Do you remember back in junior high when your English teacher would ask you to write about what you learned on your summer vacation? Well, as adults, we don’t really get summers “off,” but in the spirit of the notion here are some things I discovered:
Turtles make noises. For some reason, all of my life-long turtle encounters previously involved only the completely silent variety. I therefore made the mistaken assumption that turtles do not speak. I have seen box turtles, snapping turtles, large sea turtles and even one turtle attached to Son 2’s stomach with a death-grip bite, but I have never heard them emit any sound. Well friends, they do. They grunt and groan and sound eerily mammalian when they mate. I happened upon an unusual scene at the appropriately named “Turtle’s Nest Resort” in Anguilla. Okay, a rather anthropomorphic description, but it seemed a misogynistic assault, where girl turtle appeared less playing coy and more trying to escape, while the surrounding turtle mob did nothing but watch. One old guy was so enflamed by the events unfolding before him that he flipped over onto his back and was unable to right himself. At first I thought it was a well-deserved karma slap caused by his lack of chivalry, but I eventually caved and righted the old codger, albeit with a sound scolding for his lack of morality.
Another Anguilla lesson: The world would be a better place if we all adopted their country’s unofficial motto, “No problem.” The Anguillan people taught me there is really no reason to get upset about life’s little bumps, and there is usually an easy solution to most situations. Let me demonstrate:
We had rented a soft-sided jeep that was delivered to our resort. When we discovered it, we noticed a) the jeep’s on-and-off attitude about our need for air conditioning, b) tires that had seen better days and c) no back window. We also needed to obtain an Anguilla driver’s license from the rental agency. No problem, they would drop by in the next day or two. When we did meet up, three days later, we had become island soothed about the spotty air conditioning, the treacherous-looking tires and essentially driving without a license. We were, however, still concerned about the windowless back of the jeep. “Hey, storms always come on the island from this way to that way,” said the car rental agent, waving his arms in the general direction of the cloud movement. “Just park the jeep so the back is facing away from the way the rain is coming. If it gets a little wet, no problem.” I miss that jeep. I miss that island.
Next, although I believe my verbal acuity is somewhat on the higher side of anodyne, I do come across a new-to-me word now and again. One of the best sources I have found to boost word knowledge (and a truly interesting book for history buffs) is Alexander Hamilton, by Ron Chernow. It’s an amazing feat to write such a riveting book while still throwing in puzzling words like “Solon.” For you word nerds, it refers to an Athenian statesman who was credited with establishing a sort of democracy by dividing citizens into four different classes, based on wealth. You are welcome, and please send me your best sentences featuring this word.
Now on to social media, a fantastic summertime time killer. I understand it, a bit. As far as I can tell, facebook is for those 35 and older to brag, post pictures to incite envy and spout political beliefs that will change no one’s mind. Instagram seems the picture form of facebook. Snapchat is so that college kids can share drunken shenanigans with their friends, yet the evidence will then disappear. YouTube is bursting with videos, mostly produced by adolescent boys, that present glimpses of absolutely everything you do and do not want to see. Pinterest is for all of your crafty friends to share ideas without actually having to produce anything. Twitter I am not sure, just to have a spot to ramble on about happenings in your day that interest no one?
This summer I finally clicked on that blue boxed “t” icon and stumbled upon tumblr. I don’t get it. I think it’s a place for people to blog about their favorite obsessions and fight with people who disagree with them. It’s like my own personal train wreck, and I am compelled to check in on some of my favorite posters almost daily. Thanks to tumblr, yesterday started off in the best way … with laughter. Someone was giving another encouragement against the haters on her tumblr page, and said something along the lines of “I know that raising kittens is a very difficult job.” I snorted my coffee. I would like to meet the person whose life is so bubble wrapped and golden that raising kittens would be considered such an onerous task.
This fall, I hope you all join me in learning new things, having new experiences and exploring your world … but for the sake of mankind’s health and happiness, please AVOID ALL KITTENS!