Snorkeling, Getting Horizontal, SNAFU

Trip Start Oct 08, 2009
Trip End Oct 18, 2009

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Dos Palmas and Club Caribe

Flag of Mexico  , Quintana Roo,
Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Big fish, little fish. Big coral, little coral. Brainy coral, waving fan coral.

The sound underwater. The tick tick tick of the fish eating, spitting out rocks. Silly fish.

The gift from the sea (to borrow Anne Morrow Lindbergh's brilliant phrase) is the sheer existence of it all. The vast 'what it is-ness' of the reef on the Mayan coast. Like the turtle.

The turtle lives its life. It doesn't ask, 'Am I a good enough turtle? A hard enough worker? An excellent mother? A good writer? How come I haven't won the Pulitzer? A Fulbright?'

No, the turtle asks, 'Is that food? I will go to it.' Or it says, 'Is that danger? I will stay away from it.'

This is a lesson in simply existing. Being. Going towards the good. Staying away from the bad. If the turtles in the bay can do it, I can, at least try. Go to food. Stay away from danger.

While I worry about my husband's health, my kids' education, politics, the environment, my career, there are turtles - and I saw about five on each of my brief snorkeling forays in the Akumal Bay. The turtles are living in the wild, unaware of the new airline regulations between Mexico and Florida. They are citizens of the world. Love that.

And so long as there are turtles that are part of the incredible diversity of the Mayan coast reef, then all is still all right with the world. And I can just stop worrying.

Instead just ask Is that food? I will go to it. Is that danger? I will stay away from it.
Lunch with Joanna

We sat in our bathing suits and cover ups in Akumal at La Loncheria, the kids' favorite breakfast and lunch spot.

We talked about running. We agreed we would run a 5K in 2010.

I told Joanna how proud I was for her great review in the New York Times last month. She is having a great career.

We sat at the counter. My kids snuggled onto my wooden chair, crowding me, eating tortilla chips off my plate (my mother would hate that!)

That night, we met up again after dinner at the Snack Bar, the thatched roof outdoor dining part of Club Caribe. The kids and I sat at a long table with her mother and a million of her sister's fiance's family.

Joanna's sister knows about blogging. She advised me to update my Google Profile, have a good "About" page, link more to others. 

<blockquote>Joanna Parson and I have been friends for more than ten years. We met at the Depot Theatre when she was in Radio Gals and I was teaching the Depot Apprentice Program. I had brought my students to the Depot to watch a real live play rehearsal. The kids fell in love with her in Radio Gals. What's not to love? She is extremely lovable, smart, talented. She can write, act, teach, sing, play instruments. She and I have had comedy gigs together - one comedy/improv show called Saturday Night Live at the Princeton Public Library. She was my writing teacher one winter. Joanna hosts this great monthly, new work showcase, "Happy Hour Salon" on Friday nights.<blockquote>

Apples to Apples

I talked to Joanna, her mom, and her sister about my four blogs, while we played Apples to Apples at the Snack Bar. The waves still lapping (like at night, they don't have to roll like that, no one is watching but still the waves do their thing.)

I played Apples to Apples, oh, about 10 times on this vacay. My advice is to throw down the Barbara Walters card for any category - Sophisticated, Scary, Funny. She's really a great multi-purpose celebrity.

Last night, young Chris and I almost came to blows. We both thought we had the winning card. The adjective was American. So, Chris threw down Bald Eagle. I threw down watermelon. Unfortunately, someone else (Jeremy?) threw down John Glenn. And you can see where this is going. Ernestine picked John Glenn. Okay, he is American. It was E's prerogative to pick the answer she thought was best. But Bald Eagle is not necessarily more American than watermelon, nor is John Glenn.

I simply cannot believe I am not the best player at Apples to Apples. I am so good with words and so good at reading people. I lost every single time I played. I am not as good as I think. Not really.
Horizontal and No TV

A vacay that is mostly horizontal is very nice. I had planned yesterday to walk the length of the beach as I had with Joanna on that first (or was it second?) morning in Akumal. But inertia sets in.

Instead, I lay at the pool, arguing with my brother in law about why my little family could not blow up our TV, as he advised. When raising their boys, Jeff and E did not have a television.

I said, "Chris and I both work or have worked in television. It's disingenuous to give it up."

"That's like, if your mother worked in a brothel, you shouldn't keep your kids from working in a brothel," Jeff argued. I don't think TV's as bad as a brothel.

My kids sat on our lounge chairs piping in, "But what about Glee? If we gave up TV, we'd have to give up Glee and American Idol." But the kids were much more on board with the idea of "No Television" than I would have thought. They're more on board with it than I am.

Hayden listed all of his friends whom he plays sports with outdoors.

Catherine agreed with Jeff -- we should take the television out to the field in front of Skenewood and simply shoot the TV. Charlotte just stared at the surf.
Our Little SNAFU at JFK


Well, at the beginning, we had a little SNAFU (that stands for yes, Systems Normal All F'ed Up) at the airport.

See, Mom, in her inimicable wisdom and frugality made two separate reservations for the American Airlines flight to Cancun - one for she and Hayden with frequent flier miles and the other through Orbitz for Chris and the girls.

But when they arrived at the airport with an hour to spare (we would've had a lot more time but we had to drop off that stupid hamster in Washington Heights and we followed the GPS way to the airport instead of my favorite way the Triboro Bridge (now called the RFK bridge). Any way.

The passports were not accepted at the kiosks. We were vaulted to the front of the line and an agent named Precious came back after 20 minutes to inform us that she was able to ticket Chris, Char and Cat, but she could not find mine nor Hayden's reservations. It was now 3:50. Our flight at 4:30. Those who had tickets had to go because the flight was boarding.

Here's how we coped. Catherine said, "I don't want to go without mom." Chris said, "We're going with or without Mom and Hayden." I said, "I'm sure it'll work out." Hayden said, "I'll go back to the city and stay with Nick for the week." Char texted Kenna.
"I got a brand new phone for Christmas!"

Chris and the girls headed towards security. I said to Precious, "I was sure that I had a reservation. I just checked the reservation yesterday. I remember because I tried to get us seats near each other. No seats were open."

Finally Precious located my so-called reservation. And guess what? Our flight was for the same day, indeed, but for the morning flight. And that was hours ago. But Precious and a few other agents found a way to re-instate us. But suddenly the computer was giving Precious and her colleague trouble. Time was ticking away. It was about 4:10.

"Good luck!" Precious and the agents called as they we handed us our passports with the airline tickets tucked in. We still had to get through security.

We only had to cut in front of one person - a kind, tall, blonde college student - to get to the front of the security checkpoint. Then we ran, dragging our rolling carts, up and down escalators to our gate. We saw Catherine at the top of the escalator.

Hayden described her stance as that of a tag team runner, waiting for the baton - her body poised forward, her hand reaching back to grab our luggage. For Hayden, that was the highlight of the day, seeing Catherine ready to help us run our luggage to the gate.

When I saw Catherine, I knew we would make it. We were the last to board that flight for Cancun. We were grateful. Chris told me on the flight, "I was sure you wouldn't make it."

"But I knew we were on the flight. I had tried to get us to sit near each other and I couldn't."

"It's hard to get seats near each other when you're on separate flights," Chris noted wryly.
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