Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Life lesson or Big mistake

I don’t know why when our grown kids come home for holidays we feel compelled to entertain them 24/7. It doesn’t mean that we actually do it – we do have other responsibilities and obligations in life. Yet, there is this constant gnawing feeling of guilt. After all, they’ve come all this way to see us...

This inexplicable guilt sometimes forces us to act like our combined brains are switched off completely and we stop thinking and just rush to satisfy our kids’ fancies. So, when our older girl proposed to go to a park nearby where on could take a boat with a glass bottom to see the flora and fauna of the coral reef, my husband and I both agreed without a moment’s hesitation.

Big mistake!!! (as Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman would say)

I get seasick easily. No, I get seasick just by watching a boat. Or even a swing. There is something wrong with my brain or maybe not the whole brain but at least a part of it. I need to feel a firm ground under my feet. My husband has the same problem, maybe not as evident as I do. And our kids – they are OUR kids, so, if we had thought about it at least for a while, we would have figured out that our kids must have inherited this specific feature from us. Yes, big, big mistake!

So we went to the park and bought our tickets for the boat ride. The cashier was rather brutally honest with us. She didn’t want us to suffer, poor soul; she tried to prevent an imminent disaster.

- There are waves 4 to 6 feet high at the coral reef. If you get seasick, you won’t enjoy it.

My daughters just smiled, and my husband got Dramamine for all of us.

- We’ll be fine, - he said. I think at the moment I was experiencing a short spell of insanity, when your head just gives up on you and your stubbornness.

A little bit later, while we were waiting in a long-long line to board the boat, I looked around me – most people standing in line had kids. Beautiful mothers with cute babies, proud fathers with pretty athletic daughters. It is so interesting to watch families – they are different people yet it is obvious that they are related. You see same traits, same mannerisms, same smiles and gestures.

All of a sudden, a thought struck me.

- What am I doing here? I’ll be sick and I don’t want to be sick. – I am sure I said it aloud. Because I got an answer “Too late”. And off we went… Big, big mistake!

At first it wasn’t that bad. We were going through a long narrow cove between tall mangroves. I even had my “Titanic” moment – my husband put me in front of the boat at the most prominent point and I was bathed by the wind and feeling rather euphoric (“No nausea, no nausea, no nausea… yet”). But then our cute little vessel took to the open sea, picked up the pace pressing forward to the reefs. The boat started rolling and moving up and down. I went inside and sat next to several girls who would scream rather loudly every time we were going up. Those screams didn’t help.

One of the girls asked our cabin attendant if the waves were already as high as they told us they would be.

- Not at all, it is going to be ten times worst, - she smiled and kept giving away vomit bags to the passengers. These bags were a big hit. Passengers snatched them away with an amazing speed. The smiley attendant looked at me and added:

- You should go outside, upstairs, fresh air will help you.You don't look well.

Ha-ha, I didn't feel well either. I don’t know who I hated more at that moment – the screaming girls or the cheerful cabin attendant. Basically, I was ready to kill them all. The only thing that saved them all was that I couldn't move. Yet, I managed to stand up and go outside, even picking up some mints on my way upstairs. Do you know that mints are supposed to calm your stomach?

The other cabin attendant told me to look at the horizon. And this was how I spent the next hour – looking at the horizon and chewing mints. Pretty soon our little boat turned into a little vomitory. Almost everyone around me was either sick, or heaving, or vomiting. I discovered that the old saying was wrong. And the right way to say it is - family that prays together vomits together No more smiling, joking or running around. Even the screaming stopped.

On the background I could hear a cheerful voice of our guide who was describing the flora and fauna we could have seen through the glass floor if we all were not so terribly sick.  

I didn’t see anything besides the horizon. My younger daughter who became sick the last in our family and who actually stayed inside almost to the end and tried to see something, told us later that the seawater was too muddy and she didn’t catch anything.

At some point my husband looked around (I was still concentrating on the horizon) and didn’t find even one happy face. All people on the boat, besides the attendants with vomit bags and mints, were definitely unhappy. So this was our combined idea of family fun – to go on a boat and spend two hours fighting with nausea and looking at the horizon!

As soon as we set foot on firm ground again, no one complained. No one said much at   all. But when the next day I proposed to go snorkeling on a boat, my husband said:

- Hey, we just went on a boat yesterday. Doesn’t life teach you anything?

So this is what we did instead:

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