“…It’s, like, ridiculous. Why is Mickey D’s the only thing open? Like, really.”
The girl behind me heaved a massive sigh, and then continued in a whining, nasal tone.
“And it’s like, way too early for this.”
She was right. It was way too early. At around four in the morning, standing in line for the only restaurant that showed any signs of possibly opening soon, I whole-heartedly agreed with her. And it was far, far too early to have to deal with a group of girls in their yoga pants, clutching neck pillows, wearing matching shirts with Girls Trip 2015 in glitter glue across the front. One inspected her nails, apparently bored, and helpfully broke the brief and blessed lull in mindless chatter by getting started on accents across the States. Her friends laughed loudly.
“Minne soooootta.” Giggles.
“Sooooootta.” Giggles harder.
“Sootta. Minne, minne soootta.” All laughing hard, giggling squeakily and trying it themselves.
“You put the caaaahhh in the paaahhhking lot.” They’re beside themselves.
“Aihm walking heah!” Loudly, with hand gestures. Apparently this is the funniest of them all, because the laughter is practically explosive.
Mom and I exchange the eyebrows raised, gritted teeth expression that means: For the love of all things, I’m on the verge of committing murder right here in the airport.
“Y’all want sahm piiieeee?”
It went on like that for the half hour it took for McDonald’s to open so we could get some breakfast. I apologize to humanity. I’m just not a morning person, let alone an early morning person. I’ve also never really been into the whole ‘girls group’ thing, where three or more young ladies get together and completely lose their minds… I don’t quite understand it. I have girlfriends, but when we’re together we paint, play music, talk about a wide variety of interesting things, hike and go on adventures, share stories and inspire each other… but very rarely do we have a mindless romp where annoying the bystanders is completely acceptable and all humor drops to a third grade level.
Not that it never happens. There was one incident with one of my best girlfriends which involved a flooded field, passing school buses, WAY too much mud, and a dozen dilapidated Barbie dolls, or the time me and three other girls put on prom dresses on a perfectly ordinary day and romped around just for kicks… but I won’t get into that.
They were still at it as I ordered my food. Why, I wondered, do people act so irritating in public? Do they simply not realize how annoying they’re being? I can’t imagine it’s intentional. Is it?
At last, food in hand, I left the obnoxious five behind me and headed for the gate. And that, somewhat ironically, was my farewell to the States. One of my least favorite cultural aspects had ushered me out the door. I’m good with that. Being exposed to girls like that makes me so grateful for the great girlfriends I have, the kind that aren’t afraid of mud and hard work, the kind that have big, beautiful dreams, the kind that would take me in, no questions asked, if I showed up half-dead on their doorstep on a random Monday (it’s always the mondays). Most of them I see only once or twice a year, some I’ve never even met. But ladies, after witnessing that performance, I’m even more grateful for your ability to have intellectual discussions, brainstorming sessions, and artistic collaborations with me as well as all the reckless fun and good times.
I’m in Guatemala now, on beautiful Lago de Atitlan. It’s been four years since I’ve been here, but I’m remembered. It’s a good feeling. It’s been wonderful to catch up with old friends, to join the vibrant culture that surrounds the Lago, and to meld seamlessly back into our community. It’s good to be home.