Thursday, June 9, 2011

Three Days in the Desert


We both noticed her at the same time, but it was Boxer who started calling her Attila. Tall, probably of Nordic descent, with a stout body and a sensible to-the-chin blond bob whose bangs she kept tucked back off her forehead with a wide headband.

I don't think anyone—outside of perhaps George Hamilton—has been that tan since the 1970s. So burnt sienna, she almost looked unreal, like an extra from a Russ Meyer movie or a walking wax figure patina-ed with over-sized brush strokes. Had this gal not gotten the memo at some point during the last 15 years that UVA and UVB rays, they kill?

Apparently not. Attila's workmanlike dedication to bronzing would have been admirable had it not been so alarming: 15 minutes on her belly, 15 on her back. Flip and repeat. For what we estimated to be hours. And when we finally did get a good look at her, Boxer was the first to suck in her breath and whisper at me that Attila had to be no more than 35, even though she looked 55.

But, hey, if she wanted to spend her latter years as a walking strip of beef jerky, what did we care? It was her attitude that earned her Boxer's moniker, our very first afternoon out by the pool as we, tucked safely under a sun umbrella, watched her stride purposefully towards a young man lying across from us. Only moments before, he had answered a cell phone call and was speaking in soft, respectful tones to the person on the other end of the line, when Attila scolded him in a voice loud enough for everyone to hear, "Excuse me, this is a cell phone free zone and I can hear your conversation from all the way across the pool. Please end your call."

And he did!

I still don't know whether to admire her or think her an ass. But one thing is for certain, she had a presence and it's not one we would have encountered had we not been on vacation.

So in that spirit, I'm choosing VACATION as the topic for next week's Haiku Monday. I'll host, judge, and offer a marvy prize. Drop by Sunday for the scoop.

In the meantime, tell me about the most memorable person you ever encountered while recreating away from home.

22 comments:

Boxer said...

LOVE that picture. Oy! Attila the Sun was a souless piece of tanned leather. Never a smile. Holding onto that cookie sheet/lounge chair the entire day. And hell, HER conversations were louder than the poor Dude who was speaking very repsectfully. I wish now I had walked by on my phone yelling into it, but she kinda of scared me. She was worse than the Boot Camp Instructor.

I love the theme. It's perfect.

Boxer said...

Most memorable person? in 1989 Mr. Boxer and his brother and I went to NYC and sat in line for hours to get tickets to SNL. We managed to only get tix to the dress rehearsal but we stood in line (for hours!!) next to man named Lou who told us he had attended every taping of SNL. He said he was a good luck charm for the cast/crew. If so, then why was he in line with us? He was older, strange, KIND and helped us work the politics of the tix. Later that night as we exited the dress reheasal (it was a blast) we saw Lou standing alone in the hallway.... then a page tapped him on the back and a door opened and Lou was escorted to a prime seat for the live show. Holy schnizz. He wasn't lying.

Troll said...

I admire her technique. Inserting words like "please" confuse and disorient Generation Yo! She was probably hoping he'd slouch there slack-jawed with the phone still on long enough to justify bitch-slapping him and throwing him in the Gila Monster Pit.





Good tough theme.

Buzz Kill said...

The whole Attila the Sun episode with the cell phone reminded me of this scene from Clerks:

Randal Graves: I hope it feels so good to be right. There's nothing more exhilarating than pointing out the shortcomings of others, is there?
Indecisive Video Customer: Well, this is the last time I rent here.
Randal Graves: You'll be missed.
Indecisive Video Customer: Screw you!

There's a place in hell for these people - probably lawn seating right next to me.

moi said...

Boxer: What was the word we came up with for her? Imperious? That was it. Your SNL story is very cool!

Troll: I wouldn't say he was Generation Yo, necessarily. Maybe late twenties, early thirties? Seemed to be there by himself, or maybe with one of the groups of families that were having a gathering there. A quiet guy, showed up to several of the classes we were in, and he was speaking in a lower voice than the other folks who were at the pool. Sure, you'd think he would for once LEAVE his freakin' cell phone on mute, but again, he wasn't speaking loudly; it's the fact that he was speaking at ALL that rankled Attila.

Buzz: Well, I do find the older I get, the more willing I am to speak my mind about little things that reveal today's alarming lack of situational awareness: people who park "in through the outdoor" now get a little note from me on their windshields; and I recently schimpfed a woman for leaving her shopping cart smack in the middle of the parking spot next to her without putting it up. Hmmm . . . I wonder if the lawn of hell serves margaritas?

Karl said...

Good morning Moi,

Perhaps all that sun has not only ruined her skin it's fried her brain too. Although if it was a no phone zone, the guy should not have been on his phone.

On a sailing trip years ago, we had been at sea for two weeks and sailed into the islands. After clearing in, we anchored and headed into town to blow the foam off a few. Standing on the dock was a guy I knew from my town. Neither of us knew that the other would be there. And just happened to bump into each other in another country.

Karl said...

I forgot to say congratulations on your Haiku win.

Pam said...

