I’m snuggled-against-a-puppy warm. Wearing a T-shirt. I’m standing on the Island of Antigua with my lovely wife, and our gigantic cruise ship is anchored in the distance. Avery, who is just a baby and requires more or less constant attention, is on the cruise ship with his grandmother. It’s just me, my wife and my father-in-law Robb. So, it’s not quite romantic in the traditional sense. But it’s fun, and we’ve momentarily escaped our parenting duties. We can be footloose and fancy free on this pristine island.
We’re both thin as rails, and Robb takes pretty pictures of us looking young and fit against idyllic backdrops. We haven’t earned this thinness. We cheated the weight off by going on the Atkins Diet. We eat all the meat and cheese we like. We’ll later discover that this is a really unhealthy diet, and that it’s pretty much impossible to maintain over a lifetime. Any weight we lose on the Atkins diet mercilessly hunts us down in the next few months and finds us no matter where we move. It reattaches itself to us with the persistence of a swarm of leeches. But we’re thin and clueless right now on a pristine island, and life is good.
We eat seafood and stare at the impossibly blue water and the sailboats. Ocean water is supposed to be blue. But I never quite imagined such a light and pleasant shade of blue as this. Jimmy Buffet has a house here somewhere. Of course he does. Why wouldn’t he? I would, if I were him. We’re not precisely sure where. It’s somewhere over there. That’s probably it, we all agree as we look at a big beautiful house in the distance with a great view of the ocean.
We go into a bar. I don’t really drink. Robb, who does drink at this point but will give it up for good later, says we should try the local beer. The local beer is something called Wadadli. It’s cold. We’re all sweating a little bit. In paradise, it’s always a little warm. You sweat, but you don’t mind sweating. But the cold Wadadli in your hand feels good. So, it’s got that going for it right off the bat. And it tastes pretty good. And since I hardly ever drink, it gives me a nice little buzz. You don’t need to get drunk in paradise. Why would you? All you need is a tiny buzz, because you’re already high on life.
Antigua seems to exist only to make picture perfect postcards. You could stand just about anywhere on the island and pose for a lovely picture. We love the island with a simple passion. Maybe we’ll retire to Antigua after we make our fortunes elsewhere. We’ll live next to Jimmy Buffet. “Hi Jimmy,” we’ll say when we pass him on the way to the bar to pick up another cold Wadadli. “Hey there,” he’ll say back as he tips his Wadadli to us in a gesture of warm friendship. We are great friends with Jimmy Buffet and have him over to our house often where he plays music and tells us wonderful stories. Sometimes he has a bit too much to drink, and we have to walk him home to his house. We don’t mind helping him get home even if his legs are rubbery and weak, because he’s Jimmy freaking Buffet.
So, today I am in Antigua with my wife and my father-in-law. And Jimmy Buffet is around here somewhere. I’m in my happy place. I’m holding on hard to it.
I’m definitely not living in New York City in the dead of winter where the temperature is six degrees, and I have to get ready to go to work soon and get Avery ready for school. Robyn is also definitely not on a business trip to Las Vegas, having seen a Beatles version of Cirque Du Soleil last night without me.
I don’t miss her, because she’s right here by my side. We’re sweating a little, but we don’t mind. We’re together on an island paradise, thin and a little buzzed and happy as clams. That’s just all there is to it.