Saturday, March 20, 2010

one foot in the gravy

Richard Weaver was correct.  Ideas Have Consequences.

So do adventures.

I drove up to Puerto Vallarta on Wednesday afternoon to meet some friends arriving on a cruise ship.  I had almost forgotten how deserted the road between Melaque and Puerto Vallarta can be on a normal day.

For good reason.  Even though it is the only major north-south road in the area, it runs through sparsely-populated rural countryside.  It reminds me of driving through eastern Oregon.

And I drove as I once drove in eastern Oregon.  Speed has no limit.  As it turned out, I may have been fortunate not to have my reflexes tested.

I had not been in Puerto Vallarta for a few months -- and the last trip, I was acting as a capital T Tourist.

My agenda was light.  Stop at Costco.  Eat a nice meal.  Go ziplining.

I decided to put Costco off until Friday -- on my way out of town.  But I was looking forward to that good meal on Thursday night. 

I duded myself up in my Guy on the Town outfit and headed out to make a name for myself in my favorite Mexican resort city.

I even took my credit card along -- simply because I can use it in Puerto Vallarta.  And I brought along my debit card -- because I needed to get pesos for gasoline on the return trip.

Having learned my lesson about putting all of my financial eggs in one basket (when I lost my wallet last July), I put the cards in a separate area from my wallet.

I crossed the street to Walmart to use my debit card -- only to discover it was not where I put it.  Neither was the credit card.  A quick retreat to the hotel room revealed they were not there, either.

You may recall the last time this happened, my debit card is my sole source of cash in Mexico.  Without it, I am effectively as poor as the beggar woman in front of the grocery store.

But, I was not worried.  I have some cash on hand -- probably enough to last until I get back to The States -- if nothing expensive happens.

That put my trips to the highlands in question.  It would be a tight-run thing.

But I was in Puerto Vallarta for fun -- and I was going to have it.  I may not be able to afford a fancy dinner, but I could have fun ziplining.

My friends arrived right on time to start our adventure the next morning.  And we were on our way.

If you have not ziplined, imagine you are in a parachute harness attached to a pulley.  The pulley is attached to a cable strung across a gulch, ravine, or stream.  You then let gravity pull you across the scenery -- to alight like Peter Pan on the other side.

Some of the lines are very high and long  -- where speeds of 30 or 40 miles per hour are possible.

We had a great day of yelling, screaming, and laughing in death's face.  Maybe too much fun with that laughter.

On the longest line -- the second to last -- the guides made it very clear to keep the legs up as high as possible to our chests.

The reasons were obvious.  Curled up like that, a zipliner can build up enough speed to rival a bullet train.  Well, at least, an Amtrak train.

The other reason is safety.  Putting your feet down on the platform at that speed is an invitation to a nickname like Hop-Along.

Well, just call me Hop-Along.

I came hurtling down that line, approaching the platform as if I were on a strafing run.  I attempted to use the approved braking method.  But it was obvious I was going to collide with the catcher guide.  Of course, that is his job.

I instinctively lowered my right foot.  Bad instinct.  I still crashed into the guide.  But it was apparent something was wrong.

My knee was facing forward.  But my right fot was stuck out at one of those angles not found in nature.

I calmy (Really.  This is not bravado.) informed the guide: "I broke my ankle."  When he did not respond, I repeated myself.  By then everyone else was trying to get me to lie down.

There are some other gruesome details you do not need to read.  Satisfy it to say, I am writing this post from a hospital bed in Puerto Vallarta following a two-hour surgery to reconstruct my ankle.

And this is where the loss of the credit card adds another layer to this drama of woe.  I am negotiating payment as I write.

So, here I sit in the hospital, my truck in the disco parking lot where we were picked up for ziplining, and no credit or debit card with me.

But there are always friends ready to shoulder part of the burden.  One of the men from my church has volunteered to ride the bus to Puerto Vallarta and drive me back to Melaque in my truck -- assuming it is still where I left it.

