Category Archives: It’s a Dark World After All

It’s a Dark World After All – Part III of III

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As we made our way back to our building, we passed a group of people seated under an umbrella who were chatting about the pool. A large man with a towel draped around his neck called out to us.

“Hey! Do you know what this unscheduled cleaning thing is all about? We come to a resort to be able to swim.”

Now you should know that my brother-in-law is a friendly guy. Put him in a check-out line beside a stoic or in a room with a cinder block, and he’ll get a decent conversation out of either. Given this streak of loquaciousness, he was happy to enlighten them.

“I’ll tell you exactly why they closed the pool, and that’s because somebody crapped in it. My own daughter was the one who stepped on it.” He jerked his thumb in Callie’s direction, who immediately tried to look illegitimate.

“Oh,” the man said, clearly sorry he’d asked. A couple of women around him shifted uncomfortably. Poor things. They were probably from some exotic and classy place far from the clutches of the Deep South. Such as Vermont. Jerry strolled over, and I heard Teena entreat the help of the Lord.

“Yeah, you think when you come to a high class place like this that people would know better, but I could tell by the size of it when I lifted it out of the water on that banana leaf that it wasn’t the work of a child.” He wagged his head in sorrow. “You sure don’t expect adults to do something so low class in a place like this.”

You could tell that none of his audience did either by their stunned silence. Seeing as they had been properly apprised of the situation, Jerry rejoined us where we stood huddled amidst a nice overgrowth of foliage. As soon as he reached us, Teena and I shot out like a couple of flushed quail, and Callie lit into him.

“Geez, Dad! Did you have to tell them everything?”

“Well, they asked.”

“Sure, but a full description and the banana leaf detail might have been a little over the top.”

“Look, if folks can crap in the pool, I can at least tell the story.”

A few minutes later, we stood in an elevator waiting for the doors to close when another family of four stepped in.

“Can you believe they closed the pool?” The mother’s eyes were shocked and mildly outraged as her offspring stood around her wearing water wings and Dora the Explorer swimsuits.

“They sure did.” Jerry paused, and the three of us sucked in enough air to deplete the oxygen levels in the elevator. He looked at us with merriment dancing in his eyes, and we didn’t exhale until the family exited on floor 3. As we stepped onto the 5th floor, Jerry asked, “Aren’t you proud of me for holding back?”

“Very,” my sister assured him as he dialed his phone. Moments later he was talking to my nephew, who was working that weekend.

“Hey, Blake! Guess what just happened at the pool?” Teena slipped the plastic key in the lock and ushered him inside.

© 2012 – Traci Carver

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It’s a Dark World After All – Part II of III

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Because of our leisurely pace down the state, the hour hand was stalking five before we made our way to the pool. As a person who likes the thermometer to hover around a crisp 92°, I opted for a book and a lounge chair instead of a dip in what I considered to be glacial waters. The other three tossed flip flops and beach bags my way and then struck out for the lazy river. Teena rejoined me half an hour later while the other two diehards persevered.

The loud-speaker announcement came while I was pondering the enigma of overweight European men in Speedos and my sister was flipping through Good Housekeeping. “Will everyone please exit the lazy river and pool area? We need to perform an unscheduled cleaning, which will take approximately one hour. We will announce when the pool reopens.”

Teena lowered her magazine. “That’s odd.”

“I bet some kid up-chucked in the pool. You just can’t trust a three year old.” We watched as people crawled out of the waters en masse, almost as if there had been a Jaws sighting by the waterslide. Moments later we spotted Callie and Jerry talking to a couple of resort employees. Callie had her hands on her hips, and Jerry’s hand movements said he was telling a story.

“Wonder what’s going on there?” Teena tossed her magazine aside and sauntered over. She could only get so close, however, because the lazy river separated her from her loved ones. Try as she might, she could neither hear nor talk to them, only witness their lives across the turbulent, and now fetid, waters. Throw in a cocker spaniel and a debilitating disease, and we’d have a Hallmark movie on our hands.

