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Thursday, December 6, 2012

42

Twenty Marleys and Me

I am crying on Lou, the TSA officer. Lou is holding my license, and I’m holding every sob as long as I can. But they come out in wet bursts, snot oozing over my upper lip.

“Anita! Get her some Kleenex, please.”

I sense the restlessness of passengers roped in zigzag formation behind me as the Man Who Checks IDs counsels Weeping Chick With Laptop Out Already with quips meaningless and profound, all in the same tone: Don’t hide that smile! This too shall pass!

Colleague Anita slips me a less sympathetic look before sliding off her stool to locate tissues. Her walk is slow enough to appear intentional. It could be a while.

The “this” which has yet to pass — the reason I'm spilling my grief all over socked feet, Ziplocs of tiny shampoo bottles, and paranoid beeping — is nothing unusual or particularly interesting. Someone broke up with me. It happens. And, to use a cliché whose vividness has become a cruel and persistent description of precisely how I am feeling, I am heartbroken.

I proceed to C4. The destination listed behind the gate’s service desk beams down at me with promises of warmth and precious distance from Lou, Anita, and all this: St. Lucia. I will be attending the wedding of Martin. I have never met Martin.

I am, however, a friend of his sister, Ella, who invited me to the Caribbean ceremony.

It was a pity invitation, and one I had initially declined. I had hours to log watching QVC, a pillow to soak, and cigarettes to smoke. But in an isolated bout of energy, I checked my flyer miles. I had just enough for a free roundtrip. So here I was. 

Our stay on the island would be four days. Ella would lodge at Sandals Resort, location of the wedding, with her family. Cheryl — another friend attending the wedding — and I would share a room at a (much) less expensive hotel nearby. She and I would just walk over for the ceremony.

Slumped against the hard plastic seat, clinging to the tissue Anita had shoved at me, I find myself looking forward to the trip. There would be water, and a horizon farther away than I could fathom going.

And I had bought a hot pink bikini for it.

On the plane, I take out my journal to scribble some notes, like "crying on TSA guy," because despite my misery, I'm also aware it will end at some point, and perhaps then, parts of the experience will be amusing. From my red spiral notebook peeks a photocopy that arrived in the mail from my mother a few days earlier, a lopsided gray replica of February 17 in her daily calendar of prayers.

I pull it out and read, “Pray to know and love Me more.” Could that help? While I believe in God and even in prayer, right now I’m not so trusting of myself to be right about much, including these. But I recite it anyway. It feels like a sort of penance.

I pray to know and love you more.

I order a chardonnay, consider ordering two. I haven’t eaten much, so it's soon flushing my cheeks. My eyes feel bloodshot, cloudy. So does my chest. The captain turns on the fasten seatbelt sign. There is turbulence. The woman next to me grips our shared armrest.

I check in with myself: How much would I mind if we crashed? A bit. That seems good. I congratulate myself on not being passively suicidal.

When the cart squeaks by again, I pass my empty, plastic cup to the flight attendant and order a bourbon and ginger ale. In my mind, I hear my ex-boyfriend telling me it’s not wise to drink while sad. I am sad, and I’m going to drink the sadness into more sadness. So fuck off, I think back.

I fantasize about him coming back to me. Maybe he was in line at the grocery store and saw that chocolate bar I would always buy him. Maybe it was a song, or a conversation he heard on the subway, or an old couple holding hands. It just hit him: He made a huge mistake.

The plane is dark now. A man two rows up turns on his overhead light. He holds a folded piece of paper with the image of a young girl on it. In the nectarine glow, I can make out the words “In loving memory.” He stares at her for more than thirty-six minutes. I know, because I begin timing it.

Then he turns off his light. I keep watching him because I'm glad to have someone other than myself to pity, and I don’t want that to end.

We’re descending now. I consult my drink.

Why bother? I ask it. Descend, I mean.

You never want to land? It raises its fuzzy brow.

Oh, I do eventually. Just not tonight. How about in a month. Let’s give it thirty days, gliding up here in the dark, the mourning fellow and I, two of several hundred strangers passing the time with Sudoku and Adam Sandler and a handful of personal options for comfort: air off or on, light off or on, eyes off or on. Where the clouds are thick, the magazines slick, and no one can choose not to be with me, because I am not me. I am 32E.

