So we’re back from Mexico. We failed to get pictures of us swimming with dolphins, ate one of the best meals of our lives, and almost got in a fist fight with a TSA agent. Just your typical spring break…
A little background: Tenzin, my husband, and I made the monumentally bad decision to purchase a timeshare down in Puerto Vallarta almost six years ago while celebrating our tenth anniversary. We haven’t been back since due to the company’s horrible customer service and our deep seeded hatred for everyone involved. So needless to say, we have quite a few weeks stored up.
Anyway, we finally got back to our “happy place” about the whole thing and went down for a week with the kids, my aunt, and my cousin. We arrived at Villa Del Palmar and all was going just swimmingly until our “personal concierge” told us that all of the fabulous member discounts that she’d just laid on us were contingent on us going to Villa Del Palmar Flamingos (where we originally bought this nightmare) for a “membership update.” At 8 the next morning. For only 60 minutes. And clearly they wouldn’t be trying to sell us anything…
This is when I pretty much lost my shit. I tend to get kind of nasty on the phone with people at times, but in person, I’m generally more subdued. This time? Not so much. We basically told this woman that they were all a bunch of crooks and liars and that unless they wanted me to make a full-on, YouTube-worthy scene, they really, really didn’t want me at Flamingos in a meeting where they were trying to sell us useless crap. Really.
So that was fun.
The rest of the trip was awesome. We got a kick-ass room that let us walk right onto the beach or to the pool. Every morning, I’d get up, take my coffee out to a lounge chair, and watch the waves. And I slept! Without Ambien. And I didn’t wake up 20 times. Why? Here are a few theories:
- Massive amounts of sun and swimming.
- Absence of doing the “list making” thing while falling asleep.
- Humidity (sounds weird but remember I live in Nevada).
- Major white noise (the air conditioner was pretty loud).
- Lousy Internet connection, so I stayed off FB, barely texted, and didn’t write anything.
- The vision of sitting on a lounge chair, drinking coffee, and watching the waves is my actual “happy place” when someone says, “Go to your happy place.”
So I guess I just need to swim outside every day, turn off my brain at night, get a humidifier and white noise machine, and completely unplug. No problem…
The kids, of course, enjoyed “the things you didn’t pay thousands of dollars for” as kids always do. Elfie entertained herself for hours by going up and down the elevator, and Newt spent about half the time lounging on the couch with the iPad. As for the rest, here’s how it went:
We swam with the dolphins, like, actually swam with them, at Aquaventuras Park, and it was the coolest thing ever. I was so proud of Elfie because she was terrified but then pulled herself together and did it. And then her parents freaked out and didn’t buy all the pictures because it seemed too expensive. Still. Kicking. Myself. At least we had plenty of Fanta.
The worst part of the trip came at the end when we had a bad run-in with a vile TSA agent at the Phoenix airport. We were late for our connecting flight — even though we had a two hour layover, it still wasn’t enough because the place is so understaffed. We finally got through the X-ray and were grabbing our stuff off the belt, and this woman pulled Newt’s empty water bottle out of his bag. It is possible — possible — that there was half a teaspoon of water in this thing. I specifically emptied it and put it in there because it’s really important to him. He’s had it for about two years (which is pretty amazing for a kid, if you know about kids and water bottles). It’s banged up, dented, chipped. It’s been everywhere with him. He loves this thing.
Anyway, she tells us there’s liquid in it, and if we want it, we have to go back out of security and dump it or drink it. I try to tell her there’s nothing in it, but she yells at me not to touch it. Things are getting heated because we basically have the choice to go back out, empty an already empty container and risk getting trapped in the “employee” line that they claim we can come back through, or give the thing up completely.
I don’t want to make too big a deal out of this because clearly I’m not some Syrian refugee who was forced to choose between her children or something, but this was a stressful moment. I knew Newt would be really upset if I let them take the water bottle. And I had about five seconds to make the decision. It gave me the slightest sliver of insight into how horrible it would be to experience living in a police-state.
I ended up telling her to take it. And then I threw a small tantrum, grabbing our bags and flinging them off the conveyor belt. I turned to the kids and they were sobbing. They were actually hugging, trying to console each other over Newt’s favorite bottle.
So I flipped the whole security section the bird and told Phoenix to F-off (and I did indeed use the entire word).
It probably sounds crazy to a lot of people to be so upset about a water bottle. But for one thing, my kids (and I) are sentimental people. We’ve had some pretty big losses over the last few years, so when we happen to lose things that we care about, it hits us kind of hard.
It would just be nice if people like the bitchy TSA agent would remember that the human beings she comes across have different stories. And a banged up water bottle may mean a lot more to one person than it does to another. And that even though the black-and-white rule is “no liquid through the screening area,” using your best discretion to interpret that rule is what makes implementation of the rule reasonable. And useful.
And saying something small — like, “I’m so sorry. I can see this is obviously a child’s water bottle, and I’m sure it’s fine, but we have to follow protocol” — would’ve gone a really long way. Much further than yelling at us like we were suspects in a murder interrogation.
Incidentally, we barely made it to our flight. They were holding the doors. And when we sat down, we realized my aunt had gotten through the screening area with her bottle.
It had about half a cup of water in it.