Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Problem with Me and Vacations

I just got back from a week in Nashville, full of spending time with friends and family. We cook on the grill, smoke cigars, and sit around the fire.

My wife, Elizabeth, does not find this much of a "vacation," but more of a respite.

My beautiful, blue-eyed bride thinks more on vacations as time spent in a foreign country or out camping somewhere exquisitely uncomfortable. I am always happy to take an "actual" vacation with her, but me and my Old Testament fearing, Church of Christ subconscious knows that those reveling in elaborate and expensive vacations will surely be smited.

When I am on an indulgent vacation the incessant worrier in me comes out. Everything is balanced and judged by the weights and measures of which will be the least harmful. Many people want the warmer climates of a Caribbean vacation. Why spend a day in the Caribbean getting sunburned only to travail the remaining six days chaperoned by the despondency of second degree burns? No, no. It's the overcast gray of Scotland or Seattle for me where the worries are at least one less.

The remaining apprehension is focused mainly on the mundane dangers one faces on vacation: Public toilets, taxis, and the local food. The latter of which exacerbates your worries about the first two.

For Example:

When one eats a good piece of Seattle's freshest fish, you have to wonder about oil spills and chemical dumping. Will this fish have the last laugh by having you grow another arm out of your navel or will the reprisal simply be you spending your vacation going down the nearest toilet bowl both ways? This thought alone is enough to make you want to return the partially digested fish to a more suitable habitat other than your stomach.

When you rush from the dining room of the restaurant to the restroom to relieve your nausea, you look upon the toilet and immediately your mind turns to syphilis. There is no record of anyone ever having contracted syphilis from a toilet seat before, but this encounter with one of Seattle's finest commodes will surely land you in the New England Journal of Medicine. Having become suspect of the porcelain bowl, you must make a run for the sidewalk to hail a taxi.

Once in the taxi on the way back to the comforts of your overpriced hotel, with Habeeb Nasir Muhammad behind the wheel, the panic strikes your adrenal gland when contemplating the horrifying condition of the Washington State Taxi Licensing Agency. You don't know anything about the licensing agency, not even if one exists, but you know it's a state agency, and therefore must be in a state of disarray with what is surely fallacious background checks on these drivers.

Your nausea grows as Habeeb takes a turn too sharply, and your immediate impulse is to, of course, believe you are being kidnapped by some Islamic militants who must be using one of Seattle's half a million coffee houses as their cover operation. Your brain conjures up images of being blindfolded in the coffee house cellar accompanied only by the sounds of the whiny, neurotic hoards of Seattle Coffee drinkers and the pungent smell of herbal chai.

It as it this point that all you want in this world is to be in the room where you sit contemplating your paranoia from your recliner. Alas, that's where you are, with the full realization that your next vacation is killing you already.

At least this peek into your next vacation wasn't as bad as my visualization of Liz's proposed trip to Colombia (the one in South America) for Christmas. I'll spare you the complete disclosure of details, but it ended with a return trip through U.S. customs, a kilo of Pablo Escobar's powdery blend, and some rubber gloves.

Stay safe.

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