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There's something that's been bothering me for a while, and I think I put my finger on it today.
When my wife and I got married, we used all of my airline miles and hotel points to book a trip to Tahiti. We divided labor – my wife was in charge of the wedding, and I planned the honeymoon.
We knew two things: first, we wanted to go for a month, and second, we needed to stay in budget.
Actually, I told work I was only going to be gone for two weeks, and then I didn't come back for a month. That's a different story.
We knew we wanted to go to Bora Bora, which is a magical place that looks like this:
The problem was (and, I assume, still is) that staying in a nice hotel there was going to cost us upwards of $2,000 per night, and that was our budget for a lot of the trip. So... it wasn't going to happen.
Instead, we booked a pension, which is the Tahitian / French version of a bed and breakfast. We actually did this all around Tahiti, with pretty good results. But... not there.
When we arrived, part of the island had been destroyed by a storm. The charming couple that ran it had broken up, and the woman had moved back to Malibu to run a monkey rescue. That left our host, Elli, to care for us and a few other couples who were traveling around the world on the cheap.
The thing is, Elli didn't know the first thing about running a hotel. He picked us up on a garbage scow – the boats you use to haul garbage – because his boat had died (you have to take a boat from the airport to anywhere). He was also 45 minutes late. We asked at the stands for other hotels if there was a way to contact him, and they just looked sad, gave us their phone number and told us that they could probably find a room for us.
When we arrived, we found that the mosquito nets were... incomplete. The sheets were being soaked in the ocean to clean them. I told my wife that maybe we wanted to take the other hotels up on their offer, and she said that if I messed up as bad at the next place, we'd only have enough money to upgrade once and so we should just suck it up.
For the record, the next place was lovely.
We also got to witness the entirety of Elli's relationship with the island's vet, who came and prepared our frozen fish dinners for the first two nights of our stay.
They started fighting, which meant that the food went way downhill very quickly. Thankfully, friends had advised us to bring booze with us, which we split with the other couples there and had fun anyway. All of us would sit around a fire, drunk, singing along while Elli or another guest played the guitar.
We made the best of it. We snorkeled and kayaked and when the terrible became too much of a problem, we hightailed it to the tiny town for a day and ate burgers (which were also terrible, if I remember right). We also went to an internet café to see if there was a way to make sure that the next place had a real way of washing sheets, because the seawater sheets were leaving us with a bit of a rash, and the mosquitos were feeding on us a lot.
On the last day, we raced another couple to be the first on on the garbage scow back to the airport (we lost), just because we were desperate for a working bathroom. I had forgotten about the lack of bathrooms until just now.
And then, it was over.
In case you're wondering, this wasn't the worst bed and breakfast experience we ever had. That's reserved for a wedding we went to in the Berkshires while my wife was many months pregnant, our room was also the cat's room and the bathroom was shared... also with the cats.
Today, there's a pretty limited chance that a trip like this could happen. We have so much information at our fingertips that it's incredibly easy to avoid discomfort unless you seek it out in a prepackaged format like a Spartan Race or just willfully ignore everything you read. Heck, you don't even have to be subjected to a movie other people think is bad – you just read a review and decide if it's for you. In this instance, we probably would have seen the postings about the breakup on Instagram and immediately booked something else.
A lot of this is nice, because who wants to see a crappy movie, or go to a bad restaurant, or spend part of the only honeymoon they're ever planning on having watching a guy who looks like Jesus (full white robes, all day, every day, plus the long hair and beard) fight with the local vet in a language you only barely understand when all you want is a bit of fresh coffee?
The thing is, almost all of the good stories I have from growing up or growing older involve things that went horribly wrong in some way, shape, or form. Today, I'd almost have to make a choice to have things go wrong because there's so much information out there telling me how and when to do anything.
Except that time I drove a minivan off a small cliff. The internet wasn't responsible for any of that.
I feel like the constant push we have to curate our existence is more harmful than we want to admit.
And I know exactly what I'm going to do about it.
I'm going to blow up my phone.
Just kidding. That's a terrible idea.
I'm just going to stop looking things up in advance, starting with the weather. If I get rained on, I'll get wet.
Other neato stuff
Did you know that there's such a thing as business horoscopes? Me neither.
Worse food than Applebees? Snapplebees:
Oh, the title of today's post comes from the 1996 Kids in the Hall movie, which hasn't aged all that well. I still like the title, though.
That's it for today! Have a great one.
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