When I was at my parents’ house this past December, I noticed that my mother still had the postcard I sent her from Ireland hanging on the refrigerator.
Hello! Torrential downpours here – the worst in years. Streets flooded! Train canceled! Also accidentally set my friend’s jacket on fire.
I cannot believe that I wrote that – especially to a woman who loves to worry so much that she still gets worked up every time I get on a bike.
“Oh, they’re all like that,” she told me. “Every single one.”
And with that, she pulled out a basket from her laundry room that contained every postcard I sent her since 2005. She wasn’t exaggerating.
Hi! Colorado is pretty great! Lots of hiking, horses and pretty mountains. Only fell once. Bruised my elbow – didn’t break it.
Good to know. I’m not sure if that message made more or less sense when taken in the context of this one from Ocean City, MD in 2008:
I fell. Might have broken my elbow, but I think it will be ok. Running on the boardwalk. (Drunk.)
And then there was this important update from my trip to Cancun in 2009, which coincided with the swine flu outbreak:
Hi. I do not have the flu but I do have a killer tan. [Drawing of a pig]
And this one, while en route to Abuja in 2010 – the foreshadowing of which is so perfect I can hardly stand it:
In London. My flight is delayed 3 hours. Who’s surprised? Not me. So it begins. Nigeria.
To answer my own question: No one. No one is surprised that I sat around Heathrow for a few extra hours. No one is surprised that it rained for an entire week while I was in the Dominican Republic or that I lost my belt going through customs in Colombia. No one is surprised that hotel security in Las Vegas found my blackberry in some shrubbery outside the front door. No one at all.
But I’ll tell you what was surprising – a postcard that I got last night from my mother in Key Largo that would put even my most tragic of vacation highlights to shame.
Day 1. Windshield chipped.
Day 2. Back passenger window shattered.
Day 3. Computer lost and recovered.
Day 4. Car battery dead.
Day 5. Moved 2x because of construction.
Somewhere in between all that, she also wrote me this email:
Walked 41 Fitbit steps before stepping in dog poop and ruining my brand new sneakers. Walked over 11,000 steps after that.
I wrote her an email with my best advice: You seem to be on a roll. Watch out for candles.