MARLEY NO. 1

St. Lucia is turquoise. The Less Expensive Hotel is full of young men in thin, white shirts with starched collars. They wander, constantly moving but without a clear purpose. When Cheryl and I enter the lobby with our bags, instead of helping us, they scatter.

We check in and receive our room keys, which are actual keys, not cards. The building is one-story, a sprawling series of rooms accessible by mysteriously winding paths. Our room is at the far end of the longest leg. The wheels of my suitcase echo on the meandering tile, the only sound besides Cheryl’s soft step behind me. Are we the only guests?

“BRENDA, I’M LEAVING YOUR ASS!” A thick, red man falls out of a door. He's wearing a sleeveless t-shirt and is quite sunburned. He nods at us and cuts across the grass to the hotel lobby and bar.

Our room is clean. Fine. Plain. There are towels. A toilet. A bed. I lie down and close my eyes.

I pray to know and love you more.

“Let’s get drinks,” Cheryl suggests. It’s nearly midnight.

We follow the lead of Brenda’s companion and take the shorter route back to the lobby. The bar is a plank of wood resting on concrete blocks across from check-in. Behind it, a man in starched white leans against the wall next to several colorful, foggy liquor bottles. Yelling Fellow Guest is there with a younger, equally pink woman. She wears two braids. Her chest is enormous. Brenda, I presume.

Daughter? Not girlfriend. Daughter.

The four of us sit too close to not talk.

We learn his name is Alistair. They are Scottish. They come here every year for two weeks because it relaxes the fuck out of you. Brenda, apparently, is not his daughter.

Cheryl and I sip an orange beverage Alistair insisted we try — an island favorite — while he and Brenda take down three each. At 12:30, mine is only half empty. Or half full. My eyelids weigh more than Brenda’s boobs.

Cheryl is telling them why we are here. Wedding at Sandals, tomorrow morning.

“How you gonna get over there?” We figured we'd take a cab. Oh no, that’s going to be very expensive — seventy dollars probably. You should just have Marley take you. Do we want Alistair to call him? Alistair fetches a navy Nokia phone from the pocket of his Bermuda shorts. Just after 1 a.m., we say goodnight to Alistair and Brenda.

We will meet Marley on the beach in front of the hotel at 9:30, where he will pick us up in his boat. We will be traveling to Sandals, across the bay, by water.

“Ten dollars each,” Marley faces us, standing in the surf. His small boat buoys behind him. We each hand him a bill, our shoes dangling from our other hands. We take turns being helped into the boat. I find a position that works with my dress and feel silly, like I’m sitting sidesaddle. As Marley revs the motor, I turn back to Cheryl. She has covered her body head to toe in white hand towels from the room and scarves she’s brought along from home, and all that's visible are her eyes, a little bit of her nose, and her upper lip.

“I’m allergic to the sun,” she explains, resting a second towel on her right shoulder.

As we whiz across the bay, Cheryl fights to keep all seventeen towels and scarves on her skin as I gaze into the horizon like it’s a Magic Eye, waiting for something interesting — or at least unexpected — to appear. A dolphin. A shipwrecked vessel.

It occurs to me that all we know of Marley is that he's on Alistair’s speed dial. And all we know of Alistair is that he yells at Brenda and doesn't always use sunscreen. Now we're on the open ocean, moving in a direction I don’t know from any other direction. I check in — does this frighten me? No.

The motor dies. We drift onto shore. Cheryl climbs out first. Marley hands us our strappy sandals, holding them each with three fingers like this is more proper or courteous. Cheryl gets his number for a return ride.

We wade carefully through the surf and spot, behind the trees and a short wall, our friend. Ella’s gauzy peach dress blows Marilyn Monroe-style toward the ocean. She's standing next to a woman on fire — huge, shiny, brilliant. The bride reflects the sun, and I shield my eyes.

MARLEY NO. 2

The woman performing the wedding is a Sandals Officiant. She wears a Sandals badge, reads from a Sandals portfolio, and sanctions the union under a wooden sign nailed onto the beachfront gazebo, a sign that reminds us where we are: SANDALS. After the vows, she pronounces by the power invested in her by the government of St. Lucia and by Sandals Resort that the couple is husband and wife.

