Friday, February 26, 2016

Items in the overhead bin. #cellphone

Firstly, to those following along at home. Clearly I'm late. My roughly 8:AM post was not delivered yesterday.  Let me see if I can explain. 

This is the Caribbean ocean. Pata Prieta Beach in Vieques, Puerto Rico to be exact. My cell phone was submerged in this just yesterday. The last evening of our vacation. As the most beatific sun began to set. 

I suppose I could even back up further. Knowing my deep love of jewelry, you'll feel my pain. A ring that I purchased exactly one year ago on our last trip to Puerto Rico, was lost on this same beach on the 2nd day of our trip. Now, if you're counting along, I'm currently sitting on a United Airlines flight from San Juan to Newark, New Jersey without a cell phone and without a beloved piece of jewelry that once marked a very special trip to me. 

The ring was not expensive. The phone ....well.  During the 11 o'clock number in the last few hours of our perfect trip, I singlehandedly ruined my phone. A phone filled with recordings of rehearsals, notes to all of my selves, letters currently in draft form not yet sent to Susan Sarandon, Bill Cosby, and Solange Knowles. Notes for skits I want to perform with Ladonna. The entire script I had copied into my phone to learn for "Niggahs With Attitudes". Rare rehearsal recordings of me and Elliot working through songs that maybe never saw the light of day. Every picture I had taken over the last few years. More importantly, the pictures I had taken from each day of our trip this week. If you'd like a score, I only have 3 pictures left that happen to be on my iPad. And not much had been backed up due to a problem with iTunes and space in something white people call "the cloud". 

Needless to say, the loss of the phone while on this peaceful 1/2 mile stretch of beach the middle of a virtually untouched wildlife preserve ...a beach with 8 other people on it (and 3 stray, adorable dogs...the dogs on this island, by the way...heaven). At sunset. 80 degrees. Watching the man I love enjoy floating in this crystal clear, warm water.  I was furious. I checked out. I was completely enraged. So angry with myself for being so dumb. How could I let me phone get wet. I had been so careful all week. I let the loss of the phone take me completely out of the moment that I was so happy to (literally) be swimming in just minutes before. Does hat happen often? What does it take to set you off? What does it take to get you back? Is a sunset with a reflection of the sun on almost turquoise 78 degree calm water enough to pull you back to happy?  What about on the last night of your vacation on a 12 mile island where horses run free and walk the streets with cranes resting on their backs like they are the best of friends?  Like Danny Devito getting a piggy back ride from Shaquille O'Niel. 

We went to dinner last night. And then back in to town for dessert at El Blok Hotel, which clearly we enjoyed as we ate there 3 other times in our trip. At this point we were very recognizable to the bartenders and wait staff. We ordered dessert. I had the Limon which was a sort of lemon meringue with a bit of granola and sliced almonds. After that I immediately ordered a cocktail, the Sweet and Spicy, which was a gingery take on a mojito. Still enraged over, I'm guessing, not being able to check my Facebook or post a photo with sassy hashtags on Instagram, I told the bartender what had happened. 

"I'm so angry.  I'm such an idiot. I practically walked into the ocean with my phone in the back pocket of my bathing suit! Who does that?"

Without missing a beat, and in a voice as calm as the breeze at sunset in Vieques, she said "I don't even have a phone."

With that, we moved on. I was (and am...albeit slightly) angry with myself. I let it curb my entire being for just a moment. And the beautiful earth stood still (or so I thought) so I could stay mad. Mad about this thing that I'm so very dependent on for reasons still not completely clear to me. This lovely woman, who seemed to be an American, who now was just living on the island of Vieques mixing drinks at one of the most gorgeous hotels on the island.  This woman, who couldn't be happier. What was her story?  How did she get to happy? And stay there?

I'm writing to you now from the middle seat of a United Airlines flight back to New Jersey. We took a very tiny puddle jumper to San Juan this morning from the island. We had a 4 hour layover. I learned that 4 hours is enough time to get in a taxi, go to Old San Juan, have breakfast at a place you both fell in love with last year (Cafecultura ...I love their coffee.), stop at the jewelry shop you bought your ring at last year, and buy 3 new rings made of the same Yuca that your favorite was made from. 

When we got on the plane (after deciding what my in-flight jewelry would be), a woman behind us somehow had a mix up at boarding.  She was in Group 4 or 5. The Rosa Parks section of the boarding-order. This meant, on our very full flight that some overhead bags were being gate-checked. In the mix up of this, she somehow let her purse get gate-checked. She stormed to her seat after the cabin doors closed, with a tantrum and temperament of full, epic Becky proportions. "UN...BE...LIEVABLE!" She screamed. This has probably ruined her 3.5 hour flight.  I'm quite sure she "literally just can't even". This has potentially removed the memories of how great a trip to Puerto Rico could be. The beaches. The drinks. The mofongo. This must have ruined her day. 

Wait. Let me turn around and check. 
When I started writing this, she had a towel over her head (that must not have been in her purse), and she looked like a children's ghost costume on Halloween. Now she's on her phone looking at videos and laughing. 

I guess she found her way back to happy. 

Or maybe things just shift a little after take off. 
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