Teena walked back over and shrugged her shoulders. “Can’t tell what’s going on. We’ll just have to wait for them to cross a couple of bridges.”  Prophecy fulfilled, they rounded the corner.

“Well, this is just great!” Callie leaned over and snatched a towel from our stash. “What a fabulous way to start our vacation!” She started rubbing with enough vigor to hit bone in twenty seconds flat. We looked at Jerry.

“Somebody took a crap in the pool.”

“Ask me how I know!” Callie charged in without losing an ounce of towel momentum to verbal activity. “I was the one who stepped on it! Squish, right between my toes! We were walking and swimming the river, and there it was, just rolling around on the bottom.” She halted the fabric cleansing and looked around for something more aggressive, such as a Brillo pad or maybe a machete. Being the adorable little germaphobe she is, I knew those top three layers of skin were history. Her leg would be lucky if she stopped exfoliation at the knee.

I shook my head. “Like I told Teena earlier, you just can’t trust small children.”

“Oh, this didn’t belong to a baby,” Jerry clarified. “No, sir. That one was manufactured by someone at least five years old. Could have even been an adult’s.”

“Yeah. We reported it to the lifeguard, and they said people do it all the time.”

“Yup. They said they had to clean the pool three times in one day last week.”

This little exchange brought me up short. It’s one thing for a Pampers to lose its grip on a toddler, but a willful action by an adult? At a luxury resort? I felt the universe tilt half an inch to the left.

Teena was also having a hard time with this new dark side of humanity. “Are you sure it was . . .” and here she lowered her voice before saying something indelicate, “ . . . poo?”

“It was crap alright,” Jerry bellowed with megaphone intensity. “Once Callie dug into it with her foot, I scooped it up on one of those banana leaves so I wouldn’t have to touch it.”

“The lifeguard couldn’t believe he did that.”

“It was nothing,” Jerry said with the humility of a hero who’s just taken a very smelly one for the team.

“If you two have had your dose of E Coli for the day, maybe we should head back to the room,” I suggested.

“Yes,” Teena said, gathering towels. “You’ll need a shower.”

“And some disinfectant,” Callie added.

© 2012 – Traci Carver

It’s a Dark World After All – Part I of III

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I’ve never understood all the hype surrounding Orlando and Disney World. As a native Floridian, I’ve made the mandatory pilgrimage to see Mickey Mouse the way a faithful Muslim journeys to Mecca, but I’ve never been able to grasp the allure behind what is essentially an overgrown rodent. He’s cute, to be sure, but so is the three-legged, half blind possum that wanders through my mom’s backyard on a nightly basis, and yet, no one’s granted him a magical kingdom. Even when I lived in Asia, my Indonesian friends from rural villages knew of two locations in the U.S.: New York City and Disney World. Given that those were their only two points of reference, I found myself siding with vermin over giant fruit, but that’s only because we were contained within the same state lines. No, my association with Disney World has been at acquaintance level at best, so you must know that my trip to Orlando had nothing to do with animated cartoon characters, dancing dolls from around the world, or mountains in space. I went for the pool.

My sister Teena had extended the invitation a couple of weeks prior. They were renting a one bedroom at a luxury resort that had a living room with a foldout couch. I could share the sofa bed with my 23 year old niece for no charge. Knowing that this place had multiple pools and a lazy river, I did a quick calendar check and bikini count and responded in the affirmative. Friday morning on June 29th, we were rolling south.

The trip down involved hours of music. Our family can be subdivided into two groups, the singers and the listeners, and my brother-in-law, niece and I are in the former. We were rolling on a river, carrying our brother (’cause he ain’t heavy), and free fallin’, while Teena nodded companionably in the passenger’s seat. If other travelers on Interstate 75 could have heard us, they would have thought the Partridge family was going on vacation. We pulled in shortly after check-in time for a hiatus that was soon to leave an impression.

© 2012 – Traci Carver