He's right! Today the answers do not require too much thinking: the coffee will come from a steaming urn on the flight attendant's cart, and I will die when the tiny airplane goes crashing down over the Caribbean. Mode of Disaster is obvious on travel days. Yesterday it was the little sinking boat that took us seven miles from the little island to the big island. I'm still not sure how it managed to not flip and trap and drown us all; it was nothing short of a miracle.
She looks at me expectantly. And here is my dilemma.
If I drink the coffee, vastly preferable over the alcohol, I will remain awake and alert for the duration of the flight. My anxiety will increase, but so will my ability to save myself, and Dave, and maybe even a few others, when the plane starts to go down. I've read that if you're planning on surviving any sort of vessel disaster, you have to be on your guard, hyperaware, thinking one step ahead of the game. Also, wear non-synthetic pants, like jeans.
If I drink that cup of rum, on the other hand, I'll be much more relaxed and maybe even enjoy the ride. But in the event of catastrophe, the one that's always lurking on the horizon for me and everybody I love and care about, I'll be useless. And then if we do land, somehow, the way the sinking boat miraculously pulled up to the harbor at big corn island, I'll be so sickly from all that Flor De Cana, it might ruin the rest of the day.
If there is a rest of the day. There's always the cab ride into the city to consider. The state department's online warning assured me that if we take the cheap cabs, the ones across the street from the airport, I will be held at knife point, made to empty my bank account in maximum daily allotments from the ATM, and then abandoned on the side of the road, if I'm lucky.
And we always take the cheap cabs.
Today, I take all of this into consideration, and then I decide to be brave. I ask for the coffee.
I take a little sip of the coffee. It's sweet, ridiculously, unbelievably sweet, as if a brick of sugar has been melted into the pot. -You're not going to drink it, are you? Asks Dave. I shake my head. He's not surprised. He calls me 'The starter' because of my propensity to take a few sips of drinks- juice, coffee, beer- and then forget about them.
He's a 'Finisher.' He won't let anything go to waste, and this morning he finishes his rum and my saccharin coffee. I call it a Nicaraguan Speed Ball. He's in a great mood when, against every odd, we land without incident.
Then we go a block away to get the cheap cab. It will save us ten dollars, the equivalent of about fifteen fresh juices. I weigh the idea of all that juice against the State Department's warning. We get in the cab. The driver is chewing on a match in a menacing way. He has a scar on his face. Dave is speaking to him in spanish which I can't understand. If their whole conversation had been about which fresh fruit would make a lovely jugo, I'd understand. But it's not. We're way past juice and we're going to be robbed and kidnapped.
I lean my face against the window and try to spot significant landmarks to that I can find my way back to the airport after we've been abandoned by the side of the Oriental Market. The state department warned me about that place, too. I see seven glowing cardboard trees and an untold number of Chavez posters.
What luck that we survived another one of the cheap cabs! I am met with an unnatural burst of energy and enthusiasm. For Dave, he's thinking -We're at the hotel. Nice. And I'm thinking, -We made it! We beat the odds! We're alive Thanks GOD! Life is a grand adventure and for the next twelve hours we will be safe (enough) inside this hotel, let's spring for an air conditioner tonight! VIVA NICARAGUA!
My anxiety makes me a wildly imaginative and immeasurably fun traveling companion. But I think that's obvious.