I’ll begin by saying my children would have been ashamed of me. Like the little kitten on the Warner Brother’s cartoon who kept watching his father get pummeled by what they supposed was a huge mouse (a kangaroo), the disappointed kitten kept sighing, “Oh, father.”

But what I allowed to happen to me was not only fun, it was memorable, healthy, and, yes, a bit odd.

My idea of a vacation is a remote cabin in the Rockies surrounded by my family and fly-fishing opportunities. My wife’s idea of a vacation is a cruise ship touring the Caribbean with three thousand of her closest friends, twenty five hundred of which are squealing children who stand with their mouths open under the ice cream machine like it’s a water faucet at the park.

Our recent vacation took us to St. Kitts, where we decided to battle our way outside of port through the constant assault of people wanting to sell us taxi rides, tours, time shares, rum, tickets to a cricket match, pirate booty and photos with their monkeys.  I almost caved in on the monkeys, but my wife was resolute so we made it through the gauntlet of hucksters so we could meander through the narrow city streets of 16th century towns instead of being robbed by “off shore excursions.”

Upon return to the shopping area in the port, we decided to sit in the shade and people-watch; an activity that is both inexpensive and entertaining.

aloe vera

Aloe Vera Leaves

A native Kittitian approached speaking in Creole, which is a mixture of several different languages. He had a little white bucket with a lid and on the lid were aloe Vera leaves about eight inches long. He began to speaking and making hand gestures, pointing first at me then at the bucket of leaves. I managed to understand every ninth word that was in English, but by his gestures, I deduced he wanted to rub the aloe vera leaves on my head and face.

I would have nothing of it. Then my wife intervened; she has more fun tickets than I do.  She was able to understand his gibberish better than me and heard him promise one magical treatment would make me look ten years younger. She asked if two treatments would make me look twenty years younger.

Because I’m the kind of husband that will do darn near anything to please his wife, I acquiesced and the treatment began.  First he rubbed my head with the medicinal plant; I was nervous. Then he rubbed my face; it felt very good.  He had a happy customer’s wife and put on a show smearing the pulp all over my face, neck, hands and arms.Massage

Now, mind you, we were in the middle of a very busy shopping area so this strange masseuse was being performed right in front of God and everybody.  But my wife kept encouraging him, he kept rubbing, and I began enjoying it.

It’s amazing what you can enjoy if you quit worrying about what people think of you

Because I quit worrying about what people – total strangers mind you- were thinking about me, I was able to:

      • Enjoy a unique experience that I will remember with far more pleasantries than the ridiculously expensive excursions that are almost always disappointing
      • Enjoy a quite delightful medicinal skin treatment- my skin felt very good for several hours after than even though I smelled kind of funny
      • Enjoy my wife having a good time watching it all unfold. She’s always looking for an adventure and me getting an open-air body rub gave her great mirth

Who knows, maybe the next fun thing you allow yourself to experience might require you quit worrying about what people think of you. A pretty fair trade, I’d say.

Simeon and me

Simeon and me

What recent experience has taught you to quit worrying so much about what people think of you?