I crammed a mini vacation into last weekend and, against all odds, had a damn good time doing so.
My journey started Friday afternoon when Erin and I set out for what should have been a 4-hour drive to the coast. We were on our way from Charlotte to Edisto Island to spend the weekend at Jen’s Maw Maw’s house. It would be nothing but wine and sand and good food and girl things, if only we could get there.
Sailing was smooth until a torrential downpour opened up somewhere outside Columbia causing one hell of a pile up that left us crawling down I-26. We covered 15 miles in 2 hours. I blacked out somewhere along the way and came to when we found a Dairy Queen on the other side of the accident.
The rain only got worse the closer we got to the island and our dinner arrival time got later and later as we crawled our way through the low country. It was all black marsh and hanging moss intermittently illuminated with lightning. If I’d been alone I would have been crying, but instead we hung on John Tesh’s every word.
We did eventually make it, of course, and were greeted with a curry cous-cous feast and two bottles of wine. Again, necessary.
The next morning we set out for the beach. It’s not like me but I dropped my towel and headed straight for the water–first one in and farthest one out. I never do that.
When I called to tell my mom I got stung by a jellyfish she said, “That’s weird. What were you doing in the water?”
Since I was little I’ve been afraid of the ocean. I used to sit on the edge watching my dad and sister like a hawk to make sure submerged heads always resurfaced. Deep sea and outer space are my biggest fears. Something about the expanse and the lack of oxygen. You’d just disappear.
Anyway, my friends took note of my bolder than usual beach behavior. “I’m so proud of you!” Erin, the resident mom gushed since my usual mantra around water is: CATS DON’T SWIM. We hadn’t been in the water ten minutes when I get stung. I knew what it was immediately and made my way to the shore.
I’ve watched my sister get stung by jellyfish a million times. She loves swimming and is always in the ocean, an easy target. I writhed around on the sand trying not to make too big of a scene and scare the kids around us. My leg was on fire. In all our infinite medical wisdom, my friends and I medicated me with a strong rum drink and returned to our tanning.
A few minutes later another girl came running out of the water–victim numero dos. She and her boyfriend walked over to offer up their vinegar, took one look at my leg and said, “Oh shit.”
Turns out mine wasn’t a jellyfish. It was a Portuguese man of war. And here I was thinking all jellyfish stings just look that hideous. I was later informed they aren’t normally found around here but that storms were bringing the little bastards up the coast from Florida. Thanks, jerks.
It took about two hours for the pain to subside, but I was drunk enough to require only a basket of french fries to carry on with the rest of the day.
Later that night the girls confessed they were plotting out how to best pee on me when it all went down. That’s real friendship.
The tale is, of course, dramatic as told here, but it was really more hilarious than anything. And the rest of the trip was smooth sailing. Puppies, pizza, tacky souvenir shops.
I still have my wound, but I do kind of think it makes me look like a badass (and/or like I have varicose veins). And I’m happy to report that we made it home in 3 hours thanks to my race car driving skills.
I will quite literally never get in the ocean again, but if I do at least my dad has my back.