Four days ago, I was faced with one of the most difficult decisions of my adult life. In order for me to correctly communicate the gravity of this situation, I must first tell you about my obsession with Titanic. When Titanic first appeared on the big screen in 1997, I fell in love as a mere 4-year old missing half her teeth. I also enjoyed running around the backyard in circles talking to plastic horse statues at this stage. I don’t know why my parents let me watch it at such an impressionable age, but after school, I’d grab my allotted 2 tootsie rolls and settle in for the saga of Rose and Jack.
Titanic soon became my life. When my older sister had play dates with her best friend, I would tag along and make the friend’s older sister play Jack while I lay on the kitchen counter grasping a piece of chandelier glass I fashioned into my own heart of the ocean before letting it fall to the floor. My parents even bought me the CD soundtrack and movie poster for my unfailing commitment.
This story does not end in 1997. Fast forward 16 years, and Titanic was the reason I got written up as a lifeguard. Apparently, some official from New York State Parks was auditing Gilbert Lake State Park, but no one thought to give me a head’s up. Which is why I was stoically standing at the bow of the motor boat with my arms out in Rose’s pose while the boat carried along at full speed. I wouldn’t have pulled a Titanic if I knew he was watching.
Genuine photograph of Gilbert Lake shenanigans
Fast forward again to 2016. A job opportunity presents itself on a ship. Real life Titanic minus the sinking! Sign me up.
I was having a normal day on December 30, 2016 and wasn’t even thinking about Titanic. It was my day off and we were docked in La Paz, a quaint seaside city in Baja. I got off the boat, took myself to tacos and walked the waterfront until a friend informed me the luscious LEONARDO DICAPRIO was in town. LEO = JACK = THE LOVE OF MY LIFE. Panic.
Apparently Leo was snorkeling with whale sharks and would be back to the dock where the Sea Bird was docked at 2pm. Una problema. I was supposed to leave the dock myself at 1:30pm for my own whale shark adventure. In what world would fate bring Leo and I across the world to a city of 200,000 together and separate us by a mere 30 minutes? Not a kind one, that’s for sure.
So began the next hour of weighing whale sharks against Leonardo. It was the most trying hour of my life. In my deliberation, I considered the following:
- The potential of false information that Leo would arrive at 2pm to the aforementioned dock. Celebrities use guises to hide from people like yours truly all the time.
- What if he would be in a bad mood? He might not want to even interact with me, and what would that do to my inner 4-year old counterpart’s self esteem?
- What if I saw Leo whale sharking? Imagine the underwater selfie of a whale shark, Leo, and moi. I entertained this scenario for far too long.
So with all this in mind, I made the decision to leave on the whale shark adventure. I even brought my wildlife camera lens so I could search for Leo in the other pangas.
Alas, I did not see him, but boy did I see whale sharks. As soon as I jumped off the panga and saw one 9-10 feet long swimming at me with its mouth wide open, I forgot all thoughts of Leo. For the next hour or so, I followed the whale shark around while I got Blair Witchesque footage with a friend’s go-pro. I even got smacked in the tail by one and figured it might have smacked Leo as well – practically a high five between us.
So for now, Leo shall remain a figment of my imagination and perhaps it is better this way. In any case, I’ll never let go. My heart will go on.
(Video footage to come at some point – here’s some photos from last week in the meantime!)