There’s a certain satisfaction that comes with finally being taller than the stick the guy at the amusement park wields like a weapon. No more waiting in a long, sweaty line only to be turned away by the pimply attendant who has finally found a way to take out his minimum wage job on someone else. Once you’re taller than the stick you can ride. That’s the law.
I haven’t been short in a while, though only because I managed to grow almost a foot in my sophomore and junior years of high school. The stick test has therefore not been an issue since circa 1985. I have, however, recently — and repeatedly — failed a new kind of test. Here in the land of pura vida that test is called, “¿Eres más grande que este caballo?”
In English this translates to, “Are you bigger than this horse?” And, unfortunately, here in the beautiful mountains of Costa Rica I am indeed often bigger than the horse in question. When my family goes horseback riding I get to hang out in the barn and hear a story about how the horse outfit used to have a mule that would’ve been perfect for me — but it’s on vacation, or died from the cumulative effect of excessive gringo portage.
All of my shame and loneliness at being disproportionately large –and therefore doomed to walk this earth on my own two very large feet — changed this past week. I don’t think it’s something I’ve ever said sans sarcasm, but in this case I truly do owe it all to Tequila.
Tequila was the poor animal an outfit out by the Volcán Rincón designated as my beast of burden. As the picture shows, Tequila had no idea how bad it was about to get — which is ironically exactly how I’ve felt on many adult outings that involved tequila.
The look Tequila gave me when he craned his neck trying to figure out how three people had perched on his back said it all. Ours was not a relationship based on mutual respect. No person with any self-worth spends a lot of time with tequila, and Tequila clearly felt the same way people in the aisle and window seats feel when I arrive late to squeeze into what they’d hoped would be the empty middle seat between them.
I apologize in advance Tequila, but since the rest of the nation has cut me off I’m likely heading back your direction all too soon. Rest up, enjoy the small Spanish tourists, and prepare yourself for un trago mas.