Thursday, May 6, 2010

Perhaps A Barge Down The Nile

A wasted day. An absolutely wasted day. I hate days like this...days when I arrive at the office with every intention of being productive. But after I walk into my office and sit down in my big blue leather chair a funk settles over me. I drum my fingers on the desk and stare out the window, I groan every time the phone rings. I Google Castles in Ireland, or the cost of flying from Atlanta to Heathrow in - let's see - six months from now. Then I remember how I hate flying. How about Nova Scotia? I can actually drive all the way to Nova Scotia. What is there to see and do there? And I spend the next hour flitting from Nova Scotia to Prince Edward Island to the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and up to Mackinac Island. (My mind never goes very far west, nor any more south than where I currently am).

Some time ago ( truth some decades ago) I was at a party in Hawaii at a friend's condo - which had a lovely view of Diamond Head. We were a group of about 8 or 9 from all over the world, drawn together because not many of us could afford to fly back home very often (or in my case ever) for years at a time. So we became family to each other, spending holidays hanging out together. All young, all hopeful, all very clever (or so we thought - things aren't always what they seem to be, alas.) One of the guys in our group was into psychology. I can't remember now if he was working on his Ph.d. or not, but as I recall he worked in the field. In any event, at this particular party "D" was listening to me expound on some thing or another. I am quite confident I droned. He was a very rapt audience, looking very intently at me (he was also rather drunk). I finished my point. Silence. Seconds passed. He continued to stare me down. Discomfort mounting, I was about to shout, "Okay - What?" when he said, "Linda, for you, analysis would be a complete waste." He took another swig of whatever he was drinking, hiccuped, and fell asleep on the floor.

I am now trying to remember why I told you this story. Oh, yes. Here it is: I never have to wonder why I feel the way I feel, or why I think the way I think, or do the things I do. I just know myself. I am not sure if that is an unusual trait. I'm so used to it, it doesn't seem at all odd to me. Maybe it is something one is born with - like being right-handed, or being able to tie a cherry stem into a knot with ones tongue, or being very very limber. (Which reminds me -most competitive swimmers are born with a ligamentous laxity in their shoulder joints, which in the rest of us might be diagnosed as Multidirectional Instability but for them makes them better swimmers. In other words, my abnormal can be someone else's normal.)

So, I do not have to ask myself why I am staring into space and thinking of castles in Ireland. I know why I can't focus properly on tasks at hand, whether it is answering my business correspondence or cleaning out the hall closet. I know myself, you see. I need a vacation. I have not had a vacation since my eldest son was in the 5th grade and we went to the mountains for a week. He will turn 30 this summer. How pathetic is that?

Well, blast and damn I've had enough! I'm fired up and I'm going to do it. And I'm not just talking about a long weekend visit with family. This year I am going on a Vacation - (note the capital "V"). A real one. I'm going to pack my bags and brush the dust off my traveling shoes and...well...just go. I might pin a map to the wall and throw a dart. I might travel by pack mule or by paddle wheel up the Mississippi. But go I shall. Blessed relaxation - with nothing to do but read and drink those little drinks with the paper umbrellas. I'll remember to take lots of pictures - maybe from the top of a pyramid.


  1. Hurrah!
    Stretch your mind waaay south! Come to Australia! Failing that, come to England, because it looks like I might be there with beds to spare for a couple of months this summer... *wheedling* go on, Grad. A bit of international jet-setting, that's what you need.
    Wherever you do go, watch out for the drinks with little umbrellas. They mean us no good, no good at all.
    PS I love the idea of Multidirectional Instability - clearly that is what is wrong with me, just, y'know, without the swimming skill...

  2. Dear Grad: you work in a carriage house, there is a ghost, and you have a chair and get to sit in it? any openings?

  3. Oh my god, Graddikins, yes, you DO need a vacation, and fast. That's an appalling length of time between swizzle sticks.

