Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Burning Up on Re-Entry

I hate vacations.

Okay, I don't really, totally hate vacations. I hate that my multiple weirdnesses make it impossible for me not to just take a vacation without overthinking and hyperanalyzing and then coming back feeling like I grew two new elbows and a different nose that make it impossible for me to fit neatly back into my old life. I hate that I sort of don't agree with what one of my profs used to call the 'antiseptic week by the sea' but that I don't have the guts to push everyone in my family a different way. I guess the obvious answer is to just stay home, but somehow I haven't put together a convincing argument for that either.

I'm an anxious traveller. I always have nearly crippling first-day travel depression -- when I went to Jamaica for February break in third year university I spent the first night just looking for a corner to curl up in and get through the week so I could go home again. Now that I know this about myself, it's a little easier to withstand that first day. I once knew a guy who said he didn't think people should travel just to not be where they were, and at the time I thought that was quite profound. But I think now that sometimes travel is good just for that reason -- to make strange the place you live, to change your perspective. Of course, that doesn't really address the issue of this kind of vacation. There are people whose blogs I read, people who I admire, who would sooner spit-roast their own children than take them on a Disney cruise -- the carbon footprint, the bourgeois decadence. Not a lot in the way of eco-exploration or cultural exchange (well, Garfield our Jamaican wine steward did teach Angus quite a lot about cricket...). So under the 'who are we kidding' column, there's the fact that sometimes I want a little bourgeois decadence.

I sort of hate being waited on. I find it uncomfortable knowing that the people who are smiling at me in such a friendly fashion are basically doing so because I have the ability to tip them well for changing my bed linens and bringing me food. But I recognize that it would be uncomfortable for others if I grip the room steward's arm and whisper "I'm sorry" in an emotionally charged sobbing whisper, or jump up and start clearing the table myself, so I deal with it. Then I develop an inexplicable and wholly artificial emotional attachment to everyone and everything associated with the vacation spot so when I leave it's almost physically devastating.

I love giving my children new experiences and indelible memories. Eve was at the precisely perfect moment in her life for this vacation -- every moment was just a big bowlful of awesome for her. Living on a floating hotel, swimming in a pool under a giant movie screen, being hugged by princesses, the restaurant with the black and white cartoons that turn coloured during dinner, and swimming with stingrays (the pinnacle, obviously). Angus and my niece Charlotte had the run of the ship, unlimited swimming and ping pong privileges, 3D movies in a full-sized theatre at their whim, and constant access to the do-it-yourself soft-serve ice cream machine (truthfully, I have trouble not welling up while typing that last thing). Will these experiences make them grow up less environmentally responsible and compassionate? Why am I so wishy-washy?

I know, I make even myself want to barf. Let me start over: We went on a Disney cruise. It was great. I didn't read, blog, worry about what I was eating or follow world events for a week. The kids had a blast with their cousins, I hung out with my sister and brother-in-law and parents, saw some funny magic, some funny music, some people volunteering to be hypnotized and make asses of themselves (which in my book just never gets old) and spent some time sitting on my balcony listening to music and just watching the ocean go by. So I threw my principles overboard for the week. At least we tipped everyone really well.

8 comments:

Nicole said...

I know what you mean. Disney! It's just so entirely artificial and all the resources spent maintaining the high happy quotient...eek! But yet we are taking the kids to Disneyland next month, despite my anxiety about crowds, germs, etc. I think the kids will love it though.

Kelly said...

I am one of those anti-Disney people, but I would never begrudge anyone a good time -- especially when the good times involves a break from routine and good time spent with family.

Welcome back!

Sandra said...

Heaven!...Decadence!...good for you for sitting back and chillin'. Oh, and by the way, I read the comment you left me regarding cliques and whatnot, and I have to tell you that the reason I come by is because I like you. You're funny! Oh, and I love when you post pictures of phallic shaped cookies...I'm sorry, but I'm all about the phallic!
Seriously, I think you're terrific and it's always fun coming here.

Amber said...

I think sometimes we all need a little bourgeois decadence. It's how I justified my spa visit last year. Which included swimming in a pool filled with water they FLY OVER FROM HUNGARY. Can you imagine the carbon footprint? But it felt awesome, all the same.

Mom of the Perpetually Grounded said...

Sounds like a great time! There is just something about anything Disney that makes you want to leave your principles home with the laundry. Oh yeah, the decadence ; )

Nan | WrathOfMom said...

We went to Disney last year and when we got home a friend said, "You are pretty much the last person I would ever expect to enjoy Disneyland." Screw that. It was fun. No other justification is required.

Lynn said...

Word. I have similar issues with travelling and being waited on. Glad you had fun, glad to have you back!

Patti Murphy said...

I bet you think I'm one of those spit-roast-my-children people. No, I do not want to take my children on a hike through the Himalayas. I'd rather be a live liver donor.

A Disney cruise sounds awesome. Oli refuses to go. I may arrange a trip for my sister, me, our girls and my mom though. But I had Spain, so I don't want to be greedy.