I am death warmed over, encapsulated in a high-velocity projectile disguised as an airport shuttle.
Running on two hours of sleep and one fewer cups of coffee, I am in no mood for the Whitman's Sampler of humanity jammed around me. Our initial departure was delayed by an elderly cowbow's refusal to stop smoking, a stern-eyed middle-aged woman's 20-foot-radius personal bubble, and a man with no less than four cans of product in his hair refusing to give an inch of ground on his seat in the full cabin. The cowboy had ended up next to him, and now their adjacent buttcheeks are engaged in territorial disputes.
My money is on the cowboy. I'm betting he's had chili in the recent past.
We barrel through the early morning rush on I-75 with no regard for human life. We blend right in, traveling with the flow of traffic. It reminds me of the old arcade game Crazy Taxi, only with a much worse soundtrack, and higher body count.
Today, Lizzie and I begin an adventure that will take me out of the country for the first time, and the two of us on to our first cruise ship. Along the way, if all goes according to plan, we will snorkel, kayak, swim with nice, non-rapey dolphins, and, Poseidon willing, return with sunburns shy of parboiling.
The Caribbean sun may seem an odd selection for two people just this side of albino, with reddish hair, blue eyes, and freckles. Placing us in direct sunlight is akin to placing a fork in a microwave; there are sparks, and a lot of pain. Our April excursion to England, with its rain and fog and...rain and fog, seems much more suited to our melanin challenged bodies.
But we are both drawn to the coasts, her by the beach and the serenity she brings, and me by the ocean and the endless escapist potential she holds. As in most of our endeavors, even when the destination differs, the journeys are parallel, and that's the worthier part anyway. We shall do this, as all things, together.
But before either of us can begin to absorb more ultraviolet radiation in one week than we have the cumulative previous year, we must SURVIVE that journey.
Our driver weaves sharply in to a gap in the lane to our left only millimeters wider than the van itself, only to swerve back out to the same space we had only seconds ago occupied. I begin to wonder if he is making bets with the voices in his head.
Another driver very nearly clips our front right quarter panel as he attempts the exact same maneuver. The voices, it seems, have a cb channel.
These matters are complicated by the fact that the gravity locking mechanism on my seatbelt is over zealous in ways that cannot be accurately described in words, only by guttural choking noises, made by a passenger whose carotid artery has lost contact with his brain. With each bump and swerve, my shoulder strap becomes a hyper-protective mother, pinning me to the seat until the mortal danger of the speed bump has passed.
The lower half of my body follows the whims of inertia. My head, neck and shoulders remain stationery, locked somewhere between an involuntary river dance routine and a seizure. This continues the full two hours to the airport, where Lizzie collects our baggage as my lips slowly lose their bluish tinge. Taking an inventory of my mental faculties to verify I still remember my name, address, and that 2+2=5, we move onward to security. I am certain, all things considered this day, that probulation abounds.
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