Sunday, February 15, 2009

We Laugh In The Face Of Disaster

We don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. In the six years APL and I have been dating, we’ve never celebrated it (with the exception of a few gag gifts, like the “prisoner of love” boxers I once bought APL that I never thought he’d actually wear. But of course he did. He needed clean underwear, he said. Didn’t want to do laundry, he said. I guess I should have figured!) In any event, we’ve got nothing against people who enjoy Valentine’s Day. But we decided early on that we’d rather do special things on days that have more personal meaning to us, like our anniversary or birthdays. Alternatively, we’re also huge fans of spontaneity. So neither of us is into buying mushy presents and lighting candles in February just because Hallmark says we should.

Thus, the relation between our recent romantic hot springs getaway and Valentine’s Day was purely a coincidence. APL didn’t have to work on Friday, so we jumped at the chance to take a spontaneous mini-vacation. And, because it happened to be Valentine’s Day, we found a what we thought was a great package deal at a old hot springs resort about an hour from home. It included a room, dinner, hot springs, and discounts on massages. Sounded great to us!

Instead, it was a total disaster! If we had been a couple looking for a perfectly romantic and relaxing Valentine’s getaway we would have been hugely disappointed. Luckily, we laugh in the face of disaster!

To start with, we were going to a hot springs resort, but I wasn’t actually allowed to get in the hot springs (on the doctor’s orders). Then, the first night at dinner the waiter looked at me like I had four heads when I asked for advice about gluten-free ordering and was actually downright rude when we asked him to check ingredients with the kitchen. When they brought me my buffalo cheeseburger sans bun, it was also sans cheese. Instead of taking my burger away to melt the cheese, they brought a cold slice of cheese on a plate. Highly appetizing.

The next morning we awoke to the sounds of the couple next door to us having a screaming fight. Their voices were barely muffled through the paper-thin walls of the old inn. (Apparently, he called her fat and/or ugly and totally ruined their vacation, just like he ruined Christmas and her birthday.) After witnessing the morning soap opera, when we went to check in to our private mineral bath, there was a line of people out the door. The “system” that the old resort is using for scheduling seems to consist of hundreds of little scraps of paper and eight highlighters. It took twenty minutes any time we needed to talk to someone at the desk. And after all that I could only put my legs in the mineral bath.

Then, somehow the resort hadn’t realized that a “couple’s massage” requires a room that fits two massage tables and four people. Instead, we were squished into this tiny room. Halfway through the massage my headrest fell off and I had to contort my body so as not to display my bare boobs to my therapist while he tried re-attaching the headrest. After our massage, APL had arranged for me to get an extra half hour special head, neck, and scalp treatment, but the therapist had no idea what APL had ordered and just continued with a regular massage.

After dinner that night (which was delicious gluten-free pizza and gluten-free beer – thank you Beau Jo’s!!) we thought we would just relax in our room. But we learned that our fighting neighbors (who had bailed out after their fight) had been replaced with a group of loud guys, including one with a laugh like a drunken deranged hyena that kept us from falling asleep.

Warning: Fairly disgusting compromised immune system details below!
The next morning (on actual Valentine’s Day) as we were checking out, we realized that the resort hadn’t discounted one of our massages like they were supposed to. So after waiting in a line for twenty minutes to check out, we spent another half an hour arguing with them about the discount. Finally we hurried down the mountain to Student Health to have my boob wound rinsed (which was painful) and re-packed (which was also painful). Early return from hot springs to deal with Valentine’s Day boob wound? Awesome. It sounds like a story from the worst Valentine’s Day ever contest, doesn’t it?

But while it certainly sounds like a total disaster, APL and I actually laughed our way through the whole thing and ended up really enjoying ourselves. We lounged in bed and made up commentary and background stories to go with the soap opera we were experiencing. We daydreamed about getting hired to update and re-organize the resort’s antiquated scheduling system. We tried to loudly imitate hyena-man’s laugh in the hopes that he would hear us and get embarrassed. It was a bizarre trip, but we had a lot of fun with it.

Valentine’s Day tends to provoke expectations about romance where everything is supposed to be perfect. Ironically, those expectations could have had us bailing out early, fighting about who said what, or getting upset over rude customer service. Instead, we ended up laughing and happy. APL and I can almost always laugh in the face of disaster. And that’s one of the reasons I love him so much.


~kelly marie~ said...

What a trip! I love that you guys just keep laughing and smiling :).

Rebecca said...

What about laughing in the face of danger? Do you do that, too?