We returned to the states yesterday from Central America – Liberia, Costa Rica to be exact. If you’ve ever been to that airport, you know it’s a tiny, predominantly open-air joint with a relaxed atmosphere, and in my opinion, adequate security. If you were to compare their passenger preservation procedures to those in stateside airports, you might not come to the same conclusion. No one asked me if I’d packed my own bag for instance, and that’s fine since I’m not in the habit of paying someone to do it for me yet. A good deal of the luggage yesterday, just shy of all of it to be honest, had been packed by my better half. It matters not, because even if I had packed all five of those bags, put every item in them before sealing them, I’d still have stood in line during customs thinking the very same thing I think every time I enter or leave a country: I hope I’m not transporting something illegal that a handsome stranger managed to stuff into my bags while distracting me with his handsome-man smoke and mirrors abilities.
Since I have a strong hatred for knickknacks in general, you’ll rarely find me coming back from anywhere with anything anyway, and so I can easily speak a solid ‘no’ from my mouth when border agents inquire as to whether I’m bringing back anything into the states. But after I say that ‘no,’ it is proceeded by the thought, ‘other than the drugs, guns, or monkey brains delicacy some stranger of ill-repute, but with a devilish charm, put into my luggage.’ My wife just unpacked our bags this morning, nothing of the sort in any of them, just like always, save a stowaway spider that might single-handedly bring New Jersey to its filthy knees. You’d think after years and years of making it back home without incident, and no narcotics some mule-trainer hits me up for later, that I’d just come to grips with the fact: I’m no Claire Danes.
Chalk it up to NYC living if you must, but even before my fifteen years there I have had a difficult time with overly friendly folks. I spent the majority of my youth in Texas, where polite and sincere chit-chat between strangers is more common than the concealed weapons the state government allows them to carry. In the past three years I’ve worked hard to open my heart to all levels of kindness, but even still there are times when the eagerest chatters, the biggest fans, and the people who’d have you believe they’d help you at all costs within a five-minute introduction put me in a fight or flight state of mind. Someone asks, “You need help with that?” And my gut tries to dictate my retort with something along the lines of, “Oh, you’d like to help me wouldn’t you? You help me, and then one night you ask me for help, and I come over to help you and you take out a hammer, crush my cranium all kinds of silly, bury me out in your backyard to tenderize me before turning me into first-prize county fair beef jerky.” It’s worth noting that due to an ‘accidental’ connection to HBO and other movie channels we had when I was a child, that I saw Motel Hell at a very tender age. If you are unfamiliar with the film, I ask that you go easy on your judgment of my lack of enthusiasm for those people who are just a wee bit too excited to do everything for you, like say grandmas.
One of my very best friends is making his way down to CR to visit me next week. I couldn’t be happier to see him, but then it occurred to me: maybe this visit is his last hoorah and he’s on his way down to find a cliff to jump from. Maybe he wants out of this life and a beautiful place like this, a place that typically serves to at the very least reset mental states to a manageable baseline, would have the opposite effect. And not unlike that kid from American Beauty, my friend won’t be able to handle so much beauty in the world and will commit to hopping from one of my favorite spectacular viewpoints into the jagged coastal rocks below.
I won’t be walking him to any unless leashed. See you soon old friend.