Tuesday, March 12, 2013: The Impersonator

Dear Babies,

It might seem wrong to have your kids flip through your vacation pictures on your phone (with the ease of someone who’s only lived among screens you can swipe), come across one of you and a transvestite dressed as Marilyn Monroe from “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” at an outdoor bar, ask “Mama, this?” to which you respond, “Marilyn Monroe,” naturally, and then have them say for the next five minutes on repeat, “Maryn Monnooooe!” clearly excited by the prospect of this very tall, very large, very blonde person who must be a member of the family they not yet have met. 

But no, that’s not wrong.

That’s the point of vacation.

I’ve been in the Florida Keys for the past four days and have consumed nothing but fish tacos, french fries, Kalik beer, mud slides and bloody mary’s and not necessarily in that order.

This may seem wrong, too.

(Actually, slipping back into my mom-uniform this rainy Tuesday morning, my tight black Lululemon pants, it was very wrong. Note: Mama can’t bounce back the way she used to.)

For a few days there my biggest problem was that when the sun went behind a cloud it got chilly on the beach. By the water, it was windy. As a group of a New Yorkers determined to soak up the warmth, no one had packed appropriately for these frost-bitten conditions (or, anything less than 80 degrees). The resort had a shop but it’s annoying to go buy something, we said.

We’d also said things like, what are we doing, living {here, there, Port Washington, New Jersey, the Upper West Side}??

What are we doing?

Why are we not living here? 


{Insert mental picture of a white sand beach, teal water, a tiki bar with a reggae bland playing and pelicans soaring by…}


As the wind picked up, more suggestions about heading toward the resort shop to buy something were made. After all, the wedding was at 5:00 p.m. on the beach, it would get even cooler at night, what problems! Should we buy sweatshirts? Shawls?

A friend joked to your dad, “Denby, what are we working for? Come on, let’s go buy some shawls!” As if this should be the fruits of our labor, the freedom to buy shawls…

I could never live here, I said. I’d miss the winter. I’d miss New York, even though when my delayed Delta flight touched down at Laguardia I noted, yet again, how remarkably nicer every other airport is in the entire world.

I like to visit places.

I like to have different experiences.

I like to be someone else for a few days, someone who’s biggest problem is should she buy a beach shawl.

My very first of the 700 fish tacos consumed was the best one by far, had at a place called Sharkey’s in Key Largo.

The waitress was handing out bottle opener keychains (your dad and I go to some classy joints!), and when I got one I turned to your father, genuinely excited, “great! I needed a keychain!”

“Great for all those beers you open throughout the day, too.”

(Dear Child Protective Services: I’m not really opening beers throughout the day. He’s kidding. Throw me a bone, small and lightweight because I’m not the best catcher.)

When I got home I wiped the bottom of my purple-beaded hippie backpack clean with a Seventh Generation sanitizing wipe.

Because the more I travel, the more I see how I’m someone who spends a few days barefoot on the beach with a beaded backpack but then gets home and cleans it with a sanitizing wipe, because who knows what germs are in those overhead compartments on planes??

I see how I could never live here {there, the Keys, anywhere} because I’m not someone who can easily cut all ties and let things go. Routine included.

It’s miserable here today. Raining. Cold. I’m staring out the window at our neighbor’s telephone pole and a fence. But for whatever reason, I am home. Traveling has taught me that. That’s why it’s important to travel and see other places, because it helps you set your compass (however, please note that Spring Break does not count).

I am back to myself again, back to drinking tea at 2:oo p.m. instead of a frozen coconut margarita. A new book sits on the coffee table, a photo book bought at the airport for $3.95 titled “The Florida Keys” (I know, how’d they think of that?!). I like how I can open it at anytime and visit not just a place but a person I sometimes like to be.




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