Vacations are hard to plan when you have three children. Since I do not, orchestrating this getaway was easy. Reclined on the beach, I sip my Cool Ranch-tini and lower my visor, content to let the gentle lapping of the waves lull me to sleep. Just as I close my eyes, I hear it.
The whirr and screech of dial up internet may not be identifiable to millennials, but for those of us from the generation who came of age watching excruciatingly slow pornography, this noise evokes illicit memories of waiting just 12 minutes for a picture of Jenny McCarthy. I realize not everyone is using this beach to relax. Concealed as I am by aviator shades, my eyes dart back and forth until I spot him. A very old man has set up his personal computer; compete with monitor, tower, keyboard, and printer, at a nearby cabana. I stand, stretch, and stroll over, squinting to see if I might read over his shoulder as I pass. Turns out, I needn’t have strained my eyes as all of the text on his screen is 18 point font. The heading of the document on his screen reads, “My Bad Plans.”
“That guy has some bad plans,” I mutter to myself. I had wanted to keep to myself this vacation, but trouble finds me like salsa finds a white t-shirt, and I knew these bad plans were mine to investigate. I approach the man and clear my throat. “Hola,” I begin, extending my hand. He doesn’t turn around, but rather shuts down his computer, unplugs each cord, wraps the cord around the base of each component, carefully lays each item into a duffle bag, closes the duffle bag, and waddles hurriedly back to his room. The whole process takes seven minutes or more, but I make no movements. Planning to snap a photo, I reach into my shorts to extract my phone from my Flight Underwear. Once I plunge my hand into my waistband, I remember I am wearing just a bathing suit. A nearby vacationing mother rightfully shields the eyes of her two children, as I appear to be aggressively grabbing myself, but I can’t let her bother me. I’ve got bad plans to foil.
Back in my room, the sun sets outside my window and I am breathless at the sheer beauty, distracted though I may be by the latest episode of Vanderpump Rules that I’m watching on my phone. But as darkness falls, I am distracted by a multi-coloured glow from far down the beach. A small, iridescent light source has captivated me and I know I must investigate. I pull on my white linen beach suit, slip into my sandals, and drop from my balcony to the beach below.
The glow is coming from the boardwalk, and so I give the shining entity a wide berth, and walk under the boardwalk until I hear a voice. I peer up through the wooden slats and can see the same old man from earlier. The light source is a glow stick that hangs from his neck. Incongruous as such a prop is on an older person, he gesticulates with it wildly, clearly very familiar with the nightclub prop.
“Every kid at the rave tonight is gonna buy glowsticks from me, Grandpa Glowstick,” the old man crows into his large and cumbersome 1990s cellular phone. “PartyTime Glowsticks thinks they can supply every rave in Ibiza? They didn’t count on me! Hahaha!”
From my hiding place, I realize I’ve merely borne witness to entrepreneurship. I have no stake in where partygoers get their supplies. This charming senior only wants his piece of the pie. Contentedly, I hum ‘Under the Boardwalk’ and set about making a sandcastle.
“Little do they know,” the old man continues above me, “that every glowstick will last until midnight, then completely shut off! These so-called party kids need to keep it down, so the rest of us can sleep the night away! Tonight’s ‘raging celebration’ will be over before it can start! Hold on, Harold, someone’s humming ‘Under the Boardwalk.’”
I quiet immediately. So there are sinister plans afoot! Ibiza’s hottest nightclub is just down the road from here. If I can get there ahead of Grandpa Glowsticks, I will save the day. I lie down on the beach to plan and fall asleep for about three hours.
Bleary eyed and tired, I enter the club at ten minutes to midnight, hoping to blend in with the young clubgoers. A throbbing beat dominates the sweaty, smoky, and yes, glowing dance floor. My white lined suit stands out in the black light and I resign myself to an evening of holding my stomach in. I scan the crowd for Grandpa. Beautiful women and hunky men surround me and throw their hands up, as instructed by the C-list celebrity manning the turntable. The more I try to break free from the throng of dancers, the more urgently they surround me. Bodies press against mine like we’re on an oversold aircraft. My eyes dart back and forth across the neon bacchanalia when I spot him. Grandpa Glowsticks. We lock eyes and slowly, malevolently, his face splits with a grin. Then every glowstick extinguishes, all at once.
The club is plunged into darkness, and the dancing stops. The only noise is the constant beat, beating incessantly, like our collective heart. Surrounded by darkness, I reach into my Flight Underwear and surreptitiously pull out my phone. I turn on the flashlight app and cover the screen. Then I uncover it. Then I cover it again. Then I uncover it. I have created a flashing, strobing atmosphere to appease the young people, and once again, I feel bodies moving against mine.I may not have stopped Grandpa Glowsticks from carrying out his well-planned bad plans, but tonight at least, with my Flights and phone, I keep everyone dancing…