My highland trips are off until the end of the year and I may head north a little earlier than I had planned.

It will all turn out well in the end.  It always does.


KIRSTEN said...

OH my gosh. I AM so sorry. Now is the time to let your friends help you out. I will stay tuned for updates.

Alan said...

Steve, Romans 8:28 comes to mind. You will be in my prayers as you recoup from this non-WC injury. Sorry I see no way for this to be work related, but then you are a creative thinker!

Laurie said...

Nice legs! All you need now is a pedicure. Seriously my condolences on your misadventures. I tried ziplining when I was in Ixtapa last summer, and I didn't like it. I stopped after a a few gentle rides, and my friend kept on without me.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry about your injury. Hope you are feeling better.

Calypso said...

Amigo! There are some activities that are better left to the young - you found one.

Get well soon and stay off skate boards too.

Chrissy y Keith said...

Well, you will have lots of material to write about now. Like how you cards made off without you. Do you recall when they might have been taken?

Gloria said...

Ouch!! Sorry Steve. Seems like you have been having all sorts of mishaps since you've been there. I hope things start looking up for you soon and very soon. My goodness. Breaking an ankle is not a party. Peaceful recovery to you. Take care.

Al said...

Sorry to hear about your accident. If your mom is like mine, she'll say, "Act your age." I hope you have a TV handy so you can watch the last of the health care debacle.

- Mexican Trailrunner said...

Aw, take good card of yourself. What a great story you'll have to tell tho. . . Most break their ankle slipping off a curb, you, however, can say you did it flying through the jungle canopy and crash landing! Waaaaay better.

Tancho said...

Well...I know I won't say you should have known better but I won't do that!
I won't say that you should have acted your age and understand that there are certain things that and old fart like you should not try to do anymore especially since the old body is not as flexible as a 20 year old.
I also won't mentioned that at our age your mind tells you that "No problem" we can handle anything, since we have so much bestowed wisdom .
And I won't say that it takes a lot longer for bones to heal at the advancing age, ( Main reason I didn't go out an buy a Harley a few years ago).
And I also won't mention that you should have besides plan B,C and D a few more alternates to the missing debit and credit cards.
But I will say that I hope that you recuperate fast so you can hurry back down and go running with the bulls in Calypso country later this year, but I know that you will be in Oregon enjoying the "safe" life....
Get well Amigo, and keep on living life doing wacky things...I admire that!

Billie said...

Ah, so this is the reason you were commenting on my blog from a hospital bed in PV. All I can say is that you really know how to do things up right. But don't let that stop you. Live life to the fullest!

Steve Cotton said...

Kirsten -- Times like this allow us to enjoy the richness of friendship. And I am.

Alan -- Thank you for the verse. And you are correct, this bill is out of my pocket.

Laurie -- I love ziplining. I suspect my stupidity will not stop me from doing it again. After all, I need to keep those nice legs in shape.

Francisco -- I am feeling better. But I will feel much better when this cast comes off.

Steve Cotton said...

Calypso -- My brother gave me the same skateboard warning. I almost tried one last week in Melaque. This tale could have come a few days earlier.

Chrissy y Keith -- I think I simply dropped the cards. Nothing else makes sense. Of course, this has been that type of week. But I still have a live computer.

Gloria -- I appreciate the concern. And it is good to see you again.

Mexican Trailrunner -- As I was stretched out in the van on the way to the hospital, I kept thinking this story will make a great post. We bloggers are a bit sick that way.

Tancho -- Thank you for all the comments that needed not saying. All true. But adventure trumps logic far too often. My only concern is that 12 weeks of posts on how my crutches work are not going to be very interesting.

Steve Cotton said...

Billie -- Now that is the type of advice I have been waiting to hear.

Calypso said...

Not to beat up a guy when he's down - honestly amigo living life to the fullest includes managing our involvement in things that stress the body or potentially destroy it - really dude you should give up ziplining - and maybe take up line dancing.

Cruz Azul plays at 5 PM. Do you have a television in there?

