After my aunt took me to Hawaii as a college graduation present, I came home with a newfound distaste for pineapple. It didn’t start that way. I used to really like pineapple. But after a week of having pineapple served to me with everything I ate and drank, I’d had enough. So far, that sentiment has lasted for nearly two decades. Last week in Tampa, I had a single experience with cherries that may end up having a similar effect. I hope not.

I spent last week in Tampa at the AP US History Reading. The College Board put all of the readers up in various hotels in the convention center area. My roommate and I were in the Sheraton on the Tampa Riverwalk. The Sheraton was a relatively nice hotel, but it was nearly a mile from our room to the convention center where we ate our meals and graded essays. The temperature was in the 70s in the morning, so I wasn’t too sweaty by the time we arrived at the convention center each day. Needless to say, I got quite a bit of mileage in last week.

My roommate and I were staying on the fifth floor of the six floor hotel. Friday morning, like every other morning, we were standing by the elevator doors waiting to be picked up and trying to wake up. When the doors to the elevator opened, a twenty-something, shaggy headed man leapt out of the elevator with an enthusiasm that makes non-morning people like me very suspicious. I was also quite startled by this man. It wasn’t just that he literally jumped out of the elevator. To add to my groggy confusion, the guy was wearing a baby blue Speedo with cherries all over it.

There’s a lot going on here, and since I was still half asleep, it took me a while to process.

First, did the guy not realize he had only gone down one floor on the elevator when he jumped out? Is his attention span really that short? Is swimming really that exciting to some people? Was he trying to startle whoever might be waiting for the elevator on the fifth floor? (He did.) Maybe the Speedo was new and he wanted to show it off?

Next is the Speedo itself. I don’t necessarily have an issue with guys wearing them even if I don’t really want a closeup look. To each his own. There is probably some moral there about confidence in yourself and how you look or something, but alas, I was too distracted and sleepy to pick up on it.

Then there are the cherries. Cherries? Really? Not pineapples, or flamingos, or mermaids, or Trump, or anything else that I don’t actively like? I LIKE cherries. Now I won’t be able to so much as look at cherries in the grocery store without laughing myself silly with the mental image of this guy jumping out of the elevator.

After the short ride down to the ground floor with the Speedo man looking more than a little embarrassed, my roommate and I confirmed with each other that we hadn’t both just had a nightmare while sleepwalking. This really happened. At least it gave us something entertaining to talk about on our mile-long trek to eat breakfast and grade essays.  

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