My husband is a terrible travel companion. He has many other wonderful qualities–he’s a fearless climber, tireless talker and accomplished break dancer (don’t trip, it’s true) among other things. However if you need a free-spirited companion to accompany you and your children to an exotic location that can only be reached by plane, he’s probably not the way to go, unless you enjoy traveling with Captain Agro, in which case have a nice trip and don’t forget to pack his spandex suit and cape.
The problem is that Hubs is never mentally off duty despite what his schedule might say. If there is a gangster with a gun and poor people skills or a 90-year-old with a broken hip and no Life Alert within 50 miles, Hubs will be involved in some capacity—comforting an old lady, delivering a head injury. Possibly at the same time. Because he can multi-task. It’s in his nature, like athleticism and flatulence.
Take our honeymoon for instance. We went to St. Martin, the self-proclaimed “World’s Friendliest Island.” I picked it because there would be no language barrier, it is located in the Caribbean, which is like being in Florida twice removed and a family friend had offered the use of his villa. These were all qualities selected with my husband’s comfort level in mind because honestly if you drop me off in the middle of the worst neighborhood and tell me that I am on vacation in another country, I’ll be giddy with excitement. I have exceptionally low standards and regard for personal safety when traveling.
Hubs disliked St. Martin immediately. There was too much poverty and poverty meant crime. The local police station was unimpressive. (Doesn’t every man take his bride on a romantic trip to the pokey?) Further more, It smelled disturbingly like South Central LA with an ocean breeze, which, come to think of it, explains why he never purchases the Ghetto Ocean Mist scented Febreeze.
When it was time for bed, Hubs paced at the window like a watch dog with a nervous disorder, surveying two individuals at the bottom of the hill on which our villa was perched. They looked suspect, the type of men who might cut the tags off pillow cases and use the pillow to smother an American citizen…and then poorly tip their waitress. I didn’t share his concern so I did what any loving wife would do—told him he was ruining my honeymoon and drugged him with Tylenol PM.
Hours later I awoke from a noise in the living room. I woke Hubs, who left the bed and ventured to the living room buck naked (his preferred sleeping attire) but armed with a souvenir machete he’d found and stashed by the bed when I wasn’t looking. The machete was printed with the words “St. Martin: The Friendliest Island.” Nothing says friendly like a machete.
There outside the sliding glass doors, perched on top of a ladder and removing the louvres from the window atop the sliders was one of the men from the bottom of the hill. Apparently he was an unofficial member of the island welcoming committee staging a surprise welcome party. His friend crouched off to the side of the porch below him, probably to jump out and holler “welcome!” at the appropriate time. Because that’s what you do at a surprise welcome party. Duh.
Hubs started a casual conversation with the man on the ladder (just a dude on a ladder and a naked tourist exchanging pleasantries) in an effort to better understand their motives and relax them in the event that further violence was needed. About the time it became clear that the welcome party was off and none of us would be pen pals, my husband also realized that getting into a knife fight with two men while sporting no clothes was not optimal if he valued his testicles, which for the record, he did and does.
Testicles are a man’s favorite accessory. Like earrings only lower.
Hubs casually suggested to our new friends that they wait where they were because he had something for them, possibly party favors or a thank you present for throwing us such a thoughtful party. Then he strolled quickly but casually into the bedroom to throw on the nearest pair of pants.
Our new friends did not wait around for their thank you present, which admittedly sounds rude but, as I mentioned to Hubs afterward, maybe they were overwhelmed by the thought of what possible present a naked, machete wielding American might produce for them. I can’t really blame them. Hubs told me the same thing once and I ended up pregnant. Makes you think twice before accepting a present from him, you know?
I unsuccessfully attempted to convince Hubs that experiencing the local crime scene was just another charming way to truly get to know another country. He was not swayed and announced that he would never travel anywhere he could not take his gun nor sleep without pants again (cue the
sigh of relief sound of heartbreak from our neighbors), I went back to bed and he stayed up to plan his own surprise party for the welcome committee should they return.
When I woke in the morning and went out to the living room again I found Hubs surrounded by homemade weapons and an empty pot of coffee. By this time he had lost the need to blink and excitedly showed me his homemade weapons stash. I thought the stapler strapped to a board was especially nice. Then we sat and watched the local hotel burn, a completely unrelated event I think, but I can’t be sure.
Hours later we were flying home, my bikini never having seen the sun. And that was the end of my honeymoon, as well as the last time Hubs and I traveled outside of the United States. And whereas my biggest regret was leaving the honeymoon without so much as a tan line, my husband’s biggest regret was having been in close proximity to two capering criminals and due to lack of gun and pants not catching them. Clearly we have different travel priorities.
One could argue that Hubs is an excellent person to have around in the event of an emergency and they’d be right. On the other hand, the emergency is less likely to happen if he’s not there—at least I’m not aware of the emergency, which is almost the same thing. After all, ignorance is bliss or at least an umbrella drink.