May 17, 2021 – Trouble in Paradise

What is it about beautiful places that brings out the worst in people? More times than I’d care to admit to, I’ve witnessed people coming unglued and acting like animals while spending time in exotic locations (or places intended for rest and relaxation). Sometimes couples leave for destinations like Mexico or the Bahamas and only one person returns because while on ‘the vacation of a lifetime’, an argument ensued over something insignificant and one half of the couple cut off the oxygen supply to the other half. I say this because ‘strangulation’ is often determined to be the cause of death (if the body is ever recovered). I cannot say much because I totally get it! My husband and I have nearly killed each other on several of our getaways. By far, the worst it ever got was on our European vacation (to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary). Either he wanted to kill me or I wanted to kill him in nearly every country we visited, with the exception of France. I didn’t kill him, of course, but I very nearly divorced him. The ‘D’ word came up at least a dozen times.

I hope we can get through our next vacation without a formal death investigation getting underway. My husband does not enjoy air travel and it tends to bring out some of his less attractive ‘features’. If flying on a plane was a simple matter, he probably wouldn’t turn into the Hulk each time we flew; however, air travel is anything but simple these days, especially since 9/11. I did ‘dangle a little carrot’ in front of his face to help ease the pain of flying (at least on the flight over). I managed to book us two seats in the last row of first class (for an incredible price) so we shouldn’t have to deal with obnoxious people sitting behind us with their feet burrowing into our seatbacks. Yes! I actually had someone do that on one of the trips I took to Hawaii! The woman behind me curled up in her seat and planted her feet on the back of my seatback, using it as a means to brace herself. Did I say anything? Of course, I didn’t! I’m too much of a wimp.

I approached the matter-at-hand from a passive-aggressive stance, occasionally striking a blow to either side of my seatback (using my elbows) to ‘give her notice’ or by aggressively rocking my seatback forward and backward. None of my efforts seemed to make a bit of difference and I ended up stewing about it for the entire flight (5+ hours). I know I should have said something but I didn’t. I can tell you this, it’s not going to happen again. If another rude person decides to play footsies with my seatback in the future, I’m speaking up. Just mentioning this incident makes me wonder if airplanes are to blame for some of the homicides that occur? If you think about it, something like what I experienced would definitely get the ball rolling. And then when you tack on standing in a long line at the ticket counter, walking to and through the security checkpoint (which usually involves 45 minutes to an hour of snaking through a painfully slow line), walking from there to the gate and then standing in line once again in order to board, it’s no wonder more homicides don’t occur after using air travel!

I would feel pretty confident with this theory if one of my old co-workers hadn’t told me that when she and her husband took a cruise for their 35th wedding anniversary, she nearly threw him overboard. Apparently, travelling by boat can be just as homicide-inducing as travelling by plane. That’s unfortunate, it doesn’t leave many more options other than travelling by car (which I’m not a fan of) or train (which is about as reliable as the internet connection in an underground bunker). Why am I bringing this up? I know the topic seems pretty random but after what happened at the park the other day (where I took photos of the marmot), I couldn’t help but make comparisons. What happened at the park? Well, it was a lot like what happened in Harbor Freight after the governor issued the mask mandate, people started verbally threatening each other for no good reason. At Harbor Freight, the dispute was over ‘masks’. At the park, I’m not even sure what the beef was about. I just know it mainly involved one clearly unhappy girl who reminded me of my niece, the ‘Mental Minion’.

My husband and I (and our daughter) were enjoying the sunny day and the beautiful view of the water and minding our own business when I noticed a disturbance taking place a few yards away. A very overweight bi-racial girl (15-16 years of age) was standing on a dock with two white boys. Even though it was hot as blazes, she was covered from head to toe (I’m assuming because she was insecure about her appearance). While she and the boys stood on the dock (which was accessible by crossing a short, wooden bridge), two youngish girls (10-12 years of age) approached. One girl looked part-Hispanic and the other of Asian descent. They never crossed the bridge and onto the dock. Instead, they opted to remain on the main path. And while standing side-by-side on the path, they leaned against a railing and gazed out at the water. They were both of average weight and wearing swimsuits. The suits were two-piece but very modest, consisting of halter/crop-style tops and boy shorts.

Everything seemed perfectly fine until I heard a female voice say, “What are you staring at?” I thought I was hearing things but then it happened again. I perked up and it was around that time that I noticed the heavier, older girl trying to start something with the two younger girls. I never once heard either of the younger girls say anything in response, but that didn’t seem to make a difference to the older girl, she kept on talking smack. I didn’t catch everything she said, but I did catch something to the effect of, “You should cover up…walking around with those twiggy legs.” It wasn’t long before the two young girls ran back to their picnic site and returned with one of their moms. I watched the mom approach the girl who had been talking smack. She was no longer on the dock, but was now standing on the path (near where the younger girls stood earlier). I didn’t hear what was spoken but the older girl eventually walked away. Whatever the mom said seemed to defuse the situation, or so I thought.

Not minutes later, the two young girls returned for their mom. It appeared something else had happened (out of our line of sight) and she was once again requested to intervene. My husband and I took this as a cue to leave. I just have to say, what the heck is wrong with people? I’m telling you, you’d think spending a beautiful afternoon by the water would mellow people out, but that’s not always the case. While we were visiting Maui years ago, a similar situation took place. While doing research on all the places we should go and explore while on the island, the Hana Highway was mentioned more than once. In addition to ‘window shopping’ at the art museums in Lahaina (holy smokes that art was EXPENSIVE), bodyboarding in the warm waters off the coast (highlight of the trip), and checking out Haleakala (we didn’t quite make it all the way to the top), we made a point to travel down the Hana Highway. Was it beautiful? Yes. The area was lush with tropical vegetation and absolutely breathtaking. Would I do it again? No thanks!

As much as I enjoyed all of the spectacular views, the winding (often one lane) road that seemed to never end, along with the lack of parking at the hiking locations along the way, made for a less-than-pleasurable experience. It not only left me feeling rather carsick, but rather cross, too. And from what we witnessed at one of the parking areas at a hiking location, I wasn’t the only one. Two couples nearly came to blows over a parking space. There was all kinds of screaming and cussing and name-calling. As I watched from across the road, I had to shake my head. It was the last thing I expected to see at such an exotic location surrounded by so much beauty, and it all seemed rather tragic (and ridiculous). The more I think about it, ‘staying home and becoming a hermit’ sounds more and more appealing. It was bad enough before the Pandemic, now people are really coming unhinged. I guess I’ll see how our next trip goes and if we both return intact when it’s all said and done, I’ll consider planning another.

P.S. Just in case anything happens and my husband returns without me, I didn’t go to ‘live with my lover’, I am likely in a shallow grave somewhere after confessing to my husband that we won’t be flying home first class; we’re flying ‘coach’ because it’s a heck of a lot cheaper.

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