Chasing lily pads
"Well, what did you do today?" Dan asked me, as he does everyday when he enters the apartment after work. But the question which normally resulted in dull, conversation-ending answer--a "fine," "okay," or "not bad"--last week gave way to a more provocative answer.
"Emily and I went chasing lily pads," I responded. Dan's sister had come to visit us over the weekend, leaving me to seek out every moderately creative, intriguing, or mildly entertaining activity our mid-sized Texas town had to offer. I learned that near downtown was a water lily exhibit--apparently an internationally renowned water lily exhibit, at least according to the sign:
The problem was, when Dan's sister and I arrived at the scene, we soon realized that our lily pad adventure would not live up to the stories we had sketched. We had saved the lilies for the very end of Emily's trip. All weekend we spoke of the lily pads: "We can't forget to see the lilies." "We'll make sure that we fit the exhibit in before she leaves." "All the locals say that it really is pretty impressive, after all, so it must be worth seeing." We had decided to see the water lilies on our way to the airport, before I dropped Emily off for her flight. Yet several minutes into our drive in and out unmarked and unfinished roads and after weaving through construction cone after construction cone, I knew that Google maps had led me astray once again. Between Google map's gross inaccuracies and my own navigational ineptitude, we held little chance of ever making it to the exhibit. Oh, and since Emily's flight would depart in a little more than an hour, we had about ten minutes to figure out where we were going.
Fortunately, Dan's GPS had never made it from the glove compartment to the apartment, so we soon plugged the address into the device and set on our way. Except the address I remembered did not appear in the GPS. And we somehow were missing the power adaptor, so the miniature computer needed to guide us safely to our destination with its one remaining bar of battery juice.
I remembered another landmark near the exhibit, we entered that address instead, and set on our way. One hour and ten minutes before Emily's flight. The Tom Tom low battery symbol blinked furiously. But we made it.
We almost passed it, actually.
What had held immense promise to be exciting, beautiful, romantic, and quirky, all at the same time, somehow proved...um, none of those things. Worth seeing? Yes. For longer than five minutes? No.
Ta-da! Needless to say, the irresistible pull of the water lilies did not prevent Emily from missing her flight.
Now if you will indulge me and allow me to philosophize and wax poetic for a moment (Dan, stop rolling your eyes), I cannot help but think of how many other times experiences fail to live up to their descriptions.
Believe it or not, mayonnaise never ceases to be gloppy, smelly, and gross when I lovingly spread it on whole wheat bread every night so that my husband will have a (somewhat) healthful lunch to take to work the next day.
Writing a thesis on a subject you love results in pain, misery, agony, and depression, along with immense joy and satisfaction.
Vacations usually involve some degree of water retention, arguments, and sunburn, but most people only mention the margaritas and extra sleep.
And chasing lily pads is not as glamorous or interesting as it sounds.