When I stopped in the office yesterday, a few things happened. First the secretary told me to leave and not come back until my tan had faded. Then, folks started asking me how my vacation had been. Now if you know me, you know that such a question is going to get a less-than-brief answer. However, I don’t think those poor vacation-curious folks fully appreciated the can of crazy-crabby they opened. Let me explain.
The question “how was your vacation?” is a troublesome one. Because really, no one actually wants to know if the water gave you diarrhea, they just haven’t figured out a shorter way to say, “please summarize your vacation into a select number of sound bites that will both mollify my jealousy that you went to ‘x’ while I was stuck here in Craphole USA as well as give me a reason to save for a vacation rather than Botox and a tummy tuck.” But since I’m a helpful soul, I do try to give a clear picture of how my vacation actually went.
For example, folks in real life may have noticed I’m sporting a look that while is much more tan than usual, it is also more full of lip. As in Angelina Jolie called and wants her lower lip back. As a chronic lip-licker, I apparently spent a bit too much time licking my lips–either that or the bottomless glass of Bahama Mama did more than make me a very happy drunk. Because my lips spent a bit too much time in the Jamaican sunshine sans sunscreen and received a sunburn. In case you didn’t know, it isn’t pleasant. Unless of course, you are looking for an inexpensive alternative to silicone injections in your lower lip. Remember that old Cosby show Fat Albert? Yep, that is me just minus the hat. Hubba Hubba, baby. Also, scotch bonnet pepper sauce, aka Jamaican ketchup, is not very sunburned lip friendly. OHMYGODINHEAVENMYLIPISONFIRE!!!!!
The other fantastic feature this vacation included was the reminder of my extensive attractiveness. Too bad I attract life forms of the sand flea variety rather than the David Tennant variety. Now we all know I am fond of hyperbole, but the following is actually more likely an example of litotes: I have more than 200 sand flea bites. No, I don’t know for sure exactly how many bites I have. I used the time tested math skill of approximation to reach the number 200. There are two reasons for my use of approximation: after about 175 I got bored counting and there appears to be more showing up every time I look.
One of our fellow resort guests is a pharmacist and when he caught a glimpse of my chewed-upon self, he promptly doled out some Benadryl to my puffy self. Actually, puffy isn’t quite the right adjective. It’s more like a puffy, communicable disease infestation look that I’m sporting. On my legs. Butt. Arms. Face. Stomach. Ankles. Between my toes. Ears. Everywhere. Yes, everywhere including that spot between your ass and your thigh – you know the one that keeps getting deeper as you eat bon bons? Yeah, like three little suckers chomped on me there. Imagine, if you will, a three flight journey home. Dressed. And itching to the extent that scratching with sandpaper sounds like a grand idea. Why yes, I did receive a few odd looks as I went about scratching myself like a meth addict.
Oh and Mister Soandso got sick. Which means I’ll be doing the same cough, cough, blow, blow, sniffle gig any moment now, but combined with a periodic scratch scratch. So if you ask me how my vacation to paradise went, be prepared. Because I’m going to tell you.
I’m going to tell you that when you return to your very favorite version of paradise and have a little less than awesome of time as you did on the first visit, well, all isn’t lost.
Because paradise doesn’t actually have to be perfect. Paradise simply must be what it is. Its our perspective that creates perfection rather than the actual event. And I can choose to keep my perspective focused on why I went to Jamaica in the first place and then returned to it: it is an amazing place.
So will I keep putting coins in my Jamaica jar and scheming on how I can get there again next year? Damn right. Because even if this trip was a bit less than perfect, my idea of paradise exists a few thousand miles away and is complete with white sands, crystal clear turquoise water and the best vacation partner this girl could ever ask for.
But next time I head to Jamaica, I’m taking a whole vat of bug spray and better sun screen.