Another employee, dressed in a pressed green uniform, hits play on an ‘80s-style boom box. Marvin Gaye joins the party. In an anticipated but nevertheless odd sequence, I congratulate the couple on their marriage, and then introduce myself. They don’t seem bothered by this. We're in St. Lucia, after all, and they just got married. It’s all good.

Twenty minutes after the arrival of champagne in plastic flutes, we're told we must vacate the wedding site. There is another wedding scheduled for one o’clock. Should Cheryl and I call Marley for a ride back to Alistair and Brenda? The afternoon is open and long, although Sandals doesn't appreciate non-guests partaking of its extravagant offerings, including its beach.

We appreciate your assistance in departing the premises promptly if you are not a guest of the resort. Thank you!

We decide to pretend. Ella, the only legitimate Sandals vacationer among the three of us, fetches plush beach towels from the Free Towels For Your Use! bin, and we make our way to the far end of the shoreline, where we spread them on the sand and plop down. Cheryl is desperately applying sunblock and eyeing a large umbrella that appears to be abandoned when a green uniform appears from nowhere.

“Are you guests?” he asks.

“Yes,” Ella offers immediately.

“What are your names?”

“Donna,” she answers too quickly.

“Dionne,” Cheryl coos.

“Claire,” I say, my heart racing. Is there a dungeon? Will I be shot with my back against a wiry fence?

“What’s yours?” Cheryl/Dionne asks, a slicker agent than I.

“Marley.” He takes out a cigarette, lights it. He is from Martinique. He is in a band. He has cousins in Queens. He likes Cheryl. Can we use that umbrella? She asks. He gets it, digs a hole, and buries its long stake. The three of them sit in the shade. I pull my stolen towel into the sun, close my eyes, and pretend.

I pretend that I am a carefree woman on vacation bathing in the SANDALS™ sunlight. I pretend that, centimeters under my bright bikini top, my heart is not frantically searching for its essence. I pretend, because today we are all pretending.

THE NON-RETURN OF MARLEY NO. 1

Marley No. 1 is not answering his phone. Cheryl has called twice. Marley No. 2, whom we have begun calling Martinique to distinguish him from Marley No. 1, has a solution. His friend Leon will take us.

Leon is not named Marley but has a similar boat and arrives in similar fashion, requesting fifteen, not ten, dollars apiece. We sail back to Alistair and Brenda at twilight, planning to dine in the hotel restaurant before meeting Martinique and his friends at a bar near the Much Cheaper Hotel. Cheryl is, at least. I am feeling unsure — the sun has dried up my juicy willingness to abandon pragmatism and caution in favor of escape-from-a-sunken-soul. I want to be adventurous, but I want to go to sleep. I want, I want, I want. Did I want too much, too widely? Is that what went wrong?

I pray to know and love you more.

Brenda is skinny-dipping. She is whooping and splashing Alistair, who stands in the water holding a beer, fully outfitted in his swimsuit.

As we drift back to our hotel room covered in sun and sand, a creepy sensation comes over me. Someone is following us. I turn to see a man in the official thin, white shirt making his way down the path we are — the serpentine, nonsensical one that cuts where it shouldn’t. A look at Cheryl tells me she's also noticed. There is no one else around.

She takes the lead and makes a smart decision, I feel, to venture a side trip, a kind of ear along the profile of our course, to see if he'll continue following. He does. He follows us around the side and back to the path leading to our room, and follows us nearly to our room, gaining on us as we quicken our speed. We close the door and lock it. Nothing happens.

But what was that? We begin reflecting on the strangeness of our room assignment. Why are we so far from the hotel lobby? There don’t seem to be any other guests at the hotel except Alistair and Brenda.

We decide to request another room. I stand quietly as Cheryl raises her voice at the clerk, who is — also weirdly — resistant to giving us a room closer to the lobby. Finally he concedes. Room Closer to the Lobby has a terrace.

