I’ve been planning and saving money to go visit Malta for two years before I was able to afford the adventure. Most people will tell you that anticipation is half the fun of the adventure, and they’re usually right. I was mentally on vacation each time I checked out a rental, or planned which sites to visit, museums to frequent, food I had to eat, wineries I needed to stop by. In my head the vacation was already epic.
If I tell you the trip peaked in the executive Delta lounge at the Seattle airport, you should know I’m only half joking.
Sidenote: Honestly, the executive Delta lounge is a dream lounge. If you know someone who has a lot of air miles under their belt, travel with them just for this privilege. It felt exactly like being a wealthy snob in an 80s movie. That is to say it felt like the kind of rich indulgence that middle class people imagine goes on in exclusive places. They piped in classical music, the seats were spacious, leather, and private. An attendant walked around with a tray of freshly made complimentary smoothies. The water was infused. I spent about an hour giggling because I’d seen The Blues Brothers the night before and just wanted to turn to an old man and say, “sell me your children.” Seriously, watch the clip.
Fast forward to Malta and my friend trying to roll a bag broken by impatient handlers through several parking lots in weather about ten degrees warmer and a billion times more humid than anticipated. And it started to feel like another kind of 80s movie. Things went from sweaty to unfortunate after a glass-shattering misunderstanding at our rental, a canceled reservation for the last leg of our trip in London, and a busybody landlady.
We were only on day two.
The fourth day we were bound and determined to go out and be tourists. Come sweat or high water. I was walking down a flight of stairs and I stepped wrong. I don’t know how exactly, but I fell down about five or six stone steps, bruised my arm, hip, and lightly sprained my knee.
When you’re lying in bed, knee swelling, it’s very difficult not to get ahead of yourself.
Mentally I was trying to figure out how I was going to walk down the two flights of stairs to leave the rental. How was I going to sit in a car if I couldn’t bend my leg? The plane? Go to London? Would my friends have to carry me everywhere? What kind of vacation is that for any of us?
And of course, all the money I spent to get here and I would be spending the bulk of that time…in bed. In bed! I could have just done this at home for a lot cheaper and with less inconvenience. Why hadn’t I just stayed home?
Self recriminations follow once you have enough guilt built-up. I’d know the stairs would be tricky, had already had that conversation with myself once in the previous days. Why had I gotten so cocky as to think I could take stairs like a regular person?? Once you work yourself into a fine state of panic it’s very hard to come back down.
Thankfully I’ve had enough accidents of minorly crippling proportion to look back on to remind myself that premature panic is useful for nothing. It mostly worked. Maltese Netflix also did wonders (one of my guilty pleasures when traveling is experiencing shows and movies that aren’t streaming in the U.S. Who cares about seeing the sights when you can catch up on Brooklyn 99 abroad, right?)
It wasn’t the vacation I’d planned, and not remotely the vacation I’d wanted. But I’m a firm believer that God’s got a sense of humor. So I’m taking the proverb painted on the stairs outside our rental as a sign of that divine mirth that has become a sort of life hallmark; and perennial encouragement: no rain, no flowers.