A Vacation Chronology
I think it was Clark Griswold that said, “Vacations are mostly in your head.” Or maybe, “Vacations are 99% mental.” Something like that.
Are your vacations anything like mine? I’m off this week, and right now I’m thinking:
Day 2 of 9 away from “the office.” And it’s only the beginning of day two! The illusion of freedom is so strong on day 2 of 9.
But this story more properly begins on…
Day “Minus 60”
What? It’s the autumnal equinox already? Summer’s over? What is there to live for?
Thanksgiving and its four-day reprieve.
Although, wouldn’t five days be better? Let’s mark that Wednesday down as a vacation day and secure the necessary approvals.
It seems like a long way away, but experience tells me the day will eventually arrive.
Day Minus 45
Escape still seems far off, but I remind myself that the anticipation of vacation is also a source of enjoyment, and lasts much longer.
This is also a good time to entertain the vague notion that something will change over vacation, and I’ll find a better way to live. I’ll see my way to a job where I’m not “working for the weekend, and a week in the spring.” (Thank you, Jason Spooner, for your melancholy yet heartening lyrics.)
I have a large hope for an epiphany, greater than the small hope that arrives with every weekend before evaporating Sunday afternoon.
Day Minus 30
Only four more full weeks until vacation/holiday. I can hang on until then, I think.
Day Minus 14
I wonder if I can take off Monday and Tuesday of Thanksgiving week also? With queries to my bosses at work and home eliciting an encouraging response, I realize I must have these days.
Day Minus 5
I’m afraid to believe. It’s not really going to happen. Something will come up at work to spoil the plan. At the same time, everything becomes more tolerable as it all gets pushed to “after the holiday.” That’s like forever away. I nod my head in agreement a lot; Monday, November 28th will never arrive.
Day Minus 1
Am I really going to be “free?” What will erupt today to eff this whole thing up? And even if nothing today, I can hear a ringing phone in my future. There are too many people out of the office next week. It can go either way: everything will be held up, or there will be quixotic phone calls from deluded people hoping to perpetrate work.
“Honey, please don’t answer that phone…”
Day Minus 1, After Hours
Oh, yeah. A shuddering moan of pleasure as the laptop is powered down and stowed away in the bag. Nine days off, stretching ahead to infinity and beyond.
Day 1 of 9
Oh, yeah, still. All of the days ahead, full of promise and freedom.
Day 2 of 9
And we’re caught up. Day two! Woohoo! Still awesome. The duration of freedom is still effectively forever in length.
But it occurs to me… there is one less day now. I mean, it’s okay, there are so many left, but… it being Sunday, I have residual memories of normal Sundays and the creeping dread of… no! This is not a normal Sunday. It’s day 2 of 9. (Yeah!)
Looking ahead, I can make some predictions:
Day 3 of 9
Things are still well. They’re great! The “special” days are just starting. Any time in the first half of a vacation qualifies as a good time, clearly, because you have as many days in the bank as have already been spent. There are so many days lined up that reaching the end of them remains inconceivable.
Dangers: The aforementioned phone calls, plus the possibility of contracting whatever virus and associated fever the kid had last week. That would suck.
Day 4 of 9
Day 5 of 9
Not a “dreaded” day, but here’s that day we knew would come. The halfway point. I don’t have to acknowledge it yet, with so many days left, but the impermanence of this blissfully free time cannot be ignored much longer.
But, no! It’s only Wednesday.
Let’s think about it this way: the entire four-day holiday weekend awaits.
Day 6 of 9
Ah… Thanksgiving Day. A day of family and food, and still a three-day weekend following.
If all went well with Amazon Prime delivery, we’re playing with our new Amazon Kindle Fire and enjoying the new Zelda game on the Wii. I may not be a fan of Black Friday, but I pursue my consumer desires like any good American. (And again let’s hear it from Mr. Spooner, paraphrased this time: “There’s a big black hole inside, fill it with merchandise.”)
Day 7 of 9
It’s… Friday? Things are starting to look a bit shaky. There has been no epiphany. No pot of gold discovered at the end of our driveway. This is the last “special” day. Later today it will just be a normal weekend. Although not really. On a normal weekend, there isn’t a mournful sense of loss… a whole week of vacation. Dead. All that anticipation and expectation, flushed away, forever.
Day 8 of 9
Saturday. Desperately trying to enjoy this last full day where… it doesn’t lie in wait on the other side of sleep. It being the specter of the job. Responsibility. Expectations. Toiling in a cube farm doing The Man’s work.
Day 9 of 9
Sunday. Nearly intolerable despair, of course, but…
Christmas is only a month away. Maybe I can make it until then.