Several men at Blonde’s office (back before the wonders of prolonged unemployment) convinced her that people thought she was a man. In hindsight it was kind that they didn’t say an ugly man. Add to the tragic ‘do some less than stellar wardrobe selections and noticeable extra poundage and Blonde was not meeting her, or her (imaginary) adoring public’s visual standards. The only good thing was that Blonde now looked like a German lesbian and not an American tourist.
One of the goals of this trip was to hike the Cinque Terre. The whole area is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is composed of five villages: Monterosso al Mare (where we stayed), Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. Due to the unfortunate lack of gambling casinos, Elvis chapels, strip clubs and Wal-Marts, visitors to the area often hike the 11 kilometer Sentiero (trail) No. 2. If the entire hilly, dangerous trail is open it takes about 5 hours to complete.
Blonde and Brunette were looking forward to doing the hike – or perhaps more accurately, to having done it. The first day the weather resulted in the trail being partially closed. Mixed emotions ensued – relief and annoyance
On the second day the weather, though overcast and grumpy, was good enough to have the trail reopened. Brunette always insists on “making hay while the sun shines” so she ushered her sister’s recently expanded ass and shrunken pate onto a train.
We were staying in the town at one end of the five, so took the train to the other end and hiked back. For about the first 50 yards of the “trail” (as descriptively inaccurate as saying “celibate NBA player”) it’s paved, smooth and doesn’t seem to be at all daunting. If you have advanced macular degeneration the trail could even look quite appealing. Then it immediately begins a rapid, rocky, completely unprotected ascent above the vicious seacoast. It’s such a blatant case of bait and switch that Italy deserves a U.N. censure (those are always effective).
Europe is to safety as the Catholic Church is to moral authority so we knew we needed to be un-American and take responsibility for our own safety. Don’t kid yourself about Socialists controlling behavior; one more citizen toppling off a hill is money in the bank for the government. And tourists? As long as their wallets are empty by the time they plummet, that’s fine.
Blonde is famously clumsy and impatient and Brunette non-clumsy and patient thereby being ideal hiking buddies. As Blonde lumbered androgynously (at best) along, sending gravel and small trees flying down the mountain, Brunette petitely minced cautiously.
Although not a sunny day, it was a very humid one.
Blonde is not fond of humidity and was getting grumpy as she sweated in her intended-to-be-adorable-in-a-Dora-the-Explorer-way hiking pants. The pants began to droop more and more, to the point that Blonde’s thoughts were completely obsessed by the uncomfortable sensation.
After several minutes of this disconcerting wardrobe malfunction, Blonde clutched a handful of fabric in the crotch of her pants and called out to Brunette “Hey, this is where my crotch is”!
Other hikers in the area looked alarmed and stumbled by as quickly as they could. A few elected to voluntarily plunge to their probable deaths.
Brunette, in her unfazed way, called back “I know, that’s where I keep mine too”.
The inevitable giggling attack ensued as the mannish woman with the apparently unsurprisingly positioned crotch and the well-behaved crotch reassurer had to sit down along the trail and try not to water it.
The moral of the story is that even, perhaps especially, when your sister appears to be your unattractive brother she’s still your sister and needs you to let her know everything is as it should be.