January 14, 2011

Ten buck Chuck: He's so heavy

Meet Chuck. He lives on our living room floor but hails from Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. Had his immigration to this country not been before airlines' strict enforcement of baggage weight limits and narrowing of the list of acceptable carry-ons, Chuck might still be in a restaurant in the rainforest. Chuck is made of cement and weighs a ton.

Mike and I were vacationing in Cancun. It was nice enough, but we can only take so many days of drinking beer and frying in the sun, so we rented a VW bug and took a road trip to the spectacular Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza.

The centerpiece of Chichen Itza is the great pyramid of Kukulkan, also called El Castillo. We climbed to Kukulkan's summit on a stone staircase so steep I felt like leaning in and hugging it for dear life. At the top we were greeted by a life-size statue of a reclining Chac-Mool, a pre-Columbian figure found at several ancient sites in Mesoamerica. Like other Chac-Mools, Chichen Itza's had an offering bowl resting across its belly. I sat in the bowl, and Mike took a picture of me with my arm draped around the neck of this big-eyed guy in a funny stone hat whom I'd dubbed Chuck. Chuck was cute.

On the way back to Cancun we stopped at a restaurant at the end of a short dirt road in the jungle. Next to our table sat a glass case filled with items for sale, including a statue of Chuck the Chichen Itza Cutie. He was about the size of a fat housecat, and I knew I had to have him. They wanted 15 bucks for him but accepted our offer of 10.

Our waiter unlocked the case, lifted Chuck out and sat him on the table next to our plates of grouper baked in banana leaves. I went to pick Chuck up and discovered he was made of solid, super-duper, crazy-heavy concrete. Mike and I guesstimated his weight at over 40 pounds.

As there was no bag durable enough to hold him, we carried Chuck around like an anvil for the rest of our vacation, switching off periodically to allow each carrier's upper body muscles to recover before the next shift. We carried Chuck, exposed and face turned out to the world, to and through the hotel; to and through the airport; onto and out of the plane; through our Boston airport; into and out of the cab that deposited us at home. Everyone smiled at his cuteness.

He lives on the floor now, and since he's so heavy, I usually vacuum around him.