Sunday, December 12, 2004

What To Do When You're Locked Out on the Balcony in a Swimsuit

Let me walk you through it so you don’t do it again.

While in Cozumel, you decided to spend your morning off out on the hotel balcony sunbathing. You have just showered and have put your hair in the very large blue curlers you purchased at the Mexican Wal-Mart the night before. You don your gorgeous rich-lady black Calvin Klein maillot and stepped out onto the balcony. Trying to be considerate of the hotel utilities, you close the sliding glass door behind you.

After sitting on the hot, south facing balcony for all of five minutes, you get thirsty and rise to get a drink. You tie your pareo modestly about your generous hips, grab the latch, and pull. Nothing happens. At first your mind does not even register the implications, so you pull again. THEN you realized…”Crap, I’m locked out.”

You have a moment of blankness that lasts anywhere from 2-25 seconds, then you say out loud, “Well, that’s just great. What do I do now?”

You take stock of available options:

1.Break glass
2.Jump from fourth floor using gauzy pareo as parachute
3.Look to see if hotel neighbors are also sunbathing (you probably should have considered this before jumping, but you taste a hint of panic in your throat like rising bile)
4.Ask someone to help – preferable someone close, like a passerby
5.Scream for help until someone sees you then ask them to send up the bellboy to unlock the door

You begin to weigh options like: “How much does this hurricane proof glass door cost? And can they just add it to my hotel bill? Could I break it with this plastic chair and/or side table? How fast does an object fall? How many feet per second? How high is the fourth floor, really? What if I tried to jump into that tree? Does that dog peeing in the alley speak English? Could he go for help? Why isn’t anyone else sunbathing? It’s a gorgeous day, for crying out loud! Where is everyone on the streets? Why does the back of this hotel have to face nothing? If I scream at those men way over there, will they think I’m up to no good?”

But wait, someone walks into view… You get really nervous like you are about to audition for a play. You have to dare yourself to speak. After all, you DON’T speak Spanish. Do it… He’s gonna leave! DO IT!

“Oh-lah? Sen-your? Si! You!” Wave your arms, now! He’s waving back, he thinks you are friendly… “No! Wait!....Uh…. pour-fa-vor…uh…mee poo-er-tah ehss no ah-bee-ehr-tow…!” He has no idea what you’re talking about because from where he is standing, he can’t even see what you are gesturing to. Repeat emergency message two or three times: “Pour-fa-vor…mee poo-erta ehss no ah-bee-ehr-tow…!”

The man kind of nods and you add: “Pour-fa-vor…noo-meh-row…kwa-trow…zeh-row…see-eh-tay…!” You can’t even speak Spanish but you make an effort to roll your R’s to show him that you really are trying.

He nods and then walks off. “Phew!” You wipe the ever increasing sweat from your brow. It won’t be long now.

Or will it?

You now have the attention of the guys way over there and they are laughing at you. Boy, you have never felt so stupid, white, and stupid in all your life. You hold out your arms and shrug your shoulders at them in an exaggerated pantomime meaning so say “Oh, well… these things happen (to stupid white people who don’t speak Spanish or think to leave the sliding glass door open a crack when they go out onto the balcony half naked to sweat in the sun).” They return the gesture and laugh more.

You evaluate how much money is your wallet and begin to assign prices to the rescue effort. You’ll give the bellboy a couple pesos, and you’ll give the man who came to the hotel a few pesos. For their trouble…

So you wait… and wait… and wait…

The longer you wait the higher the prices go.

An hour later, you have been pressing your forehead to the locked glass waiting for someone to come through your door. You can feel the eyes of the guys way over there burning into your sweaty white back as they watch the drama unfold. You feel really embarrassed that you haven’t been rescued yet. You feel like the last kid waiting after ballet for your mom to come pick you up even though class ended like an hour ago, and the teacher has to wait for you until she comes.

You start to feel the “audition” nervousness again. Bite the bullet, you know you have to…

“Oh-lah!” Even louder this time, to make it to the guys way over there. “Pour-fa-vor… mee poo-ert-ah ehss no ah-bee-ehr-tow…!!!” They get it. “Noo-meh-row…kwa-trow…zeh-row…see-eh-tay…!!!” Roll those R’s!

One of them gestures “What?”

You shout your room number out to the whole world again: “The stupid white woman is living in room 407! Did you all hear that? Take advantage of the stupid woman in room 407!”

They give you the ubiquitous OK sign, they walk off, and it’s back to waiting.

Only fifteen minutes of pressing your head to the glass and you are rescued!

The price for being rescued has inflated now to everything you’ve got in your wallet. After demurely throwing on your pink pancho over your drenched-without-actually-swimmingsuit, you dive for your wallet and hand the confused bellhop 50 pesos.

He volunteers the story that an hour ago, some man walked into the hotel lobby saying a woman was locked out on her balcony, room 407. But maybe due to his poor English or your excited state, it sounds like that wasn’t good enough, and they didn’t take it seriously until three young men walked into the lobby saying the same thing.

It doesn’t matter. “Are they still here? In the lobby?” you ask.

“Well, si, of course,” he says as if they are expected guests.

Both of you look at your outfit and decide that visiting the lobby right now is not in your best interests or of ANY interest to the hotel. You press 200 pesos into the bellhop’s hands and say, “please, please, give to boys!” You figure if you speak really bad English it will be conveyed easier.

He agrees and leaves.

You are so relieved! You need to shower again because you are so sweaty, but decide you deserve a pina colada for your good Spanish speaking efforts and for rolling those R’s.

But first, you must stop by the ATM incase you lock your self in the bathroom.

Good luck.


fattooth said...

4 out of 5 on the embarassing story scale. Thats pretty good. Most 5's can't even be written, just sung. By minstrels. With lyres or pan flutes or something.

Cameron H said...

At least you were not naked, and come on, 250 pesos? Thats not too shabby, I mean what is that $1.80?

Carrie Ann said...

Yeah, if I were naked the story might have ended quite differently. I might have had to spend some time in a Mexican jail. Not good for the complexion I hear. Although, do they prosecute nakedness there? You should see the get-ups those cruise ship tourists wear walking down the street! Ee-gads! I was clothed for Mass compared to some of them.

And congrats on the new washer/dryer. Do you feel like a grown up? Welcome to the big leagues, my friend.

JP said...

THIS is what's going to happen to me when Hubby and I go to Mexico...I know it. My only saving grace is that my children and Hubby speak Spanish. If they leave me alone with the family? This white girl is going to have SERIOUS problems!