There were multiple ways I could walk back to my room, but I chose to cut between the two swimming pools (with the bars in the water that closed at 7pm), go around a long strip of other rooms (numbered 101 to 131) and then pass a small outdoor hot tub. My frigid domain was on a lower level of a two-story stretch (rooms 231 to 261), my own being 242.
It was on my walk when I suddenly realized that if I were to do this experiment right, without cheating, I shouldn’t even go back into my room. Dead people don’t re-enter rooms, especially not to pack a light bag of belongings to best prepare them for a then 6-day odyssey into self discovery. I had everything I needed on me, anyway. If not already on me, it was all around me.
Drinks and buffet food were always free. I was wearing my thin gray sweatpants, a white t-shirt, a bright green hoody- and of course my new blue flip flops. The night temperature at this time of year wouldn’t get too cold, so sleeping outside would’ve been fine. Granted – I paid for that nice air-conditioned room awaiting my arrival, but if that tidal tumble had killed me then, I would have to be dead from that point on.
I could strip down to my underwear if I got too hot, I could use the plethora of towels all around the resort to stay warm and dry. Public washrooms were everywhere, and clean water from open showers was available to me 24/7.
My wallet, passport, cell phone and charger would sit on my bed, next to my open bag. Now I know I said I don’t make calls while I go on these things, but I still bring my phone (mostly because it has my music on it). Not having my music for the next 6 days would suck, but I remember thinking that I was better off.
Nobody would approach me if I had my headphones in my ears (so that would be like cheating), and the whole point of this experiment was to see if I could exist here for a week as if I were dead, and if dead – unnoticed. Would people notice my unused room? Would anyone talk to me if I didn’t make the effort? Could Sunday arrive with my presence completely invisible?
My FIVE all-inclusive rules include;
A) No phone calls or email checks (you know that one).
B) No thinking about ex-girlfriends I never really loved.
C) No thinking about work (I’m a high school Ethics teacher).
D) No re-boarding a glass bottom boat (waste of time and money).
E) No falling in love…falling for someone at an all-inclusive was like going grocery shopping on an empty stomach. You just don’t F) let yourself do it!
Those were my rules, and now that I was to be dead and interpersonally unseen (aka socially ignored) for the next week, I’d more than ever have to get used to the idea of thinking about more important, deeper things.
I stopped just outside my window, and looked at my bed through the transparent yellow curtain, the cold gust from the air-conditioner pounding it. I wish I hadn’t left my stuff out in the open like that on my bed, and I wanted so badly to swipe my card key (which was in my pocket), scamper into my room and quickly put everything away for safe keeping. Maybe grab my newly bought shitty horror novel while I was in there. But I knew the rules of this new self inflicted game and breaking them less than ten minutes in would be like swearing off masturbation for a week to prove to yourself that you could do it and then giving into temptation in the first hour.
My “I’m dead” FIVE all-inclusive rules would include:
A) I can’t engage anyone in conversation until someone speaks to me first. At that point, the experiment is over. Not failed. Just over.
B) I can’t go into my room until the experiment is over or till Sunday morning (that’s when the shuttle takes me to the airport).
C)I can eat and drink (I did pay for all this after all), but I can’t order anything, I can’t leave tips through out (I can at the end of the week however), no calling out for more toilet paper or help of any kind, can’t request songs or dry towels. I can only take and use what’s available to me. Luckily this is one of those resorts that line the bar with glasses of drinks, and I believe they even let you help yourself to the frozen blended piña colada machines at the small bar resembling a hut at the end of the beach.
D) I can’t go in the ocean, because if I found myself in real trouble, I’d in-turn want to scream for help, thus the experiment would be over and wasted. I prefer pools anyway. Does that mean I can’t go into the pool then, I wondered? Fine, I decided to stick with the shallow end of pools only.
E) Lastly—all normal all-inclusive rules should be respected and followed in my fake (now) six-day remaining all-inclusive death experiment.
So it was established and set in motion. I ended up settling down into a comfy plush poolside chair next to one of the more quiet pools (quiet because of the surrounding palm trees which block most of the day’s sun).
It was only a few minutes after 9pm but I was dead tired and exhausted from that which original rule C, speaks of (work). A part of me thought that this trip was a time for me to get away and clear my head, not put forth some morbid study. However, submerging myself into something like this was probably just what I needed to successfully clear everything north of my mouth. I am happiest after all when I’m learning about myself and evaluating.
The sleep was clearly needed because I laid past out in the chair till 2pm the following afternoon with the sunburn to prove it. So it was quickly made apparent that I could in fact sleep overnight by the pool and nobody would say anything to me. Perfect! I was well rested and the experiment was off to a good start, until an old wobbly man close to death walked up to me at 2:15 with something to say