I’m not gonna say I saved a guy’s life the other day, but that may not be a lie either.
I was walking in the jungle trying to clear my mind of some wicked hangover blues. The line between fun and hangover has become remarkably thin at 35, it only takes 3 IPAs these days. Pathetic, I know. Anyway I arrived at one of my favorite ponds, a place remote enough only a few locals probably know it. Yet atop the waterfall pouring into the pond, a man immediately came into view. Damn. My solitude broken by a 38ish year-old guy with flowing brown hair, trimmed chest hair, and a tank top tan. Just enough belly fat to announce that 9 hours of his days were handed over to a desk. But with reluctance. His evenings were clearly spent at the gym but the desk was winning the battle, by a nose. The archetype male who needs to prove something to himself after years of proving to the Man he can’t say NO. So he looks for off-trail adventure on Maui and discovers its ability to be everything but paradise.
Screaming at each other over the raging falls, I gathered he had been lost for 2 hours and wondered whether he could jump safely. I knew he could, but it’d have to be an exact landing not to get hurt. The poop brown water from the previous night’s rain made that promise unlikely, so I pointed him in the direction I thought he could escape through the bush. I hiked to intersect his trail and heard bushes and branches cracking in my direction. Relief. I wasn’t going to have to get further involved in this guy’s adventure. Or call a helicopter. I really hated that idea. I learned he was a Spaniard via way of Los Angeles. He hadn’t panicked but was preparing to sleep the night out in the jungle, a decidedly shitty headspace. Then I showed up... or he showed up to me. He said an angel had been watching over him and pointed to the sky like professional athletes do after a strike-out or touchdown or 3-pointer. I wasn’t sure if he was truly religious or if the angel he was referring to was me. That’d be pretty vain to think that. Either way, I pointed him in the direction of the road and hiked deeper into the jungle, hoping every new step would convince my hangover to release its death grip.