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Wayne Post
  • Anne Palumbo: Oh, the hazards of ignoring red flags

  • Let me say right up front that I am a big believer in “red flags.”   



    I watch out for them; I heed them; I modify my life accordingly.

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  • Let me say right up front that I am a big believer in “red flags.”   
    I watch out for them; I heed them; I modify my life accordingly.
        I see these “little warnings” as gifts, really.  Just yesterday, for example, I altered my plans based on this red flag: a hairdresser with a horrendous haircut.  I thought:  Do I really want this ragamuffin trimming my tresses?  No.
        But sometimes, unfortunately, I ignore red flags.  My emotions run roughshod over my intellect and I end up doing things and going places that are not in my best interest.
        One of those times happened recently off the coast of Cape Cod.  My son desperately wanted to go deep-sea fishing, and so we booked a trip during our vacation.   
         I must confess that I was mildly dreading this outing.  Oceans scare me and boat travel makes me queasy.  On the plus side, I do like to fish and was sincerely excited to share this family experience.
        My enthusiasm took a hit however when I heard the weather forecast: high winds throughout the day (red flag #1).  No one else seemed to care though, so off we went, despite my jittery stomach.  
        While walking to the boat, a gust of wind blew my hat off.  “Wow, it’s quite windy,” I said to Captain Tom, who had bloodshot eyes and a grizzled earlobe. “I see whitecaps.”  
    “No worries,” Captain Tom said, “them waves’ll git calmer as you round the bend (red flag #2).
        Curiously, he did not join us (red flag #3); only his crew: twenty-somethings Rory and Dan.
        As we headed out to sea, the waves, contrary to Captain Tom’s predictions, got worse, going from wimpy whitecaps to roiling swells (red flag #4).  Unbelievably, the crew kept marching forward.   
        Now drenched with water, I had no choice but to sit in the tiny doorway between the bow and the main boat area.  From here, I could see Rory’s pained face (red flag #5) as he maneuvered the boat through monstrous waves.   From here, I could also see the bow’s innards, which showed no life jackets.  My intestines began to unravel.
        Twelve-foot waves started to smack our boat.  As we crested and dropped through each onslaught, I crazily sang, “Papa, can you hear me?”  I began to plan my own funeral.  I may have latched onto Rory’s ankle like a frantic puppy.
        Finally, someone spoke up and we turned back.   On the way home, I vowed loudly to never ignore red flags again.  Naturally, my family wanted to know which red flag was the clincher for me.  Unreal that they even had to ask.  Them waves?  Git?  Why, that kind of grammar could sink the Titanic!
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