That monkey memory got me thinking about my other experience with masses of beings (besides my ex-life in NYC - the animal-type masses were much more enjoyable). Although by now we all know that I am not a beach/water person, back in my early-mid-ex-life, I went to the Virgin Islands (St. Thomas) during one rather brutal Cleveland winter. This was also the time when the only 'live' stock I tended were a pair of curmudgeonly Hermit Crabs, named Christian and Dior. They were named thusly as it always took AGES for them to try on and settle on new shell overcoats.
It was my first trip to someplace exotic. I will have to say that, even though I am not the sun worshiping/sunbathing/bikini type, it was a wonderful vacation. The sun was saturated in a way not felt in the north. The beaches were white, you got to drive on the left side of the road, iguanas and goats darted everywhere. Bougainvillea covered most of the trash.
I did two things that were very much outside of my comfort zone while there. I went on a large sailing vessel to St. John's Island for a picnic lunch with a group and I went snorkeling. Not only am I terrified of being on the water, I suffer from sea sickness. And motion sickness. However, once the ship got a full wind in her sails (that is nauticalese for going fast), I was too busy watching the sea gulls and birds and dolphins to think about pitching overboard and drowning or being eaten by sharks or sea monsters. I was so fired-up when I got back to the dock, that I signed up for snorkeling lessons.
In order to attract fish to adventure-seeking tourists, the fellow in charge gave us each a hunk of bread to break up once we got going. Once I realized that I could actually breath through the snorkel without drowning (I was trying not to think of sharks), I relaxed and bobbed in the turquoise waters, pinching off bits of sodden bread, leaving a trail of flotsam in my wake. The first fish to come were small groupers (I love grouper in a carnivorous way). Then there were all sorts and manner of bright little fish, darting around me, gobbling up the floating bread crumbs. Then there were much larger groupers. Much. Then there were about one million small, medium and large fish inhaling what was left of my bread. Then, it seemed, they turned their fishy eyes on me. All of a sudden, they were taking bites of my t-shirt (I burn easily and was swimming with one over my suit). And then my snorkel gear. I managed to turn in a blind panic and churn towards shore. I staggered out of the surf and didn't stop moving until I was a quarter of a mile from the water.
I vowed never to eat grouper again.