Cheryl heads to the beach for a swim. I lie on my back, slip in my ear buds, and look into the sky, where stars are beginning to appear, just barely. The breeze is nice, and this room feels safer, but. But.

What is the point of me?

MARLEY NOS. 3-19/ST. LUCIAN MEN WHO LOVE CELINE DION

On the northeast side of the island, there's a bar called The Lime. Local residents and handfuls of intrepid young tourists go there to sing karaoke. Cheryl and I sit at the bar and order what the bartender recommends, which are Sex on the Beaches.

Marley No. 2 arrives with a friend.

“I hope you will like him,” he greets me. Behind him, a giant man in a muscle tee and a skullcap, his lumpy biceps covered in tattoos, smiles at me. His teeth are very white. He introduces himself as Mad Grind.

“Are you kidding?” I ask. He is not. Everyone calls him Mad Grind.

“I can dance,” he explains.

Cheryl moves so that Mad Grind can sit next to me. She and Marley No. 2 lean in close to talk over a warbly rendition of Whitney Houston’s “Where Do Broken Hearts Go.” I order another Sex on the Beach. And another. My determined drinking is accompanied by seamless shifts between reggae and ‘90s ballads as Mad Grind and I search for common ground. He is 21 and plays drums. I spill my drink. The glass breaks. The bartender is annoyed. Mad Grind assures me it’s no big deal. I order a fourth.

The balmy night leaves a moist film on all of us.

Mad Grind asks if like Celine Dion. I tell him I do. Do I know her? No. No, I do not. She’s Canadian, I tell him, as if this is why. He nods. His name is called, and he hurries to the microphone to sing “Because You Loved Me.” He tilts his chin back, wailing the song into the corded mic and stealing glances at me that I catch. I  smile.

I'm exchanging smiles with a man named Mad Grind serenading me with Celine Dion, I think. I will have to write that down later.

And, as he is wont to do the second my life attempts to take shape around a new experience, a fresh piece of life, my ex-boyfriend infiltrates the moment. I decide I hate him. I genuinely hope he is miserable for the rest of his life.

It’s jarring, to recognize such hostility in myself. Am I that cruel?

I sigh. I am not. Almost immediately, a part of me that is kinder, broader, and holier breaks through the sweat and electronic sound. It's a part that doesn't hate but seems to know things. Like, that there's a softness to all this that will become clear in time. That he’s just human, subject to needs and desires he doesn’t understand, and so am I. This part of me forgives him, and myself, and everyone who has ever hurt or been hurt since the beginning of time. We’re just sloppy at living, all of us who are doing it for the first time, and we’re subject to the tiny rages of the shortsighted Mes within. Such as Me Here With Mad Grind Who Is Afraid She Won’t Find Love Again.

When Mad Grind returns and suggests we dance, I accept. He is a blur of black and white, and his hands are warm on my lower back. We're swaying and he's laughing, yelling to our friends. The bass trembles up my spine over and over, and over, until it is over. Fingers on my arm, and suddenly I have a mic in my hand. A small screen before me with text and a bouncing ball. Four of us croon.

I don’t want to wait in vain for your love, we sing. I don’t want to wait in vain for your love. Bob Marley.

Soon, the bar is closing. Mad Grind and Marley No. 2 walk us several blocks to our hotel, but the gate is closed and we can’t get in. Do we want to stay with Marley No. 2? I don’t want to stay with Marley No. 2.

Finally, a guard — guy in a thin white shirt — approaches the gate. Mad Grind takes my hand. His is dry and rough. Is he close to tears?

“I wish you didn’t have to go back. I wish you weren’t so far away.” I thank him for a fun night as the gate opens. From the other side, we turn to wave goodbye again. Mad Grind stands behind the bars, holding them.

“I will miss you!” he hollers. You don’t know me, I think.

“What’s your real name!” I yell back.

He smiles. “Marley!”

MARLEY NO. 20

Our last day in St. Lucia passes quietly. Brenda and Alistair have left, so we have the hotel to ourselves. Cheryl and I rent a jet ski and speed around the bay for an hour. I finish a crime novel, send some emails, paint my toenails. We walk to a bank and withdraw cash for the cab to the airport the next morning.

