A long time ago, (my twenties) in a galaxy far away (New Orleans), I went on a girls’ trip. We spent a week in the Big Easy like a troupe of vampires carousing at night, and sleeping through the day. Because, of course, we’d been out all night. I’ve thought a lot about that trip from thirty odd years ago because I recently returned from a similar one. Similar only in that it was comprised of my female friends, now, all in our fifties.
The fun of the trip circa early 90’s started with the first outing in the French Quarter. We took pictures of each other being handcuffed by the policeman patrolling the Quarter on his horse.
We walked the streets with open beer cans hidden inside a pink rubber koozie disguised as a treasured piece of the male anatomy. When our favorite bar opened promptly at midnight, we were in the front of a line that snaked downstairs in to a dungeon, with cells, and bloodied mannequins. Women in S & M outfits served us more beer so we’d be drunk enough to dance to AC/DC; disco had made dancing extremely uncool then. It was an inexpensive trip because we lived off Coors lite and cigarettes. One of the ubiquitous novelty shops provided the “eau de fart” perfume that I sprayed in my sister’s hair resulting in her clingy affair with the toilet all night. Still funny. Don’t feel sorry for her, she wasn’t the innocent…it was payback.
My first day back at work I had to take a nap in my car on my lunch break. Any trip that didn’t conclude with scratches down the side of the rental car would have been deemed lackluster.
Details of what happened on that girls’ trip to New Orleans are fuzzy for several reasons, none of which are due to the passing of time. The pictures were destroyed so there was no chance of them destroying a job opportunity or a run for political office. Those pictures, as staged as they were, would be hard to explain to teenaged children who would invariably use them as ammunition. “Well, at least I wasn’t arrested in New Orleans,” blah blah blah.
This is the most controversial picture from our recent girls’ trip to Vancouver.
We ate during the day and slept at night. By now either married, divorced, or widowed, our restaurant reservations drove our decision-making. The highlight of the trip was a rafting tour to spot eagles. The Squamish Rafting Company did all the heavy lifting. Squamish, British Columbia is the “Eagle Capital of the World.” Eagles from Alaska fly down and winter along the river. There were hundreds.
Interesting side note, eagles mate for life. The male and female go to different locations over the winter in order to increase the odds that at least one of them survives the winter and can make the trip back in the spring.
I’ve got several bad pictures to share with ya’ll.
A guide about twelve years old did all the work. We looked like a bunch of two-year olds decked out in so much gear we couldn’t bend our arms or legs. Falling out of the boat would have meant sure death as the weight of all the stuff designed to keep us warm and dry would have anchored us at the bottom. Good thing the river was only about two feet deep.
The eagles watched as we went by. We were their only entertainment on the river that day.
I returned home from this trip plumped and fluffed as we had eaten our way through the city. Now more like locusts than vampires. When we weren’t eating, we were planning our next meal. We slept at night, and worked out in the morning before the day started.
This trip made me drop to my knees, sing praises, and thank Sweet Jesus that I have hit the timeframe I feared the most when I was younger.
The dreaded and often maligned menopausal era.
Menopause is the natural way to be sidelined. No more hormones wasted on tight skin and a smooth, undimpled butt. I knew I’d hit it when my back fat needed a bra. But here’s the thing. I’m thrilled. Mother Nature’s way of easing the transition maybe.
Mother Nature has developed a way to determine if the eagles are still vital enough to mate. The eagles, when they reunite with their mates, fly high in the sky, and lock their talons in what’s called a “Death Spiral.” Unable to fly, they plummet toward the ground, their talons hooked together. If they are able to let each other loose without crashing in to the ground first, she deems them “healthy” and able to mate. Survival of the fittest in every sense of it.
Mother Nature has dictated that my friends and I are no longer necessary in the propagation of our species so she lets us decline. We no longer have the energy to stay out all night for a week straight, and more to the point, that doesn’t sound like fun anymore. Those among us who are eligible bachelorettes have reached the “take it or leave it” stage of life. Unlike our twenties, we are unwilling to change for anyone who won’t take us in our current form, whatever that is, and we are happy to reciprocate.
My twenty-five-year-old self would have rolled her eyes in disgust at our Instagram picture showing us bundled up beneath the rowing sign, not a beer in sight. Not a “finstagram” picture among us. (The “Fake instagram” account all of our kids have, where they post what’s really going on in their lives. You don’t know about it because they use an alias. Offspring #2 has one and her nickname is horrifying. Offspring #1 hasn’t fessed up to having one)
Here’s what the trip to Vancouver made me realize. The hard part of climbing the corporate ladder, raising kids, and losing parents is now behind me, tucked in between those trips. All the insecurities of my twenties and thirties are now in the rear view mirror. Now I can relax in the knowledge that the only people I care to please are my grandchildren.