“Oh come on,” MacGyver’s voice was gentle with an exasperated edge.
“For 99 percent of the population this is the trip of a lifetime,” he continued. “For you it’s just Saturday.”
While I am capable of shocking people — I headed off to the Caribbean for a sailing adventure when I’d never been on a sailboat and I learned to drive a big truck when I hadn’t driven a car in ten years — I am a pampered creature, a city girl, who doesn’t like to be uncomfortable and doesn’t like to put out much physical exertion, only when absolutely necessary, like the day we got married.
Ten years ago today, the temperature INSIDE the rickety No. 6 Line subway car on the way to Manhattan City Hall was 100 degrees, outside it was 95. Our clothes were pasted to our bodies with sweat. Our wedding ceremony lasted nine seconds. The air, thick with humidity, obliterated the Brooklyn Bridge in the background of our wedding photos. I signed new business for our creative company during our wedding lunch at the Tribeca Grill. It was a perfect day.
Today he wanted me to walk the one mile trail around the Sunset Crater Volcano 18 miles north of Flagstaff, Arizona.
“If this was Manhattan it would be no big deal, but because it’s out in nature, you don’t want to do it,” he said. Well, yeah and it’s kind of hot.
The kid behind us on the trail brought me back to reality on the mountain and with MacGyver. “This is magnificent,” the kid breathed, looking at the mountain that exploded into a fiery river of lava some 1100 years ago.
I wanted to marry MacGyver from the minute I met him in 1991. It has been a long and windy road, through many countries, financial ups and downs, we started over, from scratch, twice, launching new businesses, not knowing if we could pay the bills, stressful days and adventures big and small, from little out of the way restaurants to the time we got interviewed at the Lebanese Consular Office in Amman, Jordan by the Charge D’Affaires for Lebanon wanting to know why we wanted a Visa for Beirut. Along the way I’ve learned how to play with a magic dragon.
MacGyver is fascinating and exhausting. He is the Master Concierge, he can find the only restaurant in the Sahara Dessert that will serve me champagne. Keeping in mind there are almost no restaurants of any kind there and it’s a place were alcohol is frowned upon if not forbidden.
There is no “off” on the genius switch. He is always reading, searching, discovering, ahead of his time, painfully insightful, interested in doing things, seeing things, experiencing things — not keen on the truck thing at the beginning, he is now determined to excel at it — and then he pushes it a little too far and I completely poop out, and not in a nice way, in a cranky way.
The whole VESPA thing is another way to get the most out of our current adventure and he is desperate to make it work for me. It’s not all that comfortable on the back of the scooter — a half hour ride and I need a break — we’re hoping a back rest will help. The foot pegs for the passenger are small and too far forward — Bellina has big hips, the back of the VESPA curves out — it makes me feel like I will squeeze off the back. And I’m not the only one, MacGyver has found online that many people are complaining about these two things about the 300 Super. He’s considering remedies.
MacGyver loves me because I am a trooper, following behind in all his schemes. When we drove with Schneider, we decided one night to take the Bromptons out and ride into civilization from the drop yard at Kearny, New Jersey. It started out well, riding on the sidewalk, a dusky view of the river below, abruptly at the end of the bridge across the Passaic River the path stopped — and I am a trucker driver who supports more sidewalks and more bike paths — it was overgrown with chest high weeds and stinging brambles but I toughed it out without a complaint. Okay, I was swearing a little under my breath. But I toughed it out.
With rain threatening, we stayed a little too long at the Volcano. Before leaving MacGyver had to see the Painted Desert Vista, another eight miles up the road, which was beautiful. Then we stopped at the Visitor Center to look around and put on our rain jackets and check the Radarscope App for impending rain, but there was no Internet service — on the ride back, the temperature dropped 20 degrees, “I turned on the A/C for you”, he shouted through his visor — the skies opened up and we were pelted with stinging rain for 17 of the 18 miles back to Flagstaff.
Soaked and cold, I hung on, I didn’t complain. Back in the truck I set about creating our picnic dinner.
“See I am a trooper, “ I told him.
“I know you are and I love you,” he said.