmom who we miss an awful lot.  You could tell Grandmom anything from "I just got a perfect score on the SAT!" to "I'm dropping out of school with my boyfriend to follow the Grateful Dead!" and she would still first respond with, "Sho 'nuff, honey?" . Maroon 5 is playing so loudly that voice of Inadequate Animal Print Wearing Girl is overwhelmed and will not be heard again forever more.  Nosy Blog Writer smiles because suddenly it's as if Adam Levine, Sister and Grandmom have joined together like some sort of heroic Navy Seal team to save her vacation.

I tend to become quite anti-social when on vacation, but you give me a woman with a southern accent and an opinion on celebrities and I'm all in.  I had taken a break from reading classic literature, i.e. Mindy Kaling's Why is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?(And Other Concerns)  to take a peek at one of my magazines in a stack at my feet that included two Peoples, an Us and a Marie Claire.  A woman with the best southern accent I've ever heard hollered out to her husband that Darlin', it was 5,000 degrees of hot and she was going to spend the mornin' under the umbrella.  She sat next to me and took a gander at my magazines and y'all, I think she knew right then and there that I was her people. 

She said, "Honey, now did you hear about who's here at this resort?  I think you might be interested." 

Well, her accent made me deliriously happy so of course, I shut my magazine and leaned in close.  She told me that one of the Housewives of New Jersey was there.  

"Now, darlin', I looked her up on the Google and I'm sure it's her.  You know about that Theresa, right, hon'? That one that's in jail? Well, 'course it's not her. But the Google says that has got them all in a dither over there at the Real Housewives.  Now I'm gonna just go get a drink and I'll let you know if I have anymore sightings.  Pink swimsuit, blue ballcap, darlin'.  You can't miss her."  

I think my new friend got stuck at the bar, which is easy to do, so I never caught her name.  I'm still sad about it.  I think she and I were soulmates.  This guy also hung out at the bar.  I hope he didn't eat my new friend.

Husband and I had a great time together.  I mean it's not as if I just sat around eavesdropping on people with accents and writing blog posts in my head all day.  We had so much fun.  He's really and truly my very bestest buddy and we know we are blessed and we're pretty darn happy that God brought us together twenty years ago. Blah, blah, blah.  We actually had a conversation about how we really would not be able to give anyone a "secret" to staying married.  Maybe it's because that's just what we said we would do in front of God and all those people.  Or maybe it's because most of the time, but not all of the time, we just like each other as much as we love each other.  And that seems to be working out okay.  I don't know.  But, here's something to note:  I did not make my husband go through the whole duty free shopping experience in Charlotte Amalie with me. I hopped on the water taxi all alone and perused all the perfume and jewelry and fake designer purses that I could stand.  I also gave $5 to a guy who smelled like he hadn't taken a shower in a month because he gave me a flower made out of palm fronds and called me "Beautiful Lady".  While I did that, Husband went fishing without me.  No, I did not pretend that I would have a blast participating in a four hour barracuda catching expedition with the love of my life.  And he did not pretend that he would have a blast waiting while I decided between perfume by Dolce & Gabbana, Chloe or Chanel. So maybe that is why I think we might make it another twenty years.  That and the fact that we can always meet up at a Rum Bar when need be.

Now, I gotta go because it's 34 degrees and I have to go to The Google and type in "Jedi Mind Tricks".  Maybe I'm just not doing it right.

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