Ann and I were on one of my frequent photo safaris, this time we were headed to the town of Bokeelia out on Pine Island. It was late afternoon on a dreary day and we had encountered an occasional drop of rain from time to time. It truly was not the best day to be out taking pictures, a fact that was driven home when virtually no interesting photo subjects could be found anywhere. I am guessing most potential targets were a wee bit smarter than us and were all snuggled up in warm, dry places…probably laughing at the idiot with the big camera and rain drops dripping off the end of his nose.
After well over an hour of not clicking the shutter button even a single time, we decided to call it a day and head back to the mainland and our home. I had just started my usual grumbling about returning home without ever taking the first picture, when we rounded a bend in the road and there it was…something so amazing it caused me to slam on the brakes.
Now, for not receiving any warning, I was amazed that Ann, no thanks to me, had managed to keep her head from “kissing” the windshield. I guess my shenanigans don’t surprise her anymore and in self-preservation, she has learned to snug her seatbelt up really, really, tight.
After she had composed herself, Ann started asking to see my wallet. Needless to say, I was totally confused.
“Why do you want to see my wallet?”
“I want to see if you actually have a valid driver’s license, one for real vehicles, not tricycles.”
“You won’t be so sarcastic when you look in that direction…you can apologize later.”
Like me, Ann could not believe what she was seeing, but there they were, right before our very eyes, in living color, live and in person, not a bunch of Disney animatronics…I’m driving you crazy, aren’t I.
I heard rumors about this event in the past, but just wrote them off as someone’s tall tale. However, here it was, right before our eyes, in living…okay, okay, do not get nasty.
It was the annual meeting of the Gull and Tern Society and it was indeed real, not some persons imaginary happening.
I knew I had to get pictures of this, no one will ever believe the rumors are true, let alone that we actually witnessed the event.
I quickly pulled over to the side of the road. Carefully, I opened my door, grabbed my camera and began “stealthily” heading toward the pier using a Brazilian Pepper bush as my cover.
The gathering crowd was huge and I could see a lone Gull standing on a platform above the crowd. The graying feathers on top of his head presented an aura of elderly wisdom, of being in charge. As I watched, he began calling the meeting to order by rapping a rather large clamshell on the dais before him…bang…bang…bang…“I declare this year’s meeting of the Gull and Tern Society to be officially in session. Madam secretary, will you please read the minutes from last year’s meeting”.
And so it went, they slowly began working their way through, and resolving, this year’s agenda items. Even though I had to strain to hear some of the dialog, it was truly an impressive event to witness.
They had just finished dealing with a problem of Society members polluting the dining area waters by banishing two Gulls and a Tern from feeding there for a period of six months, and were about to take up a public relations issue of young Gulls targeting the heads of bald tourists when a problem arose. No, not with the meeting, with me…and no, I did not have to use the bathroom, it was far worse.
As much as I tried to suppress the problem, it was becoming virtually impossible. Up to this point, I had been successful staving it off, but I was starting to feel as though I was about to lose the battle. Just as I thought I might have a slim chance of actually winning the war, the unbelievable happened, AH-CHOO!
OOPS, meeting adjourned. I cowered down behind the Brazilian Pepper bush trying desperately to stay out of sight and that’s when I discovered the cause of the unfortunate incident. The bush I had successfully used to hide my presence, well, that is until I sneezed, was in full bloom.
I waited until the level of panicked screeching had died down before I attempted to make my getaway. Half-crouching, half-running, I made my way back to our vehicle. Once safely inside, I quickly started the engine, slammed the gear selector into drive, and took off.
About half a mile down the road, I pulled over to fasten my seatbelt. That’s when Ann gave me “that look” and said, “Well?”
As I was explaining the turn of events, Ann started laughing. The more I tried to stress how dangerous the situation was, the harder she laughed. In desperation, I made the mistake of saying, “It could have turned into a real life horror story.” That did it, she was now crouched down in her seat laughing so hard, tears were coming from her eyes…and that’s when I knew, yup, it suddenly became crystal clear, I was never going to live this down. Every time there was a gathering of friends or family, Ann was going to relate this story, and each time she did, it would be embellished a wee bit more. UGH, sometimes life is just so unfair.
Another great adventure comes to an end. It doesn’t get any better than this…well, unless you’re talking about finding and photographing the lost city of Atlantis. That might just be a step up from this story.
I guess as we travel the road of life, we can never be really sure which way the road will turn…one thing’s for certain though, sneezes seem to come at the most inopportune times, especially if you have a bad case of diarrhea.
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