    I must weigh in here and second Fugitive's motion: come to Australia! I mean, if you're going to fly anyway, you may as well make it count... only problem is, we're heading into winter...not so hot, in my opinion. We also fail to capture the exotic vote. Pyramids have us there. But we'd still love to have you. How exciting!! Where's somewhere you've always really, really wanted to see? May we please have your list of top 10 options??

  4. Yes, vacation is a must. Pyramids would be interesting and a cruise down the Nile probably fun. If you're ever in Cape Town then you must come and visit. Although I would have to agree with Di that the winter is not the best time to visit the Southern Hemisphere countries. I vote for the Castles in Ireland!

  5. Hi Jody! When I lived in southern California I never made it up to northern Cali where you are. Although if you had been there, I'd have made a special effort. Have you been able to read the book yet?

    Fugitive, one day I will go to Australia. It is one of those exotic places I yearn to see. Tell me, is it really the land where the mythical bong tree grows? I figure if there was a bong tree growing somewhere it would have to be there, in a country with Dugongs, and Quakka, and Numbats, and Bogong Moths.

    Bibliophiliac, as a teacher I know you would relish my comfy chair. And to make you even more envious, the ghost gives foot massages when he's not clanking around the carriage house - something every teacher can appreciate.

    Doctordi, I think Australia sounds like one of the most exotic places I've ever heard of. And I'd come home saying things like, "That bloke is fair dinkum," or "The nong was bumpin' his gums and got into an open slather." My top 10 you see a blog post in that??

  6. Pete, if I went down the Nile I'd insist on Cleopatra style. Isn't it weird that our summer is your winter? Although, I have to tell you, as much as I loved Hawaii it was depressing going to the beach on Christmas day. It's just not the way Dickens would have done it. I've found a B&B in Killarney, actually, that I've put on my list. Europe is something I'll have to plan for - next year probably. So, back to the map of the U.S. I'm going to make a circle of about 500 miles, and see what falls within.

  7. come to hawaii!

    i totally understand the i want to go there but then i hate flying thing. i have set up a life with possibly the longest commute in the world--hawaii to london--and i hate flying. i love the being there but the getting there and the preparing to get there... eew.

    but hawaii is easy from atlanta! switch once (la or phoenix or somewhere in the middle) and you are there!

    knowing yourself is a rare but lovely trait.

  8. Do it now, Grad. Do it now. Not as far as Australia or Hawaii. Not as exotic as the Nile. Nor as steeped in history as London. But we have the space, if you have the time.

  9. p.s. re the previous:

    never, never drive back to a darkened deserted office!

    ok? It's a deal!

  10. Yes I do think there is a blog post in your top 10 - naturally!!

  11. Priya, the act of traveling can undo all the good of a relaxing vacation. But when the final destination is Hawaii...well. I really miss Aloha Fridays and wearing plumaria leis to work.

    Shelley, as tempted as I was, and as much as I wanted to read Wolf Hall that night, discretion was the better part of valor.

    Choo Choo Man, fire up the grill (I like my whiskey on the rocks!)

    Doctordi, I'm working on it even as we speak.

  12. Wherever it is, I know you will have splendid vacation. And I love the fact that you know your own mind, Grad........

  13. Tinky, I'm a bit out of practice in the vacation department, but I'm a quick study!

  14. I could use a vacation too but with another year of school to go it's going to be awhile. so I envy you your vacation and am very excited for you too. You must post all about your plans and stuff so I can live vicariously :) And if you decide to travel up the Mississippi, I'm in Minneapolis you know, big city in the north on your left :)

  15. I'm ready when you are!

  16. Bless your heart, you DO need a vacation if it has been that long! Can't wait to hear where your travels take you. I would not recommend anyone coming to my neck of the woods (Arizona) for the next several months, although it can be lovely at other times of the year ... I'm aiming to plan a vacation myself so I can escape the heat come July!

  17. Have a missed something: did you decide where you're going?

    Sadly, I guess it should not be the Gulf Coast (I'm listening to the hearings; BP and Halliburton CEO's making excuses, sigh....)

  18. Feeling impatient for that list. Dead curious.