I have something in common with pretty much every person on earth – aside from being a person and living on this planet: I love vacations. Just the
word itself, vacation, resonates to me like a gentle wave washing across stretches of powdery, white sand, or like the elevated laughter of children enjoying their first ride on a merry-go-round.
Vacation literally means (I’m guessing) to vacate and shun your everyday surroundings. Being on vacation then would suggest travel is on the agenda. And what’s not to love about travel? It’s an opportunity to experience the unfamiliar, or to relive the familiar of past vacations. Travel can be exotic, relaxing, educational, and fun. I could go on, so I will. Who doesn’t become all tingly with excitement while sketching out itineraries, scouring vibrant brochures, or visualizing the ultimate snorkeling destination? Me – that’s who.
Don’t get me wrong; I love vacations, as I’ve mentioned. To me though, a vacation means not having to do the same things I normally do every day. Go to the gym at five in the morning? No thanks. I’m on vacation. Wash the dishes after I eat? (Or in my case, throw away my paper plate after I eat?) Nope. Sorry. I’m on vacation.
I realize that going on vacation, in the traditional sense, implies going somewhere, but it also implies an anticipated measure of fun, or pleasure. Travel stopped becoming pleasurable to me when I realized the anticipation was always more enjoyable than the trip itself. Anymore, just the thought of packing a suitcase is unnerving. I cringe when I think of our hall closet shelf, the top one, where our bags reside like a house of cards, waiting for their chance to be part of the next day’s headline: MAN KILLED BY SUITCASE. Also, I’m not sure why we keep our suitcases nested one inside the other. Possibly it’s to conserve space. The more likely explanation though is it’s the only way they can weigh enough, collectively, to be lethal.
Assuming I survive the assassin luggage, I still have to somehow get to point B. There are no good options. I’d rather walk to any destination than travel by air. I suppose if I were wealthy enough to own a jet I’d reconsider. But I’m only wealthy enough to afford a middle seat in coach, sometimes with a nice view of the emergency exit-row seats up
ahead – the ones behind the seats that don’t recline. If I had my own jet, I could park it at the airport five minutes from my house – the small, stress-free, private planes only airport. Instead, I leave the house hours before my flight, which, although never necessary, is a stipulation of the wife/travel coordinator agreement I signed in my sleep years ago. Take a train or a bus? Trains don’t roll where I live, and I’d have to take a one-hour cab ride to get to the bus terminal. And no offense to buses or trains, but I’m pretty sure I’d need a vacation after traveling more than a hundred miles on either.
I’ve considered driving, thinking at least I wouldn’t have to travel somewhere just to travel somewhere. I don’t mind driving, but after five minutes in the car, my wife is sound asleep. Five minutes later, she wakes up and begins searching for a rest stop. It’s a perpetual cycle. The only reason I ever drive anywhere is that I have this fantasy of
discovering a surviving Howard Johnson’s restaurant, buying plates of fried clams, and stuffing them into the leftover spaces of my executioner/suitcase. Have you ever tasted HoJo’s clams?
I know. I’m strange. I checked with AARP, and was able to confirm that I’m not yet curmudgeon age, so I don’t think that’s my problem, if indeed I have one. Maybe I should have been born a century or so from now, when getting to a vacation spot will be as easy as stepping into a Star Trek style beam me there machine. It’s possible I could enjoy one of those – unless I have to travel to it.
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Harry Margulies is the author of The Knowledge Holder and the to-be-released The Weight of the Moon. When he’s not writing about romance, money, women and other subjects he thoroughly enjoys but knows nothing about, he’s frittering his precious time as a cartoonist.
Fried clams from Woodman’s of Essex
Star Trek logo courtesy of PhiLIP