It makes for an interesting story to tell later. These instances are usually caused by hazardous weather, a mistake in booking or needing a reservation, or the event is closed or the building demolished — all things that can be blamed on chance or someone else. These moments can be used to bring couples closer together as they learn how to deal with new situations and communicate what they want and how to fix it (the problem now and how to remedy it in the future if possible — airlines, in-laws, restaurants).
My years of being young, reckless, and emotional seemed to fly by (probably because I’m still in them) but as a person grows and changes (as is healthy to do) along with their partner a lot can go unnoticed or just unsaid. It’s not due to neglect or other forms of abuse, but just a lack of not knowing what questions to ask as you both pursue your goals without focusing on the details of what it will take to stay on this path together as your likes and motivations adapt to the ever-evolving individual.
Being 3.5 months away from my 11-year anniversary, and having known Caleb for three years prior, I should have more experience in this field and be able to cope with a little glitch like a canceled dive trip — something we’ve been dealing with since we started in March 2016. The ocean is a wild and unpredictable place and we should always have a backup plan ready just in case — and be ready to voice our reasoning behind our ideas that pop up in the absence of swimming with fish (or whatever the plan was).
In our case, Caleb got us free tickets to Busch Gardens, compliments of their Waves of Honor program, after the divemaster let him know that we wouldn’t be diving today. I was more concerned with the $25 parking than I was in knowing why Caleb would want to spend the morning watching me ride roller coasters while he stands in a crowded theme park playing Christmas music in November. It’s this simple question that can set the tone for the day.
Getting to the park and focusing on the naughty children, unopened food stalls, and roller coasters that are closed for maintenance while smiling on ride after ride because Caleb knows that I enjoy the thrill of their speed along with their history and technology was the post I was going to write, but I’m lucky to have a little birdy remind me otherwise. I realized I would rather spend the day in the hotel or on a trail holding Caleb’s hand and appreciating each other and animals in the wild than roaming around looking for the negative because I didn’t communicate that to him.
I still enjoy all the rides and getting to skip in line for being a single rider, but I’d rather be laughing with Caleb while we wait and sharing in this experience together. It’s not often that couples can afford to fly a spouse across the country, where the other one works all the time, to see each other and I wanted us to make the most of it. Memories were made and I don’t want to belittle them, but I think of the joy that could’ve been had doing something we could both take part in.
Speaking of, the train is a great place to sit next to each other and watch the park go by. I learn that the conductor is in charge of collecting fares and selling tickets and is not the driver. The engineer informs us that Grant’s zebras, a subspecies of the Plains zebra, has stripes around their bodies while the mountain zebras have a white belly. Cool fact: a group of zebras can be referred to as a dazzle.
After the park, we take a step back into 1880’s history and admire the architecture of the Spanish, Moorish, and French Renaissance styles that were popular in Ybor City at the time. The thing that stood out from the Cigar Capital of the World, as it would remain until the Great Depression, besides the hand-rolling still taking place, was reading about Molly Ferrara as the city’s first alcaldesa (mayor) and adding another word to my Spanish vocabulary.
We drive downtown to visit the Tampa Museum of Art and take in the two-minute interactive exhibit by Yayoi Kusama “Love is Calling” that has inflatables surrounded by mirrors while the artist recites a Japanese poem. A translation of Residing in a Castle of Shed Tears is available to be read on the wall upon exit. The artwalk event I thought was taking place (where restaurants and businesses display local artists and offer discounts on food and drinks) turns out to be alcohol specials at nearby bars so we will have to find food elsewhere.
Why we settled on dinner at a chain restaurant while on vacation is beyond me and not our typical behavior, but it does the job, as does getting key lime pie cheesecake as a sugar vehicle to my bloodstream but doesn’t deliver the same feeling I got going into the Everglades with two slices made in the Keys and coming out with one because the other melted; both were still delicious. Life doesn’t go as planned, but it’s up to you to choose the extraordinary over the mundane every chance you get.