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Charlie Hatton
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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
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The Third Day’s the Charm

Tomorrow, I’m leaving for a week’s vacation. As much as I enjoy the rare occasions when I’m able to sneak away for a few days, I’d almost forgotten how damned difficult it is. Most everything about a vacation is just hard. In fact, I can’t decide which bit is hardest about it. Here are the candidates:

The last day before a vacation is always the hardest.

“Honey, we’re going to the beach for a week. If you’re dumping more than three thongs and a toothbrush into the suitcase, you’re overpacking.”

That’s where I’m at right now. And if you live a life anything like mine, one day is simply not enough time to get your affairs in proper order for a weeklong absence. Besides the seven minutes of work I’ve accomplished at the office, the vacation-related questions are relentless: Who’s watching the dog? What time does the plane leave? Where the hell’s my passport? Do I have clean underwear? And is it my clean underwear?

Speaking of underwear, I’m a little puzzled over my wife’s packing strategy. Honey, we’re going to the beach for a week. If you’re dumping more than three thongs and a toothbrush into the suitcase, you’re overpacking. And if our bungalow has a mini-bar, even the thongs are optional. Let’s not overthink our stay in paradise, shall we?

The first day of a vacation is always the hardest.

The first instinct upon arriving at a holiday spot is to take immediate advantage. Vacation time is precious, and those days and nights aren’t going to sun-splash and fun-fill themselves, people.

Meanwhile, you’ve likely just endured six hours of stuffy flights or cramped car travel, and you’re pooped. Your back’s in knots, you haven’t slept or eaten real food for ages, and that swampy ‘airplane ass’ of yours is helping no one. You’re in no shape to get out and ‘carpe diem’, unless you happened to pack a hot shower, a power nap, and a turkey sandwich in your luggage. And you know they’d make you check that bag at the gate, and squish it all together. So you’re done. Try again tomorrow, Tonto.

The second day of a vacation is always the hardest.

Of course, ‘tomorrow’ is no better. Sure, you’re cleaned up and properly fed, but strange beds and jetlags are cruel tag-team mistresses. You might hit the door, ready to soak up life in your temporary tropical paradise — but you’ll still end up face-down in your lobster bisque by lunchtime. We office peons take a while to acclimate to the life the ‘other half’ lives, you see. You can take the desk jockey out of the cubicle, but can you take the cubicle out of the desk jockey, really?

Yes. With enough raw sunshine, local booze, and all-you-can-eat crab legs, the answer is yes. But Rome wasn’t built in a day, and a data entry dweeb won’t be tangoing with Consuela in the moonlight on day two. Give it time, gringo.

The next-to-last day of a vacation is always the hardest.

This is the day when you realize that you can’t possibly do all of the things you’d planned for your vacation. You’ve finally grown accustomed to the climate, the customs, and the slackadaisical schedule — but look at that ‘To Do’ list! You didn’t water ski, or bungee jump, or even parasail. Where was the scuba trip, and the fancy dinner, and the jaunt to that quaint little antiques shop outside of town? All your plans, dashed by the looming spectre of a redeye flight back home.

Instead, you spent the whole time playing minigolf and hanging out at the tourist bar, chugging beer and warbling Fatal Eclipse of the Heart for karaoke hour. Not the best use of your time in Eden, certainly — but for the love of god, I hope you at least got it out of your system. That’s just painful to watch.

The last day of a vacation is always the hardest.

The last day of vacation isn’t a real day of vacation at all. In fact, it’s downright crual. Here you are, in the middle of paradise, and what’s on your agenda? Wake up. Pack. Cab to the airport. Weep softly near baggage claim. Go home.

It never feels right leaving a beautiful vacation spot for the humdrum drudgery of home. I’ve always thought vacations should end with a pre-arranged midnight kidnapping. You go to bed one night, and professional snatchers slip into your hotel room, tie you up and blindfold you, and airlift you home. They’d even fly in circles, so you could never find your way back to the tropical hideaway. Assuming they kidnap your travel agent, too. We could do that, for a small additional fee. It’s a ‘value-added’ service.

The first day after a vacation is always the hardest.

How depressing — nay, demoralizing — is it to return from a vacation, back to the home and the office and the life you knew before? All those wondrous sights and smells, the exotic foods, the frolicking, the uncomfortably lax pornography laws — all receding from memory as daily routines and morning commutes sink their treacherous talons into you.

The worst part? All the folks — coworkers, friends, or family members — asking, ‘How was your vacation?‘ Not because they care, of course — they’re just reminding you that ‘that was then, and this is now‘. Your vacation was last week, boyo. Time to get that coffee I asked you for — and where the hell are your TPS reports? Leave ’em on the beach, did we?

Man, am I looking forward to day three of this getaway. That’ll be heaven. No travelling, no packing, no cramming in the ‘good life’ or getting ready for ‘the grind’. Here’s hoping the whole vacation is somehow magically full of day threes. Not that the travel annoyances above apply to me this week, anyway, since I plan on the absolute minimum amount of activity that still includes the words ‘bottomless margarita’. I’ll see you gringos next week.

(But tune in tomorrow, anyway, despite my absence. There might — just might — be a surprise or two in store. And there’s only one way to find out. I can see you’re positively ashiver with anticipation. Oooh.)

Permalink  |  1 Comment

One Response to “The Third Day’s the Charm”

  1. Roofie Raccoon says:

    Today’s the magical perfect day! I hope they’re all good.

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