I spend about as much time on the phone today as I did when I was a teenager. I think I’m addicted to the damn thing. That’s probably just a side effect of living alone. I can only talk to my pets so much before their lack of response starts to give me a slight complex. But I digress…
Last night I was talking to my mom on the phone while she was driving home from “Toastmasters”. I’m still unclear as to exactly what Toastmasters is. I am leaning toward a cult that sometimes wears strange hats, and when you go, you are forced to give impromptu, highly personal speeches. She insists it is a nice group of people who enjoy public speaking and gain confidence and friends. Hmm. You say pleasant crowd of folks, I say spooky cult. Tomato/Tomahto…
She pitched a speech idea to me. It involves the land we have in Arkansas, ticks and the word “foreplay” is in the punch line. I see the humor. Arkansas is redneck, ticks are great, especially when they give you Lyme disease, and who doesn’t love a good foreplay joke? However, I just wasn’t feeling it. Not because it is a story about my parents, intermingled with the word “foreplay” (there isn’t actually any foreplay in this story. I may not know what Toastmasters is, but I’m 99% certain it’s not that kind of establishment), but because it just gave me the willies.
We decided to nix that story.
So we started recounting our trip to Honduras in 2005. When our boat docked, my dad and sister took off for some diving and my mom and I found ourselves in paradise. We had signed up for an excursion that included a tour of the island Roatan and a day on a private beach. We promptly board a 1978 bus that looks like it is headed for a prison and proceed to drive through the most poverty-stricken area I have ever seen with my own blue eyes. I can’t describe what it was like. But it’s certainly something I’ll never forget.
We then got to our first destination, an Iguana Farm. Sounds harmless. Those are like the Geico Gecko, right? WRONG. Those are bigger than Bama (who is my 14.7 pound Shih Tzu (yes she has lost .3 pounds since the diet began, thank you very much)) and their eyes are bulging out of their heads. Their fingernails are longer than the ones on the gloves that come with witch Halloween costumes and they are running around at our feet. Oh, and I forgot to mention that there are thousands of them. My mom grabs me and tells me to stay close, but I immediately went into a trance and started walking through the iguanas. I figured out later that I was transfixed on a monkey that was on display. The poor emaciated thing was pitiful, but it was enough to get me to walk through thousands of iguanas. While walking through the sea of green lizards, I was handed a huge leaf. I thanked the kind woman for her gift, and then she informed me that I was to feed the lizards. So I hold the leaf out as far away from my body as possible and one quick little fellow eats it in about 2 seconds. Before I knew it, the little sharp teeth were up by my fingers! I immediately did a full body shiver and ran screaming from the scene.
I spot my mom at the same time all of the iguanas spot her. She is wearing a long swimsuit cover-up that is moomoo-esque and has a print of huge green leaves on it, so in their minds, she is covered in their dinner. She starts getting surrounded by iguanas and I can see the panic creep across her face. Somehow she sidestepped and did a little dance and got away from the monsters. I made my way over to her and we clung to each other for safety. Meanwhile, everyone else seems to be having a fine time. Weirdos.
Out of nowhere, my mom starts screaming and running across the dirt parking lot in pursuit of a bright red bus, the only bright red bus in the place. She starts beating on the windows and screaming for them to stop. The driver stopped and then had to tell her we weren’t on his bus, that all of his passengers were accounted for. She comes back over, looking frazzled, and I point out our bus to her (which I have not let out of my sight) and make sure that she sees that it is not bright red and that it is still here. I assure her that we were not going to be left. Over my dead body. She and I needed a Xanax.
Finally, it was time to leave the hell that is the Roatan Island Iguana Farm, and head to the private beach. This place was magnificent. Beautiful sand, warm water, setting sun… a nice beach dweller cooking lobster tails. Paradise.
Once we and our full bellies got settled in our chairs, the woman lounging in the chair next to us says (unsolicited) “You know, it was a beautiful day just like today when that horrific tsunami hit and killed all those people.”
Thanks, lady. Now we’re afraid for our lives again. Just when Roatan was starting to redeem itself.