closer . . .
Body Types \ A Receipt \ I Meet a Lawn Mower
Dear Blanca,

A few moments with the body types you attract to your resort.
  • The Sad Male Breasts. With varying degrees of submission to gravity, from downright perky to bona fide C-cup, they are, in need of comfort, sad.

  • The Fat Man’s Waddle. The girth of these men is that of a cannonball, barely contained within the walls where the stomach once was, about to impact with heartburn. Due to the girth, the arms cannot swing freely, down at the sides, and so they appear shortened. Yet swing they must, and the arms of the waddling fat man swing more rapidly, excitedly, like Tattoo on “Fantasy Island” exclaiming to Mr. Roarke, “Boss! Ze buffet! Ze buffet!”

  • The Quebecker Sisters. There are but two of them here. Extraordinarily large women, they carry themselves with a certain grace and gentleness. So, too, are they soft spoken, and enthusiastically yet softly they speak of how marvelous the buffet is, they’ve never had better food in their lives, they’ve been here two weeks. And so it is that the Quebecker Sisters are a category unto themselves.

  • The Russian Maybe. This is a man speaking Russian, 40-60 years old, skin a lobster red, hair freshly cut Putin-short before it could spontaneously Brezhnev. His arms and chest are in fightingly good form, as are his thighs, calves, and neck. It is his belly, which begins at the top of the ribcage, rounds outward, horizontally zeniths where the belly button should be, begins but a slow curve past its horizon, and, under cover of a swimsuit—curiously, usually yellow—disappears into what one imagines to be a complete and total roll, enveloping testicles and johnson in what may be the world’s first human sushi.

  • The Lawn Mowers. With short buzz-cut hair, possibly reflecting former or current military branch affiliation, these all-white, mostly American men seemingly cannot decompress. Their chins are close to their chests, like cards in a poker game amongst strangers and one guy you know but don’t like. They seem to be grinding—or sharpening—teeth under clenched jaws. To the point: these men are having no fun whatsoever. They don’t seem to have a need or even a longing for the privacy of pushing a lawnmower in the back yard between beer chugs, listening to AM talk radio or the game on 1980s radio headphone technology. Mowing the lawn provides no solace, no therapy. They fume that the kid’s at the mall or watching “SpongeBob Squarepants” inside, while they’re here, here, stomping out horizontal lines behind a rusty Lawn-Boy, cyclically irate that the Kentucky bluegrass grows back every fucking week. There’s a touch of danger, of the suppressed rage variety, lurking around the eyes. Most of them, oddly enough, are wearing really nice, expensive, rectangular eyeglasses. There are many of these men roaming the grounds; it’s like a private security firm retreat, only everybody’s on call. I notice that even your time-share people avoid these men. It’s that bad.
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The Russian Maybe
Dear Blanca,

We had a marvelous day at Xcaret Park, not least because for the first time I felt like I got a good deal by actually paying retail prices for our tickets, with no further obligation. Except maybe this: did they really need to issue us a receipt (handwritten; took some time) for the popcorn I purchased? Could you check into that?
Dear Blanca,

Last night at dinner (Le Buffet, main building) we set our stroller next to a table and dove into the buffet offerings.

When I returned, there stood a family of three, their plates on the table. The wife was a stocky woman with tanning-salon orange skin and an impenetrable—or maybe a completely penetrable and absolutely blank—face. The kid was a kid, six or seven, who broke a longing stare at his plate of spaghetti to watch his father address me.

“Looks like you parked your stroller at our table,” he said, with a smug smile that continues to reek of disingenuousness. As in: I think he was lying. Because our contested table was very close to the buffet line, and the room was maybe half full. The pasta kid’s father stood six-foot-two, 220 pounds, tattoos circling his biceps, and he wore a great pair of grey-rimmed rectangular glasses a few inches above his square, clenched jaws. Before me stood the quintessential Lawn Mower.

I smiled to acknowledge the bullshit of the man; he smiled with gratitude for my acknowledgment of his bullshit. Some people hold a very narrow view of conflict, and so they approach conflict as though it were inevitable. This was not us, I thought; we would work this out like civilized men on vacation.

And then I changed my mind because in my mind the Lawn Mower had just sprouted the horns of a new beast: the aggressive sheep, the man—herded by a hostess to a table—who wasn’t clever enough to improvise and so defended unimportant territory.

So I tossed a handful of my chicken fajitas at his face. He looked stunned at the guest-on-guest fajita assault, but only for a moment. His smile quickly returned. He removed a sauteed green pepper that had lodged on the bridge of his glasses, regarded it, and regarded me, until both of us, still smiling, lunged at one another and started a fierce brawl over the very old and, on reflection, exhausting category of war: territory, with proximity to the food.

Blanca, I’m just kidding. I’m not one to shy away from confrontation, but I’ll do it during billable hours, not on vacation. And I wasn’t about to let this aggressive sheep Lawn Mower fajita face spoil my vacation. Not with such competition from your time-share vultures. This is what really happened:

“Looks like you parked your stroller at our table,” he said.

“Looks like that now,” I said. I didn’t wait for an answer, just turned and found a table some 15 feet away, where I parked the stroller, again, and sat, just as the Lawn Mower led his family in sitting down at their eminent domain. Throughout much of the mergers and acquisitions world, this is also known as saying grace.

Blanca, would you please have these particular guests removed from the premises?