This is when it happens. The holidays are back there nearly three months, the workload is beginning to take off, and a legitimate spring is maddenly elusive. You begin to go nuts, a condition your significant other sees and tells you, certainly more than once. You believe her or him and decide you can at least take refuge in that.
Not good enough. There just has to be some relief. We got to talking about that last night and the obvious conclusion — to us, anyhow — was to get out of town. So where to? Well, California was out, because we do, after all, live here. Boston sounded great, but there is the snow factor and we’re not big on winter sports of any kind, plus we’d be sitting by ourselves in Fenway. Chicago missed the cut for similar reasons. But then there was the idea of an Amtrak ride to San Francisco (that’s Northern California, folks, which might as well be in another country), and you know that would appeal to me. We’ll see.
Cabin fever. The thing about it is that I’ve never figured out why it hits you just about now, much in the same vague way that new car fever strikes in June. Could be the lack of “markers” or holidays that stretches from New Years to Memorial Day — I’m not counting religious events here — without anything that breaks the monotony. Don’t say spring break either, because that only comes into play if you’re a student and can find personal entertainment of some kind.
And wouldn’t you know it, just a couple of days ago, TCM ran “Where the boys are,” the nutty celebration — early ’60s style — of the annual invasion of Fort Lauderdale by college students from the frozen north. Leave it to the kids; they knew how to fill up the slack time. Back in the day, those of us who lacked both the imagination and the wherewithal could only sigh with envy.
Understand that we’re not really talking about boredom here. You can always find ways to use what you have of spare time. You know: fix the fence, finish “War and Peace,” move forward on the dog wars with the neighbors, do the miserable taxes, do the spring planting, get the car detailed, apologize for a couple of slights to a friend (involving a dinner where you pay), find an organic market.
What I’m talking about is getting out of Dodge. Re-discovering, if only for two or three days, some small part of the rest of the world and maybe chewing the fat with people who don’t share the same zip code as you do. No need to go crazy; I’m sure the hotel rates in Libya