At dusk, Martinique arrives at the beach to say goodbye to Cheryl. I leave them and wade into the water until it laps at my waist. I try to crunch the sand with my toes, but it’s like goo. The sun is setting on the water, sinking into it, like a pop-up card closing around me. A majestic, glowing pop-up sun bidding me adieu.

I thank St. Lucia. It has indeed, as Alistair guaranteed, relaxed some of the fuck out of me.

Then a tiny, spidery silhouette jumps onto my glorious greeting card. I squint to make out a small boat on which there appears to be a man waving his arm. I turn — there's no one on the beach now but me. I wave at him. The boat grows larger and larger. His arm pivots back and forth without interruption. I laugh and wave back several times. More quickly than seems possible, the boat and man are suddenly before me, feet away, his arm still in the air, a huge smile on his face.

He presents, to me, his hand. I reach mine to him. He kisses it.

“My name is Marley,” he beams, then wishes me a good evening and turns his boat around, heading back into the ocean.

A man just came in from the sea to kiss my hand, I think as he disappears. I start laughing. Aloud, and alone.

Somewhere in the world, a man whose name is unlikely Marley steers into bays to greet women then depart for other prospects, other detours.

It is impossible to predict what this life will churn up.

What’s a name anyway.

NO PRESSURE, NO PROBLEM

It's the island's slogan, recited to tourists from the moment they arrive. Our aircraft is packed with t-shirts and satchels memorializing the easy mantra.

The plane cannot take off because there is volcanic ash in the air. Montserrat, which sits between St. Lucia and Puerto Rico, has erupted. We sit on the runway for an hour, waiting for the atmosphere to clear. I eavesdrop on the flight attendants flirting. She appears a solid fifteen years older than him and relishes the attention. He pinches her waist, her leg, tickles her back. Finally, the captain announces it’s safe to depart.

Then the plane is moving fast. The raindrops on the windowpane spread like tiny hands opening wider than they should be able to, and the grayish red buildings lose their color, and we enter doughy cloud. It's all white, only white. And my heart breaks, but this time the breaking is a different kind. This time, it breaks bread with gratitude, because it can still feel.

We're in the air again, and there's so much I don’t understand — the intricate logic behind it all, the adjusting of adjustments upon adjustments. But I can love. And I must hold on to that, because we are still rising higher, higher still — where all there is is white, and we are all anonymous, and what pounds in me is all there is.

Mary Adkins is a writer living in New York. She graduated from Duke University and Yale Law School. Find her at lifeofthelaw.org.

Image via Flickr/madmack

42 Comments / Post A Comment

emilies

I was really hoping this was about puppies.

hahahaha, ja.

@emilies: I was afraid it was about twenty puppies that all died in the end. I was so sure that's why she was crying at the beginning.

Angry Panda

@hahahaha, ja. Ah, me too! I had to speed read to make sure no puppies died in the making of this story. Now I can go back and read it properly.

SedatedGodzilla@twitter

I loved this piece. Thank you.

annpan

One night this summer at a karaoke bar in a rust belt-y Midwestern city, a shy young man crooned "Yellow" by Coldplay to a rowdy crowd and I cried as my heart simultaneously re-broke and swelled with hope for the future.

Today is my Big Breakup half-iversary - 6 months down, forever to go. Glad to be in good company, thanks for writing this piece.

rabbitheart

I thought this was beautifully written, but really problematic! I can't be the only reader thinking that "twenty Marleys" is just another way of saying "twenty people that are different from me in a way that makes them all exactly the same." If this was titled "Twenty Exotic Locals and Me," it would be at least be more truthful (but just as offensive).

So many feelings! Most of them not good ones.

babs

@rabbitheart I didn't get that at all! It's serendipitous and strange that she kept running into people named Marley, no? And the title is a play on our pop culture reference.

I didn't feel like her descriptions were 'exoticizing,' either. The Scottish man was red and fat. The man with the water taxi disappeared. He was called Mad Grind because he could dance.