Leslie Limon said...

Steve, I'm so sorry about your ankle. And I wish you a speedy recovery. But it does make for interesting blog material.

And yes, we bloggers are a bit sick...when I saw Nick holding that squirrel yesterday, I told him to get it out of the house. But then I stopped him because I couldn't let a great photo op go. :)

Anonymous said...

Beats a closed-head injury by a mile.

Have you thought about how to modify your work attire to accommodate mega-pod alba?


Inmigrante Rentista said...

God (or Santa Muerte) is sending you a message, take heed of it.

Brenda said...

Take care, heal fast.

Nancy said...

Hope you recover quickly... you don't need any "I told you so's" I'm sure. But in my book it's better to be an older dude who is active than an older dude who is laid up!

I'm thinking maybe you need to punch a hole in one edge of your credit cards and string them around your neck like dog tags.

Adrienne said...

Nancy's idea is a great one (don't know if it would invalidate the card), but here's a product that would work as well...I found it on
"Cruise Ship, Beach & Travel Waterproof Credit Card, ID & Paper Money Holder With Lanyard".

Just don't hang yourself on the lanyard ;)

Adrienne on E Street

Steve Cotton said...

Adrienne -- I have something similar from one of my cruises. Good idea.

See you in a few days or weeks.

Steve Cotton said...

Calypso -- If I take up line dancing, you are authorized to shoot me.

Leslie -- Bloggers pray for the incredible. Much better reading.

AMN -- I was considering shorts and sandals for work. I doubt that will meet with unanimous approval.

Inmigrante Rentista -- I hope they are not calling collect. I don't have a card.

Brenda -- My body thanks you for the encouragement.

Nancy -- This is the second time ziplining has cancelled a visit for us. And I like the credit card idea. Adrienne's take may also be a good answer.

Stephanie said...

Golly Steve!! I knew when I was 7 and you were 8, and living across the street, that we'd both do about anything for attention. But I must admit, you win! (Just kidding - sort of) Take care and get better soon. Jim & I enjoyed getting together with you and Colette tremendously and hope that we can do it again soon. And I won't even have a problem being seen with an attorney on crutches. :)

Charles said...

I actually thought about this when you first mentioned the ziplining - two years ago I was with a friend in PV who offered to pay for my trip if I would try it - no deal - even after several shots of Herradura! Take care, Steve - as I recall from my broken ankle several years back - bathing or showering becomes a herculean task -

Larry Prater said...

Steve, so sorry, I hope your ankle heals well. Not a fun way to spend time in PV. Remember Morelos. You would like it here, I think.

cwilson284 said...

Steve: I broke my ankle nine weeks ago while cross-country skiing. I didn't need surgery, but I've been on crutches and in a boot, which I hope will be removed on Tuesday. I sincerely feel your pain and hope all is well.

Steve Cotton said...

Steph -- Nothing changes. No matter how old we get. You can see my cool cast when I get up to Oregon next month.

Charles -- Showering was not too difficult this morning. I have a plastic chair in the shower that lets me keep my right foot out. A little like a damp hokie pokie.

Larry -- I will keep Morelos in mind. Thanks.

Cwilson284 -- The inconvenience factor has been the biggest problem, so far. Now I need to deal with the decision of maintaining treatment down here or coming north sooner.

Steve Cotton said...

Al -- (Sorry I missed answering this earlier.) My mother passed on no recriminations. Instead, she offered to fly down to play the role of professional care-giver.

Irene said...

Ouch! You'll do anything for a good story. Hope everything knits together the way it should. Take care. Spring has come to Oregon, the tulips blooming and the roses aren't too far behind.

Steve Cotton said...

Irene -- I will, indeed. I am looking forward to the roses -- and walking around to smell them, maybe even stopping.

Babs said...

Well, I've been out of touch and look what happens. Good Grief.

Hang in there - sorry for the pun.
Sooooooo disappointed you're not going to get over here before you leave.

Darn. Take care.