February 7, 2014 § 1 Comment
Once upon a time two of my dear friends and I took a girl’s adventure trip to Costa Rica. When we arrived in Arenal, a small town known for it’s active volcano and hot springs, we booked a tour-guided hike that promised an afternoon through beautiful rainforests followed by an evening swimming under a remote waterfall.
The morning of the hike started peacefully. Our tour guide was extremely tardy but we sat content drinking coffee at a local cafe.
After some time a shitty van stopped in the middle of the road directly in front of the cafe. A man wearing disco clothes popped out from the back in a graceless ta-da pose. This was Carlos, our drunk tour guide. Upon first inspection we knew Carlos was drunk, he reeked of booze and had a glint in his eye that said, ‘I’m fucked up’.
We hopped aboard.
The van took us to seemingly the middle of nowhere. As we exited, Carlos chucked grocery bags filled with 2-liters of soda, Tampico and loaves of bread at us. The brochure had promised lunch so I’m guessing this was Carlos’ attempt.
Next we followed Carlos as he took us down a trench, up a trench and through a barbed wire fence marked ‘private property’.
Can we pause here to appreciate that three girls who, I’d say, function fine in society hiked down a trench, up a trench and through a barbed wire fence all while carrying groceries because a very drunk stranger told them to. At this point of course our guts were saying, ‘remember Natalie Holloway’ but our hearts were saying, ‘no, it should be ok’.
But seriously, if all of us paid attention to every little red flag we’d miss out on mystery and adventure and life. That logic is sound. People who are overly red flag cautious don’t get to do things like drunk guided tours through Costa Rican rain forests. They are also probably a lot less likely to die in an embarrassing circumstance but sometimes you just gotta get your hands dirty.
So there we were, getting our hands dirty.
We must have taken some back-wood shortcut because we eventually did end up on a legit trail. Once there, it was much more apparent just how drunk, Drunk Carlos was. This motherfucker was real real drunk.
He spent a substantial amount of time making zero progress, shifting weight from one foot to the other, staggering from one side of the path to the other. His ankles were buckling, his shirt drenched in sweat. We did our best to encourage him, ‘All right, all right, you got this. Just a little further.’
But Drunk Carlos was the kind of drunk you can’t just shrug off. At a point early on Carlos realized this. He took a swig from his water bottle (which we later discovered wasn’t actually water at all) and plopped butt first to the ground.
Carlos was sick of hiking. Maybe he was sick of life. Either way he was done. He looked up at us, smiled a true bright smile and then in the most cartoon character-ish way possible he passed out. It was actually kind of cute.
Eager to get on with the hike we told Passed Out Carlos we’d come back for him. We didn’t get very far before we realized we didn’t want to die in the rainforest so we returned to Passed Out Carlos.
We frisked his pockets, found his cell phone and rang the travel company. They arrived, extremely apologetic, to swoop all of us, including Drunk Carlos and then the real adventure began – To be continued for another post.
Carlos is the kind of man who lives life one drunk day at a time. He doesn’t change his behavior to impress or please anyone. He just simply is Drunk Carlos. And although I can say with almost complete certainty that we are not even a spot in Carlos’ memory, he is very much tied to ours.
In that short amount of time we bonded to Carlos forever. We’ll carry Carlos in the highlight reel of our lives, we’ll try to explain the oddity and absurdity of the situation to others and although some might find it amusing, words will never truly capture it.
That’s the thing about sharing moments in life like that, they bond you forever because, well, you kind of had to be there.
Glittering Hearts Wander