Such a funny post. There is always a character around and it is my hope that it "isn't me" who is the character.

One of the fun ones we have ran across was on vacation in England one year. It was a rare, bright sunny day and we were walking around husband's hometown. Just as we were passing a pub called The Black Horse, the door opened and out spilled a very inebriated man, typically British with flat cap and style of dress. He almost stumbled right into us, but caught himself in time and, with a tip of his cap, said:

"Lovely day, and why not!"

It has been a catch phrase of ours ever since.

moi said...

Karl: Funny how that happens, isn't it? My in-laws are visiting for the month and they just took a train ride up in Durango. Where they met a man from their home town. And I'll never forget the time when, during my senior year trip to Europe, I was standing on a street corner in Paris, irrevocably lost and cursing the stupidly unfriendly locals, when a guy wearing a tee shirt advertising a local brew pub sidled up next to me. Turned out he lived around the corner from me, and it felt so good to speak to someone of my own kind.

Pam: Right? I'm sure there are more than a few people out there who've given me a sideways glance.

"Lovely day, and why not!" is an awesome expression. I may borrow it.

fishy said...

Growing up in Florida we spent part of our summers on an Atlantic beach. Every morning we kids would keep an eye out for the "Turtle Man". Who, was an elderly fellow with a hunched back, skinny legs, huge feet and skin burned almost black. He had unbelievable dehydrated, furrowed hide on legs, arms, back, abs, chest. The texture of elderly turtle hide.
We were fascinated by him and a bit frightened of him because he looked so other worldly.

One of the most amazing things is he could walk really, really fast. One morning I foolishly tried to mimic his hunched posture, his s-curved neck and his unusual gait. No way could I keep it up for long. That powerful, ground eating, rhythmic stride is something I wish I could accomplish now. Of course once I gave up my game and turned back toward home who did I see but the Turtle Man coming toward me. I had the grace to feel ashamed but did not run away. I watched him come and as he got closer I had a good look at his 1000 year old face which still appears in my nightmares. No makeup artist could come close to producing anything as frightening as his reality.

moi said...

Fishy: And now you have vividly shared the frightening aspect of Turtle Man with us! Amazing, isn't it, how speedy some elderly folks can be.

Troll said...

I sat on a plane next to a "dude" wearing a cowboy outfit complete with Rhinestones, jewelled belt buckle, Giant decorated hat, decorated boots, and Bolo Tie.

I looked around for the Cop and the rest of the Village People but they weren't there.

He was a professional Wild West Show sharpshooter, firearms instructor, and an expert on all things Gun. And from New Mexico.

So, Moi prolly has a shrine to him at Casa Apple.

Nice guy. Can't remember his name. He dressed that way all the time in order to sell books that he carries with him.

TSA probably doesn't let him fly now.

czar said...

Berlin, 2000. The boys and I are out messing around, and we go to some kind of huge recreational facility -- indoor skating rinks, ball fields, courts, bowling, etc. Also included is a game kind of like miniature golf called Jet Golf. Except there's no putter. Players use an eight-iron with a small felt ball covered with Velcro, and the idea is to hit the ball at a target and score points. Takes much more skill than putt-putt. Although it's a Canadian manufacturer who distributes the game, I've never seen this in North America. Probably would be a hit. Or not.

Anyway, as we're going in to play a game with which we were entirely unfamiliar, I see a young woman, probably about 20 years old, with some of her friends coming out. I asked her about playing the game. She is about the most beautiful young woman I have ever seen. She was very eager to speak with me as she wanted to practice her English. I was very eager to speak to her because she was drop-dead gorgeous. If she showed up at a fashion show, every other runway model would simply slink away ashamed. But she was just some Berlin cutie out having a pleasant time with her friends.

So, Jet Golf and the German Goddess. I've forgotten 90 percent of the rest of my life. I remember her.

PS: During these five or so days in Berlin, my wife and I were treated to a personal tour of a professional dominatrix's studio, the domine being the mother of a friend of ours. Also quite memorable.

Aunty Belle said...

Attila the Sun--heh. But Moi, please post pic of Moi's non-sensible hair.


I'se whipped. Rough flight from Rome. Draggin' up the rear of a long line international arrivals to mix wif' desperate Atlanta airport captives. Storms canceled four previous departures-- I'se prayin' fer a seat on the last plane out. Prayer heard--the LAST seat open on the plane.

He was bone thin, dirty, matted hair, weary and slumped sideways in the chair closest to the desk at the gate entry. I offered a silent prayer, "Oh God, please do not let mah seat be next to that poor wretch. Not tonight, I jes' cain't deal wif' it."

There ain't no more chairs,so I stood. Wretch looks at me, then down to his dirty toes pokin' out of frayed sandals. I'se dressed fer bidness, most is dressed fer goin' to Disney. I look at mah seat assignment --relief, it ain't 60 rows back--mah feet is tortured in these shoes.

When they board the plane Wretch goes first. He needs help standin' up, the attendant grabs a wheelchair. The man turns to look over his shoulder at me. Knowin' I'se starin' impolitely, I look away.

