Because he’s that kind of guy, the Hunter Gatherer once gave me three nights in Cairns for my birthday. After the initial excitement had worn off, it occurred to me I had less than a week to drop 20 kilos – and other than amputating my legs with a buzzsaw there really wasn’t much I could do about it.
Location is part of the problem here. For three nights in Alaska I could wrap myself in walrus blubber, put on a furry suit and drop little gems like; ‘Hard to imagine I’m wearing size 8 knickers under this lot, eh?’ Or with three nights at Uluru there’d at least be something bigger than me.
But no – I get three nights in the fun and sun capital, where one day’s perfect, the next is obese. Have no fear, I thought. There’s big, colourful tent thingies to wear. And besides, I don’t need to go in the water if I don’t want to.
‘We can go snorkelling!’ said the HG gleefully. I should have punched him out. So there we were, in the fun and sun capital, fronting up to the booking office to go out to the reef. By helicopter.
‘What worries me,’ I said to the man behind the counter, ever mindful of personal safety and remembering recent events, ‘is being left behind out there.’ He sized me up. I had a feeling he was trying not to laugh.
‘I don’t think that’s likely, Madam.’ I should have punched HIM out. If I’d known what was coming next, I would have. ‘It’s a requirement,’ he continued, ‘that you provide your weight. For the helicopter pilot.’
Slight problem looms on the horizon. Found the bathroom scales drowned in the bath one morning many years prior, and hadn’t been able to weigh myself since. Actually, I liked the scales that way. They were so rusted up they never managed to creak past 40 kilos. But I digress.
I pulled my stomach and cheeks in while the nice man made a few brave guesses. It would have been less embarrassing to give birth with the Iranian Army watching.
Anyway, we front up the next morning at the helipad. The nice pilot gets out, opens up the back and starts removing ballast. More stomach-and-cheek sucking-in, to no avail. There’s nowhere to suck it into.
We managed to get out there without the nice pilot’s helicopter plunging into the briny because I’d had a happy winter in the company of potato crisps and Whitman’s soft centres – and we had a happy afternoon feasting on seafood and other stuff before HG brings up the snorkelling again.
Well, I had to admit the water looked pretty good. Warm, blue and inviting. Couldn’t find any walrus blubber to pack under the lifejacket – but no matter. Borrowed a pair of HG’s board shorts to pull over the worst bits, and in I went.
The water was packed with neat little Japanese people gliding gracefully around. And me. Not gliding – floundering. I don’t know how anyone breathes through those pathetic little tubes. It was beyond me. In my mind’s eye I could see my lungs, thrusting in vain against the fat as I tried to draw breath.
Once home, there were three options.
1. Diet. (And make my life a bloody misery – not likely!)
2. Amputate my legs with a buzzsaw.
3. Book the next holiday – to Alaska.
Yeah … bring on the walrus blubber and the furry snowsuit. And the size 8 knickers to wear underneath …