People who engage in risky or role-playing sexual behavior— I am told– have a “safety word” agreed on in advance to stop the proceedings when things get out of hand. This is a brilliant idea and one we adopted on our recent travels to keep us from killing each other!
We have very different travelling styles. He believes in GPS and maps. I believe in sense memory and intuition. These beliefs are often in opposition.
I give the man credit (sometimes). He can find his way anywhere in the world with these tools. I can find my way back from anywhere using my inner compass. We always think the other is wrong about the correct way to go. We don’t disagree quietly.
It can get ugly ….especially when it’s 100 degrees outside and all we really want to do is find our way back to our air-conditioned hotel and don’t agree about the route back through confusing, narrow medieval streets .
We also argue about who is right about any number of stupid things that seem critically important at the moment. We argue passionately about who is right about any little factoid. We disagree on how much money we should spend and where. We are deeply, madly competitive. We need to be right. Always. But, alas, only one of us can be.
So, we came up with a word that would stop us in our tracks when we get riled. A word that would instantly defuse anger but not alarm passersby or dinner companions. A word that would put us back in vacation mood and mind. That word was “booger.”
I know it sounds adolescent. It’s such a goofy, visceral, visual word. But it worked like a charm. I have yelled “booger” in a train. I have said it on a plane. On on bus, in a fuss. He has said it here. He has said there. He has said it everywhere. Booger became our Seuss-ian solution to fighting throughout our Spain trip. We had a fabulous vacation. We owe a tip of the hat for that glob of green snot that became our safeword mantra. And that is that.
However, I don’t think booger is a word of sufficient gravitas to act as safety valve for dangerous liasons and occasions. I just know that we won’t leave home without it.
Booger. A little lifesaving morsel. My little “tripadvisor -y” to you.