THE SONIC BOOMER
The economy is picking up, and here’s how I know — Mark and I took a trip to Key West last weekend. Of course, it helped that we avoided in-season hotel rates by staying with his son, Brad, whom Mark wanted to see “in action” at his job.
For most of us, parents who come to watch us “in action” at our jobs see us sorting mail or typing a letter or maybe driving some specialized machinery. The big excitement comes when we take them to the cafeteria for lunch.
But Brad has the awesome job of flying F-5 fighter jets around at breakneck speeds as he trains our country’s military pilots in the various air tactics used by our adversaries. It’s like a game of dodgeball, except the ball is a lot more expensive and you could easily get killed if you forgot to dodge. Not your average “specialized machinery.”
We watched Brad take off (earplugs required, no photography allowed), and he immediately and loudly disappeared into space. Lunch was out because, when he landed two hours later, he had to debrief the pilots and tell them how they could improve. Frankly, I was happy to get the call, happy to hear that this particular “adversary” had effectively outwitted the United States yet another day. Whew!
So we took his wife to lunch at one of Key West’s 10 million sea shacks, a shack from which pleasant smells had been emanating all morning long. Then the kids came home from school and crawled all over us until bedtime. Mark was one happy grandpa.
I loved it, too, but this meant my entire plan had backfired. I was trying to get this ocean-island-adventure thing out of his system.
Let me explain: All I’ve heard since I married Mark is how he plans to retire onto a live-aboard boat and cruise the coastline and the Caribbean. This is every man’s dream. Of course, these men expect their women to go with them, whether the women get seasick or not.
I don’t get seasick, but I do know how I live day-to-day. On Monday, I type and putter around the house, and by Tuesday, I need to get into my car and drive for miles because I am bored out of my skull. On Wednesday, I type. On Thursday, I drive. Etcetera, etcetera.
Ironically, Mark thinks that this lifestyle is perfectly suited for a boat.
“You could type and then we’d stop at every tempting little town along the coast!” he enthuses.
“But they’re all the same!” I whine. “Seashells and T-shirts and catchy phrases painted onto planks of wood. The food is fish — which we’ll probably be sick of, the drinks are expensive and my hair will be all messed up due to being on a boat!”
“I’ll take you inland to buy a comb!”
“We won’t be able to get that far because, at best, we’re on scooters!”
“You love scooters! You had a scooter when I met you!”
“Exactly. So I know how difficult it is to carry things on a scooter. What if I want to buy something bigger than a breadbox?”
“There’s no room for that on the boat.”
“You see?! You’re taking everything I consider normal and turning it upside down.”
Mark: “That’s precisely right. You know what they call that?”
Me (petulantly): “What?”