Thursday, January 8, 2009

the perfect metaphor

Vacationing in a developing country can teach you a lot about yourself. Seeing how other people live really makes you reflect on your current situation, especially as a citizen of what many consider the greatest country in the world, the United States of America. While I'm still undecided about how I would rank the United States in a scale of greatness compared to other places (I have a soft spot for Djibouti), I must admit I feel lucky to have the freedom bestowed upon me that this country provides just for being born here. Part of that freedom means I can travel to most any other country, save for Cuba, that I so desire. (Even Djibouti!) But really, this silly reflective mumbo-jumbo is also neither here nor there. (I'll save those philosophical musings for a publication that pays.)

More apropos for this e-venue, I want to share with you the most important thing I learned while vacationing in Nicaragua -- the perfect metaphor for DC.

It all went down in the sulfur pit (of course it did) of a volcanic crater on Cerro Negro, which last erupted in 1999 and is currently six years past due for another eruption. With a volcano like Cerro, which is currently active, science has it set up so that at any given time in any of its craters the innards of the Earth puff out clouds of sulfur gas. And for those of you unlucky enough to have never spent any time in a Russian spa town (actually, I mean lucky enough), sulfur smells like rotten eggs. Nay, it smells like the outcome of a hobo who just ate three dozen rotten eggs. From a chicken with bird flu. In short, it smells real gnarly.

The thing is, these clouds of sulfur look so cool from afar.

So you venture closer.

Until you're right up in it.

And that's when you realize it's all a facade. Like DC, sulfur pits look all cool and interesting from the outside, but once you set foot in one, you realize that it's really just a hot mess (literally, in the case of an actual sulfur pit) of activity that makes you feel nauseated. So you get the f*ck out. Or prance, if you're me.

See? It really is the perfect metaphor! DC is a sulfur-spewing volcanic crater! Hooray!

But let's take it one more obnoxious (or maybe just noxious) step forward. Look at what I'm wearing. It's so horrific that not only am I compelled to Shambles P.I. myself, but I feel it is my civic duty as a citizen of perhaps the greatest country on Earth (although I still haven't been to Djibouti) to point out the fashion crimes I'm committing.

I look like a DC commuter.

Take note commuters who opt for white sneakers -- that is how big of an asshole you look like. At least I was in a sulfur pit. You're just on the Metro. And while the two are figuratively similar, in reality, the two terrains are quite different. I needed those kicks to hike around this volcano. You need nothing more than an elegant ballerina flat to ride the 'tro. But I won't repeat myself. I have much cooler (or stupider, depending on your view) things to e-kibbitz about, like...

VOLCANO SURFING! (Which is exactly as ludicrous as it sounds.)

Step 1 -- Cut a hole in the box. Hike up the volcano.

Step 2 -- Strap on the snowboard sandboard lavaboard (and, of course, pop on a pair of fake Adidas, baggy-crotched track pants that you bought at a Nicaraguan street market for $4.00).

Step 3 -- Do work.

Step 4 -- Celebrate by drinking lots of rum because you didn't die.

If I make it out of DC alive, I will have to celebrate even more intensely. Cocaine? Meth? Heroin? Jenkem? Catnip? An array of T.G.I. Friday's Ultimate cocktails?! Or maybe I'll just jump for goddamn joy.

But not in commuter shoes.



Lemmonex said...

Welcome back.

And I love sulfur spas but I am weird like that.

FoggyDew said...

Looks like a great trip. Oh, and I was thinking of your love of fashion when I took this picture last week:

Marissa said...


Gracias. It's good (and I think I have to say bad, due to the nature of this blog) to be back in the District.

You know, I can't knock the sulfur. The smell is sickening, but the effects seem to be the opposite.


Like I said. Only blaze orange accents could help that.

maryjanejeff said...

That looked like a freaking blast. But you need some sort of shoes so your feet don't burn off. Falling on that would suck a lot worse than falling on snow though.

Anonymous said...

And I love sulfur spas but I am weird like that.

Strap Perfect