Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Age of Innocence

After a rather energetic breakfast, we headed down to the hotel pier for a scheduled catamaran tour. It was all going according to schedule until we couldn't find the boat. Angie is crap at finding anything, but it wasn't exactly a big pier, so by 11:00 we finally had to accept that the wind storm that had hit early this morning might have cancelled the 10:30 pick-up. Oh, well - shit happens. When life gives you lemons, you form an impromptu boy band and let Peter rock the stage with his air guitar solo.

As we goofed around on the pier with the wind in our face and the sun on our backs, I couldn't help wishing yet again that I could freeze time. In the snapshots of my memory, I will always think back to this pier and the pure innocence of youth. The boys are coming of age and soon enough I will be pulling Peter aside to talk to him about the birds and bees. Six hours later, to be exact.

As we strolled the beach, I made two discoveries. First, there was not a damn shell to be found anywhere. The second, which took us over an hour to figure out, was that Angie is physically and absolutely mentally unable to leave a beach without finding at least one seashell.

Two hours later, my stomach starting growling and my liver was getting thirsty. I seriously contemplated sending Peter on a mission to go buy a bag of the tourist seashells that they sell in the hotel shop and secretly scatter them in front of Angie's path. I even quietly pitched the idea to Peter.

'Are you with me?'

Judging by the shit-eating grin, I'm pretty sure he was on board, but I'll never know for sure. David's victory wail interrupted our scheming as he raced towards Mama. 

'I found one!'   

'No, David. That's a piece of broken glass. Keep looking.'

David's not an idiot; I think he knew it was broken glass, but it does show the level of desperation among the male contingency. We were willing to try anything to get Shell-chick back to the hotel. In the end, it was the disgusting level of garbage on the beach that started to pile up, oddly enough, as soon as we got out of eyesight from the hotel that did the trick.

'Right, grab that box!'

We picked up an empty cardboard box and instead of seashells, we started collecting pollution on the way back, which we then promptly deposited in the hotel trash bin as we made our way to lunch. It wasn't a box of shells, but at least we collected something and I felt that Angie was okay with this. I ignored the uncontrollable twitching and mutters of 'shells' over and over again and chalked this up to the fact that Angie just needed to eat.

'Everyone stop making eye contact with Mama and go wash your hands!'

After lunch, Angie wanted to go back to the beach and asked us if we would like to join her. Tommy cried, David laughed, and Peter ran away beating his head as I shouted tidbits like 'hell no!' and 'are you freakin' nuts?', leaving Angie with the choice of a lone search for wild geese in the middle of a sandstorm or lounging by the pool with her book as the manly men played darts. Mmm, decisions, decisions.

Ali Baba might be cooler than Miles Davis, but he certainly won't be winning the Island Safety Award. Perhaps a few points to explain.
  • We were in the middle of a wind storm. 
  • The darts were made of a lightweight plastic.
  • The wild animals flinging the flimsy arrows were crap at aiming.
  • Ali Baba was not wearing shoes.
By amazing luck, Ali Baba did not end the evening with the need for a tetanus shot. Even more incredible was that Peter stuck all three of his darts, including the green dart being a millimeter away from a bulls-eye.

After an hour of human pin-cushion avoidance, we rounded up Mama and headed off to dinner. Along the way, Angie informed me that Peter had been asking her questions.

'Tell me about it. The boy never shuts up.'

'No, Steve. I mean he was asking 'questions'. You know...'

'Ohhh. Okay, got it. I'll talk to him.'

As the boys attacked the buffet, I mentally prepared my impromptu father-son talk. With bellies full of cooked food, the collective serotonin levels kicked in and brotherly sunset bonding ensued.

I was once again hit with emotions as I watched Peter enjoying the simple life and struggled with whether or not I was ready for him to become wiser in the secrets of life. In the end, I had to remind myself that it was Peter who had been asking which meant that he was obviously ready. If I didn't step up, he would find the information elsewhere and I would forever lose a bonding moment.

'Hey, Peter, let's go for a walk on the beach.'

'Okay, cool.'

As I walked along the beach looking for an ideal rock to sit on, I stopped Peter. I wanted to capture a picture of the age of innocence that I reluctantly knew would be slipping away soon.

Peter still had no idea why I had asked him to walk on the beach with me. Even so, the more I look at this picture, I get the sense that he knew. Maybe not exactly what, but I'm pretty sure that he was aware that we weren't just going for a stroll on the beach.

In the end, we probably walked further than I had planned as I still collected my thoughts. Trust me, it's not easy. We passed many a fine sitting rocks and in the end settled for a deserted bus bench near the pier of a different hotel.

I won't detail the father-son talk, but I will absolutely recommend this talk for fathers everywhere. It's awkward, it's uncomfortable, it's revealing, it's informative, it's never too much detail, no matter what you think, it's bonding, it's wonderful, it's needed. And most importantly, it's appreciated. Just do it.

When we got back to the hotel, Mini Disco had started. David and Tommy had unknowingly initiated a contest to see who could be the biggest jackass. In a surprise decision by the self-appointed judge, Angie won.

I tried comforting the winner by explaining that it was a close call, but she flat-out refused my request for an acceptance speech. Whatever.

Peter proudly whispered into the Champ's ear that he had had the 'Father-son' talk and then ran off to hang out with the other innocent youths.

Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: That I had my father-son talk.
David: That I won by pool and said ba-ba-da-goo-goo to Peter.
Tom: That we could go hundred times in the pool.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: That I cut me by the pool.
David: That Tommy said shaba-doo-doo to me.
Tom: Mama throwed my water pistol on the wall and then it was broken.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: I want to jump in the big pool by the deep side.
David: I want to say to Tommy Nase Pfeffer Nase Banana Pfeffer.
Tom: Look wrestling on T.V.

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