I Almost Drowned in a Bucket Full of White Wash

My mother tells me that I almost drowned in a bucket full of white wash when I was two years old. Only the quick actions of a night watchman prevented a disaster. Of course, I don’t remember any of that.

By the time I turned eight, I had become an expert at dunking in and out of water, muck, and raw sewage. At five or six, I fell into a pond while following an older girl around—nobody told me that bad things tend to happen when you hang out with bigger kids. Another fortunate adult-interference left me no worse for the dowsing.

The next plunge took me back first, into filthy muck. I don’t even want to reveal how I landed in that position. Suffice to say that my father, who dragged me out unceremoniously, probably wanted to give me a good thrashing after that incident.

One would think that I would learn not to fall into anymore messy situations. I did it again. For my seventh birthday, my father bought me a shiny new bike that all the neighbourhood children coveted. One evening, an older girl who was supposed to look after me, took my bike out for a spin with me sitting side saddle on the bar between the handle bar and the seat. When we landed in raw sewage, I never lived down the consequences of that disaster to this day.

Needless to say, when I look back to those childhood days, I find many episodes and events that inspire my stories, like my recently published non-fiction piece, Alfie. Another chapter of my life gave me the setting for A Midnight Feast to Remember. Check them out and be transported to a world of innocence in a way of life that has ceased to exist. If you enjoy listening to Alfie or reading A Midnight Feast to Remember, do send me a note.

Slow Road to Puerto Rico

Despite many elements working against us right from the moment we were set to leave for the airport, we still managed to have a decent vacation this past month. The weather, the airline, even Puerto Rico itself – all conspired against us, but how can you have a memorable vacation without some mishap?

What went wrong:

  1. Heavy snowfall the night before our 8:30 a.m. flight set the ball spiraling off course.
  2. Our flight was delayed by about 5 hours. Strictly speaking, the delays were actually caused by the airline’s ground crew.
  3. The airline tagged us for special security screening – apparently this was a random selection. We could not perform self check-in; had to wait in line for the attendant at the counter.
  4. We arrived at night in a strange country. Try driving in a strange place in the dark after being up since the wee hours of the morning and then flying for almost five hours.
  5. Our brand new GPS did not have the most up-to-date map. We wandered remote back roads for twenty minutes before finding our way back to the highway.
  6. The resort was so massive we couldn’t find the main reception area in the dark. We had to stop a couple of times to find someone and ask for directions.
  7. The next day, we tried to drive to old San Juan. Within 3 kilometres, less than 2 miles, of our destination, a massive demonstration gridlocked us for over an hour – we moved about 0.2 kilometre during that time.
  8. The first possible relief from the traffic, a McDonald’s restaurant, turned out to be a disappointment – bad coffee and wilted lettuce in my salad.
  9. We returned to the resort that day without visiting old San Juan.

What went right:

  1. I flexed my writing muscles as soon as I got an opportunity to write down all my observations. So the things that went wrong provided fodder for a short story.
  2. Our room was awesome with a view of the pools and the ocean. We ate breakfast on the balcony every morning.
  3. The resort’s amenities and service exceeded our expectations.
  4. We found our way to old San Juan after all, and the trip was worth the forty-five-minute drive.
  5. The rain forest was located about fifteen minutes from our resort. We saved a boat-load of money touring it ourselves instead of signing up for an excursion.
  6. We found a few bargains at the outlet mall nearby. I mean, who doesn’t love a bargain?
  7. I received an email from the airline apologizing to us for the delay in leaving, and yes, you guessed it…they offered us a discount code for our next flight.
  8. After the initial set-back, we spent a lazy week in the warm climate, away from the snow and freezing rain, with the sound of the ocean in the background. Bliss…