Saturday, June 7, 2008

Tales from Mexico: The D.S. Chronicles

I don't think it would surprise anyone if I admitted that, along with being obsessed with feces, my friends Katy and Matt are also obsessed with being, well, sort of mean. They like to mock. They are mockers. They are spring-loaded with sarcasm. They can cut a person down in a hot second just by finding and exploiting that person's insecurities. This is often how they show love. If, for example, you decide to divulge to them--your dear, dear friends!--how insecure you are about that barely-there patch of dark hair in the small of your back (a thing you have taken to calling your "mammal patch"), you can be sure that the first time you zip down to your bathing suit in front of them, they're going to raise their voices to Carry over the Ocean Wind Volume and ask you--and the rest of the beach--how that hairy mammal patch is doing.

This is how they love. This is also how they entertain themselves and anyone they are with.

When you're staying at an all-inclusive resort, you tend to run into the same people over and over again. The Boy From Work and I, after we'd taken a day-long excursion to the town of Tequila, where real tequila is fermenting round-the-clock, kept running into one of the couples from our hotel who joined us on that tour. We were at the ocean at the same time. We were at the steak restaurant at the same time. We were eating crepes in the gourmet restaurant at the same time. We were using the swim-up bar at the same time. They were our shadows, but they weren't the only ones.

On one of our first nights in Mexico, we were drinking at the open-air theater and waiting for the night's show to begin. A few minutes before the lights dimmed, a few minutes before the sketchily talented performers loped onto stage to perform a number called Latin Fun! or Broadway-Broadway-Broadway! or International Delight!, two blond girls came into the theater and sat a few tables away from us.

One of the girls was sour-faced and bored-looking. She looked about as fun as a visit to the gynecologist. Her friend, though, was twitchy and giggly and goosey. She had a long fall of curly blond hair and a short dress. She looked like a good candidate for a Girls Gone Wild video.

We might not have thought much of them after that had the twitchy-giggly-goosey one not gotten called up to the stage in the nightly presentation of awards. The entertainment directors played all sorts of goofy games at the pool during the day, and this girl had apparently won one of them. She was the only person who had showed up to collect her prize, and so she wandered toward the stage looking lost and confused. She shuffled like she was wearing slippers, like she was really enjoying her stay at the Whispering Oaks Rest Home.

"What's wrong with her?" I asked.

We all narrowed our eyes and watched her navigate the stairs up to the stage.

"Oh my God," Matt whispered. "I think she's--you know--special."

"Oh, no she is not," I said.

"Matt!" Katy said.

"No, seriously," he said. "She looks like she has Down Syndrome or something."

"Matt!" Katy said.

"Matt!" I said.

"What?" he asked. "She does!"

"That's just mean," I said, "and untrue."

And that's when the Boy From Work chimed in. "She does look like she has Down Syndrome," he said.

"BFW!" I said.

"BFW!" Katy said.

"Look at her face," Matt said. "Look!"

I looked. The girl was pretty. She was thin, tall, and appropriately dressed for a Mexican vacation with her sour-faced best friend. Her hair would make any girl jealous. She was a little chunky in the teeth area, though. "She's a little horsey in the tooth," I said, "but that's it. She's really cute, Matt!"

"Down Syndrome," he said.

And what she did next didn't really support my position. The girl accepted her award from the entertainment director and stood there, staring straight out into the audience with vacant eyes and a look that, in a movie about a mental institution, would've been accompanied by a long curve of drool. She didn't move until the entertainment director and his compatriots tried leading her in a special Award Winner Dance, which she herky-jerkied through as she tried to get her friend's attention by wave-wave-waving in her direction.

"See?" Matt asked.

"She's FINE," I said.

Still, that girl became our shadow for the rest of the trip. She and her bored-looking friend went everywhere we went. They were at the buffet, the ocean, the pool, the theater, the bar exactly when we were. And every time Matt saw her, he'd jerk his head in her direction and say, "D.S. is here!"

D.S. was short for Down Syndrome.

D.S. really was a normal, pretty girl, but she was suffering from a little bit of Blond Syndrome. We figured that out during karaoke night (which the Boy From Work suffered bravely through) when D.S. clomped up to stage to sign up for a song while Sour Puss rolled her eyes and drank her pina colada. D.S. chose to sing the YMCA, which was a pretty bad choice on her part. Turns out she didn't really know the words--except, of course, the chorus. When she realized she wasn't an expert on the sagely words of the YMCA, she did what she could: she shimmied and galloped around the stage. She tossed her hair. She performed some gangly moves that Christina Aguilera might have thrown down if she wasn't, you know, a trained dancer.

Still, D.S. was the highlight of the night. When the guy who had signed up to sing last at karaoke night didn't show, the entertainment director called D.S. back up on stage to do another song. She looked a little stricken at first, but she shrugged her shoulders and called for Genie in a Bottle, which, it turns out, she didn't really know the words to either. But you know what? I kind of liked her. She was willing to do everything I wouldn't do. There was no way in hell you could've paid me enough money to get up in front of that half-drunk crowd and sing something, even if I have been working up the nerve to get up and do Ashlee Simpson's Pieces of Me since the song came out during grad school. But the effervescent D.S. got up there and did two numbers, just to please the crowd, which was hooting and shrieking with every stilted movement she threw down.

There was a sort of delight that ran through our group every time we ran into D.S. and S.P. They were always doing something a little bizarre, a little blond, a little ditzy. In fact, I once passed D.S. on the way to the bathroom and she had cornered a set of complete strangers--sweet old ladies who were clutching their flowered beach bags close--and she was telling them, "You know, people have asked me why I'm not getting more wild down here, but I told them, 'What do I look like? Some skank from Girls Gone Wild?'"

And the old ladies nodded their heads furiously and I thought, Oh, honey. Yes, yes, yes. You do. But I so would've gotten drunk with her any day of the week.

1 comment:

Jason said...

One more piece of evidence that karaoke is a crime against humanity.

Funny story, though.