I think flying some place else, especially when your head is in your heart, you feel like you've escaped, like you're in another universe entirely, and this special sort of bubble wraps around you and it's impervious to the idea that other people live wherever it is you're visiting. They do, but also they don't, because the place you are exists only in your head, at least for a little while. I think this piece was describing that place, the place she went inside of her head, you know?

truelove

I think this is so beautiful and very true. i hear what you're saying re 20 exotic locals and me but there do seem to be a significant number of people named marley here? i'm trusting..

melmuu

This is really beautiful.

Mary Adkins@facebook

Hi guys! Mary here (who wrote it). Rabbitheart, I hear you--the Marleys reference is because so many guys I met there actually introduced themselves as Marley. I'm not calling anyone Marley who didn't say that was his name. Otherwise, I'd totally see your point.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

'No Pressure, No Problem' is entirely untrue when sitting in a plane. So, there's that.

The Lady of Shalott

I think I read somewhere on the Hairpin that airports and airplanes are neutral spaces. And therefore it is totally OK to sit in the airport and cry and cry and cry. As long as you're not sobbing incredibly hard or snotting on other people....if you want to walk through the terminal and cry, or sit at the gate while tears pour down your face and puddle in your lap, or sit on the plane and cry all the way from Toronto to Chicago, that is OK.

I have been there. I have seen other people there. it's OK.

smidge

@The Lady of Shalott Airports as a liminal space?

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@The Lady of Shalott I've seen other people do this, and I've done it as well. Air travel is so often dehumanizing, but it has offered me brief and bright glimpses into the good of people as well, like when I've been consoled in a totally non-patronizing and completely genuine, gentle way by strangers who saw my tears.

Diana

@The Lady of Shalott

A few weeks ago I found myself ugly crying on the BART train. It was not pretty or genteel, it was a lot of snot and sobbing. Jesus, I can't even imagine how uncomfortable that must have been for everybody else on the train. But this young guy sat down next to me and just put his arms around me in a hug and told me it would be alright. He rubbed the top of my head. I remember being struck by his outfit: he was very cool, very new school hip hop, and he looked like he was on his way to/from some exciting night out in the city. It meant all the more that he went out of his way on a fun night to comfort some embarrassing wreck on the train ride home. After a minute he moved away to give me some space but when he was about to get off the train he checked in with me again to remind me that it was all going to get better really soon. Thanks, stranger.

itiresias

@The Lady of Shalott Don't think I've ever cried on a plane, but I've cried on many a form of public transport, and it's usually...pretty awful. People exist who can cry without the sobs and snot? I just feel bad for making other people uncomfortable.

Then again, not nearly as bad as I feel making people who know me uncomfortable, which is why crying while alone in public happens to me way more than crying in known company.

bocadelperro

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose I've had so many horrible experiences with airlines, I'd just assume anyone crying at the airport is doing so because the airline has lost their luggage/reservation/toddler.

MollyculeTheory

@The Lady of Shalott The last time I was in JFK I found out that my Air France flight had gotten outsourced to Delta and as I was waiting in the gross terminal that had pigeons walking around inside, I started inexplicably crying. Just standing in front of the Wendy's, trying to look sadly dignified while tears streamed silently down my face. I mean, Air France snacks are good but not crying in front of a Wendy's good.

Bittersweet

@The Lady of Shalott I love this idea. 18 months ago I sobbed into my iPhone to a friend because I was panicking about losing my job. In the middle of the packed JetBlue terminal at National Airport. No one batted an eyelash.

Angry Panda

@The Lady of Shalott I hope this is true for all public spaces. Most of my friends have never seen me cry, but many strangers have. I've become quite good at silent crying though.

darklingplain

@The Lady of Shalott I walked through Grand Central a few weeks ago with tears running down my face,and no one seemed to care/notice, which is why I like New York.

