Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Further Reincarnations of Fish-Guy

The things we do to amuse ourselves is fascinating, to amuse some of us anyway, or a few of us, Fish-Guy is back. After trading diving stories (scuba not sky) with a friend recently, I now have fish, coral reefs, and Red Stripe in my dreams or on the brain or somewhere. I've also had a long snooze-worthy week of day-job technical drawings (something I'm not good at) which has left me with a desperate need for color, and paint, and a little silliness (something I'm very good at.) Fish-Guy has returned with a new look.  I'm grateful it's not February. Fish-Guy doesn't do Valentine's Day.

Fish-Guy made his inaugural appearance in a previous post, Designing Your Own Stuff. Yes, I did carry him on a plane from St. Thomas, but I do believe he came into my life closer to twenty-five years ago, not twenty, and it wasn't exactly 'walk on the plane and go home.'

I was on an island-hopping sailing vacation and I arrived with one duffle bag, bathing suits, t-shirts and snorkel gear. I don't even think I had a hair dryer. Consuming sailboat power with a hair dryer is generally not appreciated. Generators can be temperamental. Okay, I had packed light. It's amazing how one bag can expand to multiples filled with treasures, and I don't think I was anywhere near a duty-free shop. The best goodies are found on the side of a road or in a shack on an isolated beach. I'm digressing again, but sometime I'll have to write about how two beer coolers full of conch shells spent three weeks traveling from the Bahamas.

I had stuffed my duffle bag with everything that wouldn't break and all my clothes. I said goodbye to that bag at the St. Thomas airport check-in. I lugged a heavy carry-on filled with carvings and other pieces of art. Fish-Guy was under my arm, wrapped in layers of newspaper. He is about three feet long and has some sharp edges and would probably be a weapon on an airline today. A lot to schlep, but I'd be home in a few hours, right?

I don't quite understand how this works, but where does your luggage go when your flight is cancelled because the plane never left wherever it was coming from? St. Thomas is a very small airport. My duffle was probably hiding about fifty feet away from me. Courtesy of the airline, (they were quite generous at one time,) I spent another night on the island, with only the clothes I had on, Fish-Guy and his getting-heavier bag of friends. My foresighted travel partner had a carry-on with the usual useful things one should have in a carry-on. At this point, we both thought this was funny.

About twenty-four hours later, the substitute flight landed in Puerto Rico where the connecting flight to Philadelphia was waiting. Fish-Guy and friends were hanging in there. I looked like I'd been wearing the same clothes for way too long; then the bidding started.

As I mentioned earlier, airlines were very generous years ago. The flight to Philadelphia was overbooked and the increasing offers to give up seats kept coming. When the offer hit a four-figure travel voucher and a first-class seat on the next day's flight, that was it. Fish-Guy wanted to see Puerto Rico, and I went to buy a dress for dinner.

Fish-Guy fueling up before donning Mardi-Gras attire.