Monday was a holiday in Palau so we took the day to go diving with a group of friends even though there are animals under water. This is one of those peer pressure things where I'm basically FORCED to agree to go because I'm all thinking that I don't want to go diving ever again and then someone's like, "Eli, we're going diving on Monday. You should come if you want." And then I'm all, "OK COUNT ME IN!!! WHAT CAN I BRING!?! LET'S GO TWICE!!!"

Then Daniel has to go too because the next time I see him I'm all, "we're going diving on Monday" and then when he tries to say anything I just scream over his voice repeatedly until he gives up.

So on Monday we went diving.

Diving was fine, besides the animals and being under water and stuff. And we did see some giant mantas that if you catch me in a very honest mood I might admit were pretty cool. But then later if you try to repeat what I said to other people I will immediately interject with totally slanderous gossip about you in retaliation. So just beware.

The best dive spots in Palau are about an hour-long boat ride away from the main cluster of islands that we all live and work on. And typically this boat ride is really pleasant and beautiful. It weaves between hundreds of small jungle islands and the whole time you feel like you're in Jurassic Park and you start wondering if you're going to see dinosaurs and you KNOW you're going to avoid hiding in the outhouse if ever there is a need to hide.

By the time we finished our dive it was raining pretty hard. And it continued to rain for the majority of our ride back to the big city.

I sat at the very back of the boat with Daniel and our good friend Natalie. And the back of the boat was a particularly cold and miserable place to sit in these conditions.

Ok, let me just anticipate your angry comments and biting emails now. I KNOW GUYS. I've been complaining that it is always hot in Palau no matter what always. And you have spent a great amount of energy feeling sorry for me over that.

WELL, sometimes it's a little cold. But only when riding on a boat, while wet, during a rain storm. OK? This is honestly the only situation in Palau in which I have not been on the verge of heat stroke. So I haven't really lied to you.

Also while I'm defending myself, I promise I don't really slap children in grocery stores and I won't slap yours. Adults, maybe. But not children. So let's all just calm down.

Because it was cold on the back of that boat, I was shivering. And complaining ever so slightly.


Natalie and I sat down next to one another on the floor of the boat to help block ourselves from the wind. And we were facing Daniel, who sat on the back bench, all alone, with the same chipper look on his face that he always annoyingly has, like he was enjoying a warm day on the beach.

So Natalie and I did the natural thing and we started directing all of our complaining to him, hoping to bring him down.

After five minutes or so of this, Daniel then did the strangest thing that has ever been done by a man.

He got up, sat on top of both of us Indian leg style, wrapped his 14 foot arms all the way around both of us, and then said in a soothing yet incredibly creepy voice, "now, now. Mama hen is here to take care of her chickens."

Sometimes I feel like Daniel and the Queen of Colors are basically the same person.

Daniel's legs are the length of two football fields. His femurs could be used as walking sticks for an average sized adult. His feet . . . you know what, I don't need to exaggerate. HE WEARS A SIZE 17 SHOE. Daniel is a giant. And I've always known this. But when I saw him sit on top of and completely cover TWO GROWN ADULTS, it was the first time I really realized how large of a person he is.

Natalie and I were momentarily speechless by what was happening. And then she looked at me and said, "I know we should be weirded out and should try to push him away . . . but this is really comforting and I'm kind of getting warm already." I tried to pull away a couple of times, but when I did, he just tightened his grip and whispered, "come now little chickies. Shhh shhh shhh. Mommy has you and won't let you get hurt." And after a few tries, I just gave up and relaxed and actually had to agree that I was getting warmed back up.

After ten more minutes of Daniel making owl sounds in our ears (he doesn't seem to know the difference between an owl and a hen) and singing, "hush little baby don't say a word" over and over and over, Natalie whispered to me, "Daniel is going to make a really good mom one day."

And guys, she was totally serious about this. And when she said it, I thought, "he really IS going to make a good mom one day." Even though I have previously thought he was going to make a really bad mom one day. See this and this and this and this.

When we got into the car to drive back home I asked Daniel how it was possible that he was not cold on that boat ride. He responded, "because I'm a MAN, Eli. Men don't get cold. You should try being one every once in a while."

Said the "man" who sat on his two friends and asked them to refer to him as "mother hen" only moments before.

~It Just Gets Stranger