That same year, 2003, provided another surprise. In addition to graduating Monticello High School, embarrassing myself in NYC, witnessing miracles in Brazil, and transferring colleges, there was another pit-stop along the way.
We have to back up between Brazil and going away to college. It was a family cruise. My family wanted to visit the Caribbean. I know. You are probably starting to wonder how one year could provide so much excitement. I was too. But, as those in baseball say, “the hits kept coming” again and again.
This one is unfortunate and less humorous than the NYC bus blunder.
It begins with a robbery.
I thought copying it down verbatim would work best. A robbery is never a fun exchange and believe it or not, I’ve been robbed 4 times already in my life. (only 2 forcefully)
(Don’t worry. It’s not contagious…I don’t think.)
But, we were on this Caribbean getaway. Mom said, “You boys be careful.” And my brother and I took off for what was known as the “flea markets” of Ocho Rios, Jamaica.
Now, this wasn’t smart. I admit it. The cruise director specifically told travelers to not venture off the main route and alerted everyone of the risks of crime. But, we were hard-headed, I guess.
Here’s my rant from Summer 2003–
“Ode to the Belligerent Jamaican man who robbed me! —
I think your country is exceptionally beautiful. Your tourism attractions are many! And the weather is always delightful. Yet, there is more than one thing I find disdainful about you. For starters, why must you rob those who visit you on holiday? I was always under the impression that tourists are welcome especially when they account for 90% of a country’s gross domestic income. Your Jamaica IS beautiful. Robbery is not. Rise above these nasty convictions and choose pleasure over greed please. Also, what is with all of the “It’s about respect, mon! Respect!” comments? Seriously, who needs confirmation that much about where respect comes from? Frankly, I’m a bit repulsed by your conduct. Jamaica was my vacation spot. Your were a native who I happened to encounter. Will you always be so outlandishly awful? If so, I do not think I will be able to visit you ever again. The conduct is so utterly despicable that I must admit my dislike for your entire island now. It is a classic case of one bad apple ruining the batch. My friend, I implore you to come to your senses. You have failed me in the past. Now, is your chance to represent your country in a NEW light. Lastly, I want to say that marijuana is not cool. You make it appear as if it is God’s gift to the world. Bob Marley was some dude who smoked it who happened to live next door to you and play music that had good grooves. Come off of your high horse, please. Drop the weed and drop my money. Embrace kindness and I might visit you in the coming years. But, you MUST realize the need for peace. And taking a poor kid’s money is just plain wrong!”
This piece followed our robbery. My brother and I were 2 regular Huck Finns unable to control our circumstances. Trouble knocked and we folded. I remember six guys circling around us and asking us what we wanted. My brother yelled “RUN!” (after our money was pried away), and we sprinted the whole way back to the ship.
Live and learn.