I'se among the last to board an mah shock is not that I'se seated next to Wretch, but that he done had a premonition we'd be seat mates--an' he wuz fearful.

The stale urine stench nearly gagged me. I ordered a quick Ginger Ale to quell the nausea. At least I had the aisle. He looked out the window-- the rain wuz pelting the glass. I'ts only 55 minutes I thought. I sat stiff as a plank looking ahead.

The steward wuz unkind to Wretch. deliberately "forgot" his request for hot water. Then I recognized in the steward mah own attitude. Dear God! Mah face grew hot: Had he heard mah thoughts?? "I'm sorry mam" the Wretch whispered.

"Sorry?" I stammered, turning ever so slightly toward him.

"I prayed I would not be given a seat next to you when I saw you walk up in that purty suit. I know I ain't fit to be next to nobody."

There are moments in yore life that comes rushin' at ya', smashing into ya', probing yore innards. (I closed mah eyes "please please...")

"What's yore name, Sir? I'se Aunty Belle, pleased to meet ya'." I held out mah hand. He blinked back tears. "Martin" he rasped.

Martin strained to say a few more words--his estranged sister bought his ticket, he wuz comin' from Colorado, he wuz dyin' of lung cancer, his nephew was 10 but Martin ain't seen the boy since he wuz born, Delta would not let Martin have his oxygen tank without a $300 deposit, an' his breathing grew more labored...an' he wuz afraid of landing. We held hands an' I chattered until the wheels touched down.

"Thank you Aunty... I did not want to be next to you, but..."

"Martin, no. No. YOU have meant more to me than...I will never forget you."

moi said...

Troll: Hey, I think I know the dude you're talking about, but his name escapes me. If it's the same person, he's also a member of our Single Action Shooting Society, that puts on a big End of Trail to-do just down the road from me every year in June.

Czar: Golf and girl watching. It's comforting to know that some things don't change where men are concerned . . . I'm not sure I could enter a dominatrix's lair without cracking some kind of joke. What, exactly, does one say? Nice whip? Your shackles need oiling?

Aunty: Poor gent. But good on you for your kindness and grace.

LaDivaCucina said...

HA! Something told me to copy my comments, blogger ate them again! grrrrrr!

Haha, I'm lovin' all the stories here, great idea, Moi! Not sure how I feel about Attila, one side of me applauds her, I'm so sick of people on their cell phones and another side says, Chill, beyotch!

My story is from when I was in New Orleans back in the early 90's. I LOVED how in New Orleans a gal could walk down the street with a mint julep AND get her shopping done, very civilized! So there was La Diva in her purple blouse and black skirt, sunglasses, sandals and wide brimmed hat, mint julep in my hand and purpose in my step. I was heading for the main marketplace and walked by this old black man sitting and watching the passersby. He looked at me and said, "mmmmmmm.....MMMMMM (accent on the second MMMM!) Girl, you look like YOU got a PLAN!" Without missing a beat, La Diva stopped, looked at him and said, "I DO! And it don't include YOU!" He started laughing and so did I, I gave him some of my drink and we chatted and then he gave me directions and advice on where to shop. It was a fun little exchange and I'm glad I'm open enough to allow those kind of experiences, many women would be dismissive, but the old guy was a riot!

Congrats on the run, honey!

moi said...

La Diva: Great story! I hereby declare you Queen of the Snappy Comeback! Drinking AND shopping really needs to come back into style, don't it.

Aunty Belle said...

oh Moiiiiii, still waiting on the pic of ya in a NON-sensible hairstyle...

moi said...

Aunty: All my hairstyles are non-sensible :o)

K9 said...

I know that lady! she was the object of wonderment on many a condo stays at the beach. Now my dogs in enjoy her kind when they shake and speak

i loved all the stories of vacations! great ones.

Ive told mine on K9s blog, where when i was down in Oaxaca by myself, i drank some pulque -unrefined tequila basically, and was rather impaired afterwards while climbing on Monte Alban. I was so out of it i missed the tourist ride out and ended up on a third class bus. there were chickens and goats and mesa flour which makes me sick. luckily, the floor under my seat was rusted out which was very convenient when the puking began. In short, it was a religious experience. Later that night I sat alone on the Zocolo in Oaxaca city still a bit frayed and a couple joined me and we talked over a few drinks. Turned out they were heading to Guatamala and wondered if i wanted to accompany them - i thought how nice - until the conversation turned and i realized they were swingers looking for a third. i declined and the evening ended with more puking. you know, it was one of the best days ever. however never again would i drink like that again while traveling alone in a foreign country.

moi said...

K9: Better to end the evening puking than, well, you know. Like Seinfeld says: go down that road and suddenly, you have to have OUTFITS. But, yeah, that's Mexico. I had similar experience with a beach side "margarita" while vay-caying in Cabo one year with a friend. We imbibed at noon, she promptly passed out for the next five hours on the beach, while I promptly puked my guts out. To no avail. I still spent the afternoon hallucinating. But I think I had fun.

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