Monday, August 11, 2008

In lieu of a summer vacation...

So it looks like fixing up the car, continuing to keep our home and the ability to purchase groceries is taking presidence over taking a summer vacation this year which I have to admit makes sense, even with my often-times impetuous attitude toward life. If we went away, it would surely be a nail-biter the whole time, and though I can be resourceful - I had to be when we ended up in San Francisco with far less money than we thought we had, and my son and I ended up getting by on approximately $7.00 a day for a week - I am really all right with the knowledge that if we do end up with time away from home, it'll probably be a weekend exploring the exotic wilds of Wisconsin. John and I are taking steps now to build more of a stable future, or at least a future with fewer threatening phone calls, and this feels right. As someone who has always jumped from whim to whim with the carefree nonchalance of a flowerchild, it feels a little scary to be so accepting of buckling down, but new behaviors are always challenging, right?

So it looks like Greece-Israel-Seattle-Vancouver-New Mexico will be another year. Given that, I think that a little walk down memory lane of all the horrible stuff that has happened to me while on vacation is in order.

* While downhill skiing somewhere in Massachusetts (I don't have any recollection where), I got my period and a forty-eight-hour hour flu at approximately the same time.

* An Amtrak to New York that was so delayed that my weekend in Manhattan ended up being about one full day.

* Standing in the extreme cold and rain of Washington, D.C., in November to protest George Bush's inauguration. While this was hardly a vacation - more like a spur-of-the-moment roadtrip with friends to scream at a processional of black-windowed limos presumably ushering Bush, Cheney and their cronies for about an hour - it was foreboding and appropriately chilling.

* Driving to Mount Rushmore with my family in the mid-1970s, with a father who was prone to road-raging and equally disinclined to pulling over for anything but the predetermined destination, no matter what the cause or how emphatically you pleaded it. We had the barf along the side of the car - thrown from a disposable cup at 70 mph - to prove it.

* The family wedding I went to with my parents in St. Louis, during the height of my feminist awakening in college. My father spotted my unshorn armpits at some juncture and he was apoplectic. He and I ended up having a screaming match in my room at the Marriott, a cathartic (for me) letting loose of nearly twenty years of mostly bottled-up rage at him, leaving me hoarse for days. While that was a distinctly unhappy trip, it was ultimately very therapeutic for me.

* Going to Chicago when my wallet was sitting in my desk drawer in Lawrence, Kansas.

* Driving down Route 66 in Oklahoma and Amarillo as a newly-minted vegan and trying to not develop a protein deficiency or scurvy.

* Listening to frantic message after message back at home in Chicago while we were visiting friends in Kansas, unable to piece together what had happened, only that it was something very bad and that I needed to call my mother as soon as possible. My father had suddenly died of a heart attack the day before New Year's Eve.

* The Evil Girl Squad who reigned supreme on our bus and tormented everyone who wasn't one of them on my seventh grade trip to Washington, DC. They stalked up and down the aisle, mean power gleaming in their eyes, looking for fresh victims while the rest of us, including the chaperones, slunk low in our seats, steadfastly avoided eye contact.

See? Traveling is not all it's cracked up to be. Vacations can mean sunburns or a disappointing amount of rain, forgetting your swimsuit, unfortunate reactions to the local drinking water, an unfavorable exchange rate, customs, a heightened likelihood that you will lose your wallet, locals giving you the evil eye for being less than fluent and arguments over who left the map back at the restaurant sixty miles away.

Oh, who am I kidding? As soon as I can responsibly divert a little cash from our car, house and debt, I am so out of here.

Shalom, everyone.

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