things learned on a mayan riviera vacation

1. Lots of people really don’t care how they look in a bathing suit. Like, REALLY don’t care. They wear bikini tops that are too large or bottoms that are too small or Speedos you can barely see. They walk around shirtless with splotchy sunburns on their chests, or they walk around topless with their boobs hanging out. While you’re sitting there in your beach lounger in a tankini top that hides your stomach and boy-short bottoms that cover your butt, suntanned octogenarians shuffle past in string bikinis. They don’t give a shit.

You find it reassuring. Not because you enjoy looking at stranger boobs, but because you like knowing that there are people out there who aren’t as ashamed of their imperfect bodies as American advertising wants them to be. You like that other people aren’t as burdened with self-consciousness as you are. Maybe one day you’ll stop giving a shit, too.

2. Your tendency to wake up at 5 o’clock in the morning can be fixed by getting exercise. Seriously, get some exercise. No, seriously.
Also, your recent heartburn episodes are from a thing you didn’t eat much of in Mexico, and that thing is cheese.

3. White liberal guilt is not a myth. You are white, liberal, AND a former waitress, so you tip all the service people at the resort like crazy. When you’re not tipping like crazy, you’re wondering if the service people are genuinely friendly or if they’re just good at hiding their contempt for all the damn tourists.

You would not be good at hiding your contempt for all the damn tourists.

4. You also spend time speculating about the personal lives of the waiters and waitresses you meet at the resort. Does Silvino have a wife and kids? Where does Arsenio live? When Claudia gets home from work, does she refuse to cook eggs because that’s what she has to do all damn day and if she has to look at another fucking egg she’s going to scream?

5. As your friend Dusty says, the ocean may as well be outer space for how vast and unfamiliar it is. As you say to your sister and brother-in-law when you surface after your first official scuba dive, “There’s a lot of shit down there, you guys.”

6. To do long exposures when it’s pitch dark outside, raise your F-stop really high and turn off the auto focus. Shots with the moon in them will take 20-30 seconds, and shots without the moon in them will take up to 90.  If you can’t find a makeshift tripod, the ground works just fine.

7. Traveling is your psyche’s bread and butter. You are rarely happier, more relaxed, or more inspired. You knew this already, but it’s nice to be reminded.


Sharlee: My trashy romance book is getting really interesting. The main character just got a dildo to put up her hoo-ha and get rid of her maidenhood.

Dusty: Is it a period piece?

I laughed so hard I nearly spit my beer out into the ocean.

big brass tejones

What’s up, party people? Long time no talk. Here are some things that have happened.

1. A series of circumstances have resulted in my being unemployed. Longtime readers of this site will recall that this is not the first time I’ve ever been unemployed. But it is the first time I’ve become unemployed suddenly after four years at a job. So that’s different.

I spent those four years doing web design work in a pretty traditional office, an office I will now cite as one of the reasons for the absence of posts on this site. Bluishorange is the first result in a Google search for “Alison Headley,” and working in a large conservative office in a position that was not particularly low-profile meant that there were a lot of things I felt I couldn’t talk about. It’s not anyone’s particular fault, and truthfully nobody at work ever mentioned this site to me. But some of my coworkers might have read it, etc etc.

In a way, I sort of felt like I was lying to myself. Or lying about myself, or something like that. As my (awesome) former boss said to me, “Bluishorange is something you’ve had for so long that it’s a part of who you are. To live a life where you can’t do it is wrong somehow.”

And she’s right. I’ve nearly always been able to talk about whatever I want here, and I’m almost sure that that won’t change with whatever I decide to do next.

Almost. What if I become a spy or join the foreign service? Shut up, it could totally happen.

2. I’m currently in Cancun, on a vacation I booked and paid for before said unemployment occurred. It feels weird to be going on vacation from nothing, but I love to travel so I’m not complaining. We’re here for the 30th birthday of a friend who deserves nothing less than to have his milestone celebrated on vacation with a bunch of his friends. Happy birthday, Dusty! Hope your 30th year is much better than mine was.

We got here (where here is an all-inclusive resort-type thing that isn’t usually my style, but again, not complaining) last night just as the sun was setting. On the golf-cart ride to our rooms, we passed these little animals I’d never seen before. They were about the size of Maude, and they looked like some sort of rodent-marsupial-anteater hybrid. The driver told us they were called tejones, which I was able to remember because it rhymes with cojones. I’m going to look those animals up later.

Then late last night after dinner and drinks and some time on the beach, my sister and her husband and I walked past a palm tree, and out of nowhere a coconut fell out of it and hit the ground with a THUD. I thought that only happened in commercials.

In October I became a certified scuba diver, so I’m planning on doing lots of that while we’re here.

3. At the moment I’m sitting on the balcony of my hotel room, watching the sun rise over the Caribbean. It’s 5:30 a.m., and I’ve been awake since 4 despite having gone to bed at midnight. This is a new thing I do these days. Ariel calls it the freelancer’s alarm clock, where you wake up suddenly in the dark, thinking about money. I might call it the money alarm instead, since I’m not currently a freelancer per se, and “money alarm” sounds cooler.

At any rate, I wake up every day by 6 or 7 a.m., regardless of what time I went to bed, and despite not having anywhere to be in the morning. Maybe I’m getting old, maybe I’m in the final stages of becoming my father. I don’t know. It kind of sucks.

But I think it’ll be to my advantage here. I came out to the balcony at 4:30, took some long exposures of the waves crashing on the beach in the dark, and now that the sun’s up I’m going to go for a walk. Not many people will be up, so I can pretend I’m not surrounded by a bunch of entitled American vacationers like myself. Maybe the tejones will be out.

I’ll see you later.