Before moving to my new rock home 6 months ago, I used to scour the myriad of articles written on this site. Wrapped in my duvet in the UK, I read the stories, took in the advice, and memorized the tactics given for island survival. By the time our family finally made that transatlantic flight to our new life in the sun, I felt I’d been proficiently briefed by island gals who knew the ropes. They’d given me good insight into how to live on a rock. I felt ready.
So then why oh why did I not take heed of Laurie Damron’s sage advice in her post, How To Feel Sexy With Island Swamp Ass, and just pack an additional pair of cotton panties for our family’s recent outing?
It’s so simple, and panties are so small. It should have been a complete no-brainer but I suppose packing a mere pair of panties for me amongst the kids’ snorkel masks, extra shoes, extra changes of clothes, water bottles, towels, sunscreen, and bug repellant somehow seemed just one thing too many.
We boarded the morning ferry to our neighboring island laden with all our stuff for the day and further laden with that emotional weariness which could only mark the of the end of ½ term break (I need not remind mothers living in all locations how trying ½ term break can be).
When we arrived in the harbour, we (my husband included) thought it would be good fun to walk over the hill (a big hill) to the next bay. And it was fun… for the first 10 minutes or so. It was then that I began to wish I had worn some comfy cotton panties under my dress instead of my bikini bottoms.
As I hiked on, gradually becoming soaked through with sweat, a vision from my recent past swam into my head. Just days before I had witnessed a new island friend arrive at the beach in a wonderfully loose-fitting dress and sunhat. With a cool drink by her side, she neatly slid off her knickers and shimmied on her bikini bottoms. Her movement was seamless. It was a perfect example of how things should be done and yet, somehow when the opportunity arose for me to put a pair of panties into my bag I tossed it aside; slyly thinking I knew best.
I cursed myself as yet another hill crested before me. It also didn’t help that the taxis who had driven others from our ferry into our bay of destination were now on their return journey back to the harbour. Each of them stopped in turn to ask us if we needed a ride. My husband, still looking spritely just smiled and said, “No thanks, we’ll walk.” My seven year old daughter (cut from the same cloth as her mother) looked at me and rolled her eyes.
Growing ever more desperate for a beer and wardrobe change, we began our decent into the bay. It looked glorious! Like someone who had been walking the dessert chasing mirages, I stumbled into the beach bar with newfound vibrancy.
It was no wonder that when my husband smiled and offered me the first Painkiller of the day, I was overjoyed!
The fun-filled hours in the sun rolled by. High on life and sun and rum and with the kids full of Shirley Temples, we began the climb out of the bay and back over the hill to the harbour.
My husband, steady in his pace, took the lead with my son following easily behind. My daughter and I trudged, breathing heavily.
We were not even halfway up the first ascent when, still slightly damp from sea water, it became increasingly difficult for me to keep a normal stride. I was soon walking like John Wayne and it wasn’t pretty.
I quizzed myself: Is it salt? Is it sweat? Is it sand? Self-consciousness had been tapered completely by that last drink “for the road” and without hesitating, I stopped in the middle of the road, took off my bikini bottoms, and put them on my head.
No, not like this!
I had a hat on so it looked more like this:
In my skewed judgment (or rather lack of judgment) in that moment, I thought that putting my bottoms on top of my hat would allow them to dry more quickly; after all, they were now closer to the sun! Then, once I was nearer the harbor I could slip them back on again.
My daughter just looked at me, unfazed.
I felt better, relief washing over me as I walked on, but I couldn’t help but think that if Laurie Damron had been with me, she would have been entirely warranted to say, “I told you so.”