The buyer's high wore off pretty quickly when I realized I was going to have to get on an airplane in a matter of weeks. I always overlook this horrifying little tidbit when I go on vacation. I can't stand flying. Growing up it never bothered me, but a couple years ago on a flight to Boston I experienced the worst turbulence of my life, and it wrecked me for good. The flight had been smooth–almost too smooth, and I was just about to bite into my turkey sandwich and enjoy the inflight presentation of Beverly Hills Chihuahua...
That's when the pilot chimed in over the intercom.
Since then, I've never been comfortable flying. Once bitten, twice shy, three times a lady, etc. Now it's simply a struggle just to not have a nervous breakdown in the airport, so I try to keep myself occupied with little games. My favorite is Airport Bingo. It's a simple diversion. Before I get to the terminal, I construct a Bingo Card in my head of things one might see at an airport, and spend the time before my flight seeing how many points I can rack up. It's like people watching, only more judgmental.
See? Easy. It keeps my mind off having wild fantasies about flaming Beoing 757's crashing into the ocean.
I chose Hawaii for two reasons. One, it was cheap. Secondly, I have a friend who lives there, meaning no hotel was needed. Thirdly, and most importantly, I settled on Hawaii because the cast of Full House went there in season three, and I can honestly say Full House has influenced aproximately 80% of my life's decisions. It's more than a show. It's a lifestyle. Which reminds me, I need to buy a new hair crimper and start crash dieting for Kimmy Gibler's pool party...
Fortunately, my flight was smooth and uneventful, save for the overly talkative woman I was seated next to who insisted on gabbing to me about her planned "vision quest" in Oahu, whatever the hell that is. I fell asleep midway through her speech about the healing powers of crystals.
My first couple days on the island were spent in typical fashion: wandering around aimlessly, napping on the beach, and trying to avert my gaze from old dudes in speedos. I briefly considered filming a better ending to Lost on my camera phone (starring myself as every character) but I figured that would be too much work. Instead I opted for baking in the sun on a daily basis, waiting for the sweet, sweet melanoma to set in.
My vacation hit a slight rough patch around day four. To any future potential employers out there, let's just pretend this next bit is completely fabricated. To everyone else reading, let's take a moment and talk about drugs.
The friend I was staying with was, shall we say, a connoisseur of the ganja. One night he was getting stoned, and offered me some. It had been a few years, and I figured it couldn't hurt (which, come to think of it, is how the Tanner kids always got in trouble). Completely unaware of my own low tolerance, I took four giant rips off his bong, sat back, and waited. Nothing happened at first. And then a lot happened.
I began to feel panicky and paranoid. Then the walls started to move. Then the tunnel vision set in, and when I became convinced my friend had drugged me in order to harvest my organs, I figured it was time to lay down. I went into my friend's room, curled up in the fetal position on his bed, and laid there wide-eyed and terror-stricken in the dark. At one point I became convinced I wasn't even on a bed, but rather a giant, bloodthirsty forest animal.
This is the reality of what happened to me:
But this is how it felt:
I managed to fall asleep briefly, only to wake up shortly thereafter covered in sweat, and proceeded to search my body for mortal wounds because I was convinced my sweat was blood. I was fine the next morning, if not a little shaken up. "No more weed for a while," I promised myself. "Stick to black tar heroin from now on."
The next day, I decided some light reading at the beach was in order. I traveled to the bookstore in search of something I could finish in a day or two. Perhaps a paranormal teen romance, or something from Oprah's Book Club. I meandered up and down the aisles, waiting for something to catch my eye, and then, suddenly, there it was. The perfect book.
Could there be a more flawless literary selection than Goosebumps: Ghost Beach? Anything more divinely meta than reading Goosebumps: Ghost Beach on the fucking beach? That afternoon was spent in utter bliss as I casually flipped through my new book on a tacky tourist beach–even though by page 19 I'd figured out the twist ending was that everyone was a ghost.
By the time the sun was setting, I was all hopped up on shitty ghost stories and at least 14 shades darker than I'd been morning. I was Pantone 18-1242 (that's "Brown Patina" for the less graphically inclined). And what better place to show off a bitchin' new tan than the nearly pitch black dank of a dive bar?
Perhaps I hadn't learned my lesson against overindulging from my weed fiasco, because that night quickly got out of hand. I suppose I was excited to find the only bar on the island that served PBR, because I didn't monitor my alcohol intake very wisely. By 2 AM I was riding high on a malty, hoppy cloud of cheap beer, and I was ready to head home and pass out.
"Oh no," said my friend. "We're going dancing."
Well, shit. Little did I know that once the bars in Honolulu close, everyone floods to the one shady dance club to sweat out the Mai Tais and piña coladas. I was too drunk to argue, so I obliged. Fifteen minutes and one five dollar cover later, I was dancing up a storm amidst a group of other clammy drunks. Stumbling around on the dance floor, I sought out a dance partner for the evening, and settled upon a sleepy-eyed girl with frazzled hair and what I assumed was her mother. Sure enough, this assumption was confirmed when the girl slurred to me:
And with that, she lumbered off the dance floor, leaving me alone with her mom.
For a few minutes I danced awkwardly with the old broad, but it quickly became apparent that this lady was fucked. up. Hair mussed, eyes rolling back into her head, boob in danger of flopping out of her J.Crew cardigan––this gal was in rough shape. So I did what any standup gentleman would do. I left. I was barely keeping my own balance; I was in no condition to take care of an old lady jacked up on appletinis. After that, things started to get fuzzy, and I remember little between that point and waking up the next morning with the hangover of a lifetime. It was probably karma for leaving a poor old crone to die on the dance floor.
The final few days of my vacation were peaceful and relaxing, filled with swimming and hiking and shaking sand out of my nether regions. The only black spot on the whole affair was the faint, constant sound of Katy Perry being played everywhere I went. On the mainland, especially in Portland, I live a blissful existence free of Perry's warble, but she haunted my vacation relentlessly. It might've had something to do with the fact that I started every morning with coffee from the Starbucks next to the Honolulu Walmart.
The final charming surprise of my trip didn't occur until my return trip to Portland. I was sitting in the terminal waiting for the boarding announcement when a little girl approached me, unprovoked and unannounced.
"WATCH MY DANCE!" She announced, and proceeded to work it with such fierce determination I was afraid she might have an aneurism right in front of me.
At that point her mom shook a bag of Teddy Grahams at her and she immediately lost interest in dancing and scampered off.
Returning home with my batteries recharged and a complexion somewhere between Halle Berry and Denzel Washington, I took a moment to ponder my vacation. I don't remember how the Hawaii episode of Full House ended, but I'm sure somebody learned a valuable lesson and Danny Tanner had a heart-to-heart with one of his daughters (but probably not the middle one because she was off somewhere doing meth). I suppose the lessons I learned were to do drugs in moderation, and that drunk moms don't make good dancing partners. Not really family sitcom material, but hey, that's real life. Real life is full of drunk moms.