Briony Fields

@The Lady of Shalott Ooooh, lord. I've had so many emotional departures into nerve wracking situations, that I cry as a knee-jerk reaction when I step up to the check in counter. Even though most flights these days are happy ones, I just automatically well up and cry through the whole security process. Too many memories, I guess. I assume the airport personnel are used to it.

crookedlegs

@The Lady of Shalott I cried for a whole day once, coming home after a short trip to Toronto. In the morning, while drying my hair. After lunch with my host/ex, while packing and re-packing. On the subway, staring out at suburbia whizzing past. On the bus, hearing the person behind me yell at his brother for seemingly no reason at all. In the airport, receiving a goodbye/thank you text from said host/ex. On the plane, thinking of how little I had to go back to. Getting into my friend's car outside the airport in Halifax, sad to be home but grateful to be lovingly welcomed. But once she dropped me off at my apartment, I had no tears left, and I was ready to tackle my new reality. Being in transit forces you to make an emotional adjustment, from one state of living to another. The catharsis is priceless.

zoe
zoe

@Diana amazing. i think we always overestimate the judging other people will do when faced with our selves crying in public, and underestimate the compassion other people feel and sometimes express.. and then you find yourself crying, and no one thinks you're a freak, and some people are crazy kind to you.

machinesss

My name is actually Marley, so this was very strange. I liked it though.
I get a "Marley and Me" joke almost every time I tell someone my name (when I worked in places I had to wear a name tag, I got it several times a day), so that made me cringe a little haha.

Edith Zimmerman

@machinesss People need to bring back the ghostly and chain-jangling jokes.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@Edith Zimmerman Now I have the Muppets in my head singing, "We're Marley and Marley...aaooooowooooo..."

anachronistique

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose DOOMED, SCROOGE! YOU'RE DOOMED FOR ALL TIME!

julnyes

@machinesss never saw the movie or read the book (there is a book right?), so my first reference for Marley would be Bob Marley followed distantly by Jacob Marley ... also I don't make jokes based on people's names because I assume they hear them all the time and I don't want to be a jerk.

Diana

I'm about 1 month out from my big breakup. I spent last night cleaning the last few items out of our old apartment, crying next to my dog that I never see anymore, when I got a phone call saying my grandfather had died. I really wish I could afford a trip to the Caribbean. But reading this helped, and for that, I thank you.

redheaded&crazy

@Diana Oh man. This is rough. I had a similar confluence of terrible, sad Big Life Events happen to me last year. I second new age hip hop's hug and head rub. And it will all get better ... maybe not really soon, but it will. And then you will feel fucking resilient because nobody should have to go through all of those things at the same time.

sophia_h

I have a seldom-used Gmail account that forwards to my main one which I somehow lost control of (through extended non-use?), leading, apparently, to its reassignment to someone else. However, the redirect still worked, which is how I ended up getting the link to some woman's picture gallery of her wedding at a Sandals resort to what appeared to be a very, very gay man. After much perusing, my roommate and I decided that he was probably sleeping with the rather jealous-looking best man. Also, every single thing that could be branded "Sandals" was branded thus, even the aquarium they got married in front of. That gallery was sad on so very many levels.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@sophia_h Does it make me a bad person that I totally want to see this gallery? Especially after talking about how I appreciate the kindness of strangers?

sophia_h

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose Oh, when I got that email I said to my roommate "So, you wanna look through a total stranger's wedding photos and judge the hell out of them?" and she said "uh, YES" while our husbands were absolutely horrified. I'm not sure I still have the link (or if it's still good), but no judgment at all for wanting to see it.

Edited: a) I do still have the email, and b) holy crap it was at Atlantis Casino, not Sandals, even tackier!

lasso tabasco

When I went through my last breakup last March, I showed up at my three best friends' apartment sobbing at 11:00pm. I never wanted to go home again (my ex was also my apartment-neighbor). My best friends shoved me into a car and drove me three hours to Kansas City in the middle of the night to feed me barbeque and force me to make unwise purchases at the Plaze.
I cried in the car listening to Bon Iver, at the restaurant into my pulled pork, into the racks of clothing F21, into the dressing room mirror.
I'm so glad that is not my life anymore. Carribean> Kansas City, but post-breakup trips are so necessary.

Lia LoBello@facebook

i love, love, love this.

Lush Life

You had me at "[a] thick, red man falls out of a door." This is lovely and I hope you are feeling better.

titsgrande

I have cried so many times on planes and trains and buses and multiple other kinds of public transport. None of the TSA guys were nice to me though. But a lady I was sat next to on the plane gave me a hanky though. I still didnt stop crying.

DrSnorkington

How odd. Perhaps there is a misconception that American women really go for men with the name Marley?

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