I’ve woken up earlier than anyone else and am downstairs at the continental breakfast. I thought I’d catch up on news, scribble a few lines in my journal and actually get some work done. But I can’t. I’m enthralled with the discussion going on four feet to my right, between a woman and husband and the woman’s elderly mother. Join in for a few…
“And mom, Michael’s new ‘girlfriend’ showed up wearing a shirt that said… Well mom, do you know that slogan ‘Got Milk?’?”
“Yes, I like milk.”
“No that’s what people say. They say ‘Got Milk?’.”
“Anyway. Her shirt said ‘Got Jesus?’
“No. She loves Jesus mom!”
“Oh that’s good.”
“I told her I hoped it wasn’t, you know, sarcastic. But she said no, that she really loves Jesus! Isn’t that spectacular?”
“I told him as long as she is a good Christian with both parents and doesn’t have any debt or bad associations, like friends, she sounds acceptable.”
Gotta love the religious Midwest. God, bless ‘em why don’t you? All of ‘em.
As I feel a sneeze coming on, I secretly curse all the little diseased children running around. Something about indoor water parks is unequivocally disgusting, and I blame everyone but me. Last night I spent two full hours floating between the lazy river (which should have been called ‘Rip Current Alley’), a four story yellow slide that was less sturdy than the forts my kids build out of blankets and chairs and a lukewarm wading pool that was no doubt filled with equal parts Michigan tap water, kid piss and chlorine. It might have been a bit heavy on the chlorine now that I think about it. Twelve hours later I am writing this with my right eye shut because it burns and I can’t get it to focus on the screen.
But even with one eye, the décor of my current surroundings is impossible to miss. This place is called ‘Safari Joe’s’ and a big part of their marketing is the fact that they’ve got hundreds of dead, big game animals lining the walls – each with a picture of “Joe”, the killer, adorning his dead trophy on a dated plaque beneath them. You think this elephant is fake? WRONG. Furthermore, it wasn’t killed by Safari Joe either, it was killed by his wife and I saw a photo of the proud hunter standing over the dead carcass, donning a predatory leer while blood trickled out of its ears and onto her boots.
A little boy is trying to land a fruit loop on the sharp tip of a gazelle’s antler. That’s real, I tell him quietly. That Gazelle got shot and someone cut its head off. He backs away, not wanting to turn his back on me.
Now I’m obsessing about my impending sickness. Could I have picked something up in the bathroom? Yesterday I was consumed by the scattered clumps of wet toilet paper clinging to the floors and walls and the rubber mats that do their part to make sure no one slips in the streams of piss and pool water being splashed through by a hundred and one dirty kids an hour. God, I just want a shot of penicillin. In a way, my concern about the bathrooms is a bit illogical I guess. I mean, I assume everyone there but me just pisses in the pool. If I’m right, there should be a lot less urine trickling across the locker room floor, shouldn’t there? I should probably just pee in the pool myself and focus my anxiety on remembering not to open my eyes and mouth underwater.