Monday, December 14, 2009


Have you read those Sookie Stackhouse novels?  They're by Charlaine Harris.  Fun, light-hearted vampire novels that are the inspiration for the True Blood series on HBO.

In them, Sookie, our heroine, can overhear what people are thinking.  She's not really psychic, she's more like an unwilling eavesdropper.  That's how I felt during travel a couple of weeks ago.  I didn't read anyone's mind.  I didn't have to, people were putting their lives on broadcast everywhere I went. 

Now, I've heard some authors say they love nothing more than to be the unnoticed fly on the wall during a juicy conversation among strangers.  And, you know, I think I might agree with them.  But, the truth of the matter is, like Sookie's overheard mental snippets, most of what people say isn't that interesting.

I travel alone most of the time.  I am quite content with my own company, and aside from general pleasant and polite platitudes, I keep my mouth shut.  I have books, an MP3 player, my Blackberry and an active mind to fill my silences.  When I do engage in conversation (especially in public places) I am not the strident sail, I seek the attention of no one except the person with whom I am in conversation, nor do I share at length the banalities of my day or the privacies of my mind.

Apparently this puts me in the 99th percentile among travelers. 

A philosophy professor of mine once said, "You can't learn anything with your mouth open."  I took it to heart and attuned myself to listening, rather than being the one to spout off my "intelligences" to those who were only waiting for an opportunity to cut in and talk back at me.  The quote has served me well over life, but there are times when there's simply nothing to be learned from someone else's open mouth.

I cannot tell you how many boring, go-nowhere, mean-nothing, fill-the-silence conversations I was party to while a captive audience at the airports and in the airplanes.  It was enough to make me feel faintly homicidal.

Have you ever read a manuscript by a beginning author who feels the need to capture the reality of conversation?  They don't use dialogue as a tool for advancing the story, giving insight into character or expressing a mood.  Instead they put quotes around everyday conversation.

"It is nice to meet you.  What is your name?"
"My name is Sara.  What is your name?"
"I am Jackie."

It's English 101 taught in Herzegovina.  And it's enough to make you slam the book shut and turn the author around for a good ass-kicking.  That's what it was like traveling the weekend after Thanksgiving.  I was stuck in six different airports and on five different flights at one-time or another, and I swear to Joseph, nobody had anything interesting to say at all, and every one of them said it at length. 

My mother tells me I need to be more patient, she's probably right.  But instead I would rather people just shut the hell up.  If you don't have anything interesting to say, don't sit anywhere near me.

Just Finished: Bedded For Passion, Purchased For Pregnancy 
Just Finished: Black Silk 
Just Finished: Elizabeth's Wolf 
Currently Reading: F Is For Fugitive 
Currently Reading: Conspiracy In Death

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Fat-Bottomed Girls You Make The Rockin' World Go Round

I am three days back from a 6 day stay in Antigua. 

I hung out with my mum and stuffed my face daily from the all-inclusive restaurant.  We drove, and beached, and met relatives, and got lost and got tanned.  Essentially, we touristed.

I tourist.
You tourist.
He / she / it tourists.

And we slept.  Man, did we sleep.  One day we got up, had breakfast, went to the beach for an hour, took a nap, had lunch, then sat in the back of a cab for three hours being driven around on a tour, took another nap, got up and had dinner, then went to sleep for the night.  Oh yeah, baby.  We slept.

Our room wasn't luxury, but it was completely comfortable.  Here's the view from my bed.

What you can't see is that between that patch of grass and that swathe of ocean is a tidy bit of beach.  It really was just that simple a matter of walking out of the room and wading into the ocean.

The best thing about the room, which my mother didn't seem to appreciate, and I didn't much think about one way or the other until I hit civilization again,  was that there was no TV, and no radio.  Just the sound of the waves hitting the shore.  (Oh, and the AC which mum insisted on having on 24/7)  And Lord, blessed, hallelujah - my Blackberry didn't work there either.  No texts.  No e-mails.  No phone calls. 

We could hear tree frogs every night singing to us.  During the day there was no canned laughter.  No whining about the political motives of this party or that.  No doom and gloom forecasts of how the economy / job market / church / world / you are going to hell.  Just, ocean.

The first TV I heard in the airport on the return trip was CNN talking heads, earning their shekels by predicting all of the above.  I wanted to stick my fingers in my ears and scream LA LA LA LA LA to escape it.  No wonder so many of us are on anti-depressants.  We can't turn around without some expert telling us how bad the world we live in is.

To my regret I only had one pure beach day.  And I got me a little tan.  Here's me on the beach. 

See that big round thang bouncing up and down in the distance?  That's all me.  I know many women who would be mortified of shots of themselves in a swimsuit -- especially shots from the rear.  But this image just makes me smile.

Look at that!  One healthy, working body, out there on the beach.  Hair blowing, knees moving, flesh jiggling.  It's a good thing.  I have known far too many people who would happily trade places with me in order to have all parts of themselves work like God intended, and damn the extra fat.  Hell, I know more than a few people who would love to have the extra pounds too, so I'm gonna celebrate mine and share it with the world.

The shots from the front aren't as enlivened.  Further, they show my face--and since I've been on the net ('93) I've made a conscious effort to keep both my face and real name off the web.  So you won't be seeing any of those shots.  But how could I resist sharing that juicy bodonkadonk with all the other real women out there? 

Here's where we had breakfast and lunch. 

Migrating birds from the States joined us for every meal, but they were tiny little finches, not big bruiser pigeons, so it was very clean.

And here's the view from that spot.  I stood just outside the deck area for exposure purposes. 

I swear, no retouching.  It looked just like that.

I'll stop now.  I know there's very little in the world more boring than other people's vacation photos.  But I had such a pleasant time I couldn't resist.  I hope you all had a wonderful week after Thanksgiving too.


Just Finished: The Lovely Bones 
Just Finished: When You Call My Name 
Just Finished: Dead Girls Are Easy 
Just Finished: His Perfect Match 
Just Finished: No Limits 
Just Finished: Hummingbird 
Currently Reading: F is For Fugitive