Sunday, November 22, 2009

Volcanoes can teach you a lot about marriage: Part 1

I hate volcanoes.

Actually, I don't hate volcanoes at all. I happen to think they are pretty freakin' cool. But Mike says I hate volcanoes, so there must be something to that, right? If you ask my husband, his takeaways from our visit to the Volcano State Park on Hawaii's Big Island are that (1) volcanoes are for boys, and (2) he made a massive mistake in "dragging" me there. I have my own takeways from the experience, including (1) boys are more likely to give you faulty information than admit they don't know something and (2) once a boy has made up his mind about something, trying to convince him otherwise is a lot like trying to talk your way out of a speeding ticket: you can try, but ultimately it's less painful for everyone if you just accept it and move on.

In the interest of fairness, I'm going to do my best to give Mike's full side of the volcano story first. Then, I'll do a second blog post with my side. I can already feel all you married people shaking your heads at us. Ah, the joys of marriage are just beginning!

Mike's Version of the Events Transpiring on Tuesday, November 16
The day got off to a great start. Months ago when I made the reservation for this hotel, I selected the Bed and Breakfast plan which meant that our breakfast was already paid for up to $75. The Four Seasons has an awesome spread called the Ultimate Buffet for $44 that includes anything and everything you could possibly want: made to order omelets and waffles, an Asian station with shrimp fried rice, classic Continental items cereals, fruit and pastries, and all sorts of other good stuff. Talk about getting your money's worth! I mean, how can you go wrong with that? Logically, I went with the buffet. But what does my wife order? A $9 bowl of oatmeal and an $8 plate of pineapple. Are you freakin kidding me? Ehhhh, what on earth is the point of that? Why not just get the buffet? They have all the oatmeal and fruit up there you could possibly want! I tell Chrystalle this, and she says "But all I want is oatmeal and pineapple."

"Right, but you can get that with the buffet!"

"But why would I get the buffet if all I want is oatmeal and pineapple, which I can get a la carte?"

Uggghhhh. I could see this was going no where. But given that I had already paid for this all-inclusive breakfast, I was damn well going to get my money's worth. Round One at the buffet I got a ham and cheese omelet, shrimp fried rice, potatoes and tomatoes. Then for Round Two I got a full Belgian waffle and some fresh berries. The guy at the buffet even asked me if I wanted a half waffle or a full, but I told him, Go Ahead! Give me the Full! What the hell, right? I nearly exploded, but hey, at least I got what I paid for.

Okay, so breakfast down, we set out for the volcanoes. I warned Chrystalle that it was going to be a looooonnnnnnng day. We were going to drive around the entire island AND do the hiking trails at the volcano park. She said that she was excited about it, and against my better judgement, I took her at her word. The whole time I could hear the voice in my head saying, "Michael, she's going to hate this. She's going to get there and hate it and then she's going to ruin the volcano for you! She's going to rush you out of there because she's cold or hungry or her feet hurt or she's bored or who knows what else! Abort, Michael. ABORT!" But I ignored the voice and got in the car. I am not a smart man.

Two hours into the drive she has to go to the bathroom. Of course. I pull over into a gas station (we're on the wet side of the island now so it's raining pretty steadily) and she gets out and steps right into a puddle. Great. Now I've got to hear about how her sneakers are wet. I can tell already this is going to be awesome.

Another two hours later, she wants coffee. So we pull over again, this time into a 7-Eleven, for coffee and a pack of macadamia nuts. And we're on our way again. One hour later, we arrive at the Volcano Park. Again, she has to go to the bathroom. (Why oh why do women have to tinkle so much??) So she disappeared for a while and i got to scope out the visitors center and map out our course. And man, this place is even cooler than I thought it would be. There's active volcanoes you can actually hike down into, and there's even more craters that you can walk all over. Plus, at the end of the Crater Drive, you can get right up to where the last volcanic eruption covered over the street. You have to leave your car a half mile back from the edge of the lava, but you can walk it and then continue walking on down to the beach to see where the lava ran into the ocean. And then you can actually see the steam where lava is STILL flowing into the ocean! That's unbelievable!

At least, that's what I thought. As predicted (I am so good. I totally called this one) Chrystalle was not impressed. She was cold. Granted it was a little chilly but really it was just the rain that was making it uncomfortable. But who cares? What's a little rain? We're in a volcano! All I could think was please let the rain stop. She won't be miserable if the rain stops.

But the rain didn't stop. And soon, she wouldn't even get out of the car. So we're driving through the most awesome park on earth and my wife is sitting in the car while I get out to look at stuff. She wasn't complaining, but I felt like a jerk just leaving her in the car. So I end up jumping out, taking a 2-second peek at everything, snapping a picture, and then running back to the car, all along the map of the park. And the whole time I've got this internal monologue going, on one side, "I've got to get her out of her before this gets ugly" and on the other hand "I'm never coming back here! I have to see everything!" Ugh, what a mess.

And then, right as we are about to get to the coolest part of the whole tour-- the lava that ran over onto the main road-- it happens: "Mike, do you think we could stop for lunch soon?"

Oh Great Merciful God, NOOOO!! Not that! There is nothing scarier in life than my wife when she's hungry. Good Lord. As soon as she said Lunch the clock began to tick. And the voice in my head boomed "Michael, you have less than one hour before TOTAL MELTDOWN." But we were so close! It was only another 20 minute drive down to the end of the road, and then a half-mile hike to get to where the lava ended. I had to see this. It was worth the consequences. Besides, maybe being hungry for a while would teach her not to eat like a freakin bird. I told her to get the buffet!

It was 2:20 when the Lunch clock began to tick and it was 3:12 when got back in the car after hiking over the lava. I would have liked to have hiked all the way down to the ocean, but I'll take what I can get. Chrystalle was not looking good so I knew we were approaching Hunger-CON 5. "Don't worry dear! We're gonna get you some food!" Weak smile from my wife in reply. Oh boy, this is looking ugly. Please Lord, just let me find a restaurant!

But there are no restaurants. We are on the dead, undeveloped side of the island and there is NOTHING. So I'm driving. And I'm driving. And there's still NOTHING. And before long I can see out of the corner of my eye that she is curled up against the door in a fetal position with her eyes closed. Jesus. Lord, don't do this to me! I'm going to have to hear about this for the rest of my life! But finally, after almost an hour of driving, we found the saddest gas station you have ever seen in your life. Chrystalle flys out of the car like a bat out of hell and buys a bag of pretzels and a Diet Coke. And she is happy again. And all is right with the world. Except that she thinks I am an insensitive jerk who thought for days about how to torture her and came up with the volcano frostbite starvation treatment.

Maybe she's right. But hey, I'm new at this married stuff. Now I know. No matter what my wife says, ahe is still a girl and would still rather be at the spa than at the volcano. And while I love her very much, I will never take her to do boy things again.

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