Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Knee Deep in Trinkets

My wife and I were on our honeymoon. Our cruise ship had docked in sunny Puerto Rico and we had a few hours to roam around, drink Mojitos, look like stupid tourists and -- most important of all -- buy a bunch of junk for our closest friends and family.

I still don't understand why we feel compelled to grab crappy trinkets for the people we love most. But, there we were, bag of trinkets in hand, and it was time to head back to the ship.

We walked down the burning hot pavement several blocks back to the ramp where all of the other tourists on our cruise were beginning to line up like cattle to board the boat. I sighed with satisfaction, happy to be back after a long day of walking in the withering heat.

Suddenly, my wife gasped as if someone had stolen her purse.

"What?!" I said.

"My bag of [meaningless junk] is missing!!" said my wife.

Feeling chivalrous, I told her that I would happily run back and rescue the trinkets she had apparently left behind at the restaurant where we had eaten lunch. So, just as quickly, I set off back up the hill.

I was about 200 yards away from the ship. It was about that time that the heavens were ripped open and the most absurd tempest sent buckets of rain down on everything as far as the eye could see. So powerful was the tropical storm that in seconds I was drenched. Water slopped out of my shoes with each step.

It was pointless to turn around at that point, so I continued on my journey until I made it back to the restaurant. When I opened the door, everyone whirled around, paused for a moment and then burst out laughing at me.

With a knowing smirk, the guy behind the bar reached down and pulled out a cellophane bag with the very same trinkets my wife had left behind. I nodded, dripping water on the counter and headed back from whence I came, slipping a little bit in a puddle by the door.

I began racing back down the hill feeling triumphant. When I had made it half-way back to the boat, I noticed that the road had flooded with knee-deep water raging past. I didn't have much of a choice if I ever wanted to rejoin the cruise, so I waded in the water.

As an aside, I have a touch of the OCD. This is important as it comes in later. But, needless to say, I'm not a huge fan of germs.

Ok. So, back to the knee deep water and a mild sense of triumph as I neared the boat.

As quickly as the torrential rain had come, a terrible dread washed over me as I realized that the rush of water through the streets was fueled in large part by an overflowing sewer... That's right. I was knee deep in sewage-tainted waters!!

I threw up a bit in my mouth, raced back to the boat, handed the wife her bag o' junk without a word and ran straight to the shower. After a series of washing, rinsing and repeating, I then raced off to the chlorinated waters of the swimming pool.

It was several hours before I felt right again. Fortunately, we managed to stay married after "the incident," and to this day, I am suspicious of all tourist junk.

(Photos by Duygu and Heather)

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