I begin with an aside. Normally, an aside comes after the initial theme has been established. But Mel doesn’t do things in the normal order. So here it is at the start: an aside.
Yesterday, the Burnetts had an awesome day. They were tourists. They visited Aruba’s Butterfly Farm, then Philip’s Animal Farm, and then went snorkeling and saw thousands of fish. Even Tommy, our nascent teenager, had fun! To conclude this awesome day, they decided to go to the grocery store. It is called, “SuperFood.” Mel imagines this scenario. The following conversation very well happened in the security area:
“Quick! Red alert! Call 911! I think we have a whole bunch of manic people in Aisle 9!”
“Yeah, they keep on talking loudly and looking at everything! The woman is crying and hugging some paper towels! The little girl is running down the aisles, yelling, ‘Look Mommy! Cheerios! Breakfast sausage! Italian bread crumbs!’ The man is caressing some hypoallergenic laundry detergent! ”
“Oh wait, intelligence tells us they are American cruisers. Typical. Call off the red alert.”
The one thing cruising teaches you is to really appreciate your grocery stores when they carry products you are familiar with. I would not recommend the meek being with us when we go back to America and go to Target. We are going to make a lot of noise.
And now for the point of this post.
Sitting at a Cuban Restaurant in Aruba today, the result of our contributions to the Aruban economy in shopping bags at our feet, Allie and I realized we have been travelling for just over three months. We have done a lot in those three months! In fact, the trip with NCR (Noble Captain Richard) around Cuba, the Bikini beach at Jamaica, and even the visit from our dear Johanna seems like eons ago. Just six months ago I would have told you how surprised I was that I had been living in Northfield for five years, as the time just flew by. With occasional exceptions brought about by brief vacations or challenging patients, one day was just like the other. It was worrisome. Mel did not want time to continue to accelerate at that pace. Our adventure has unexpectedly changed that completely, in a good way.
Our perception of time and appreciation of life’s experiences speeds up as we age, but this trip seems to have slowed time down again for us. The challenge of interpreting new languages and understanding what you are ordering at restaurants apparently stretches it out, in a good way. Apparently, the heat slows time perception as well. It is as if we have turned back our perceptual clocks to our twenties. Mel appreciates this a lot. We form a lot of memories in a small objective amount of time. Mel knew that travel was good for you in a general, educational way, but she did not expect this. We have become more efficient at living.
Unfortunately, the sun is likely doing the opposite to Mel’s skin. Her fair skin demands a sunscreen refresher every three hours, a demand she cannot appease. So she has resigned herself. She is going to be one hip, wrinkled old lady, with a ton of awesome memories.