Monday, July 24, 2006

vacation

I’m on vacation this week. I’m not really sure if it’s a valid one or not. Virtually every person who has found out that I’m on vacation has asked me the same question. “So where are you going?” It got me to wondering….at what point in history did vacation become defined by where one goes? What I mean is, what location apart from my normal existence would validate my not being in the office for an extended period of time? I’ve been surrounded by the private school crowd for the past 6 years. Within that culture, vacation destinations are like merit badges to achieve. I know that I’m out of my league when a week in Hawaii is considered routine, average, middle of the road, no brain vacation. I thought that Cancun sounded exotic, until I learned of Cabo San lucas. The theory seems to be the harder it is to say, the more desirable it is to stay. Anyway, I know families with vacation homes in other parts of the world and seemingly other parts of the galaxy. So what can I offer? How do you compete? Two words…. “You don’t”.
I can’t compete, so I refuse to compete, therefore my vacation is actually the last place that anyone would consider vacation. It’s at home. I used to feel bad about that. I had dreams of visiting the worlds largest ball of twine, shooting it out with Jesse James in some “Frontier Town”, or driving the family truckster to the Grand Canyon. My wife and I used to have an illusion that our kids would think that a vacation with mom and dad would be cool. My wife still thinks that. I have asked her to quit suggesting it as my kids eye rolling has gotten so pronounced that I fear their eyes will be permanently rolling and then we’ll need to spend our vacation money on eye care.
I understand their thinking. I still remember my “family vacations” growing up. Riding all over the country in the back seat of a Pinto with my sister has left it’s mark on my personality. We have been on numerous family “trips” that most families would have considered vacations. The problem for us is that they have always somehow been associated with my career. We drove throughout the East coast to camps, conferences, and the like. We even drove across the country on a vacation that was disguised as a move to the West coast. We drove back across the country on a vacation that was disguised as taking my son to college. My wife and I spent two weeks in New Orleans this Spring cleaning up after last years hurricane. I am so tired of traveling over theses past several years that we cancelled a Summer trip that we didn’t even have to pay for. We are always flying, driving, walking, biking, hitching, sailing, or crawling somewhere. I’ve realized that the only place we haven’t been is home. Home will be a change of scenery. Home will be a change of routine. Home will be a bit more peaceful. I’m turning the phone off and not answering the door. We even have a new privacy fence in our backyard. I can’t really think of any place that I’d rather be for vacation than home.
So don’t pity me that I can’t or won’t be going anywhere else for vacation this year. I have a sure thing. I like the beds, the food is amazing, the weather is magnificent and I don’t have to sell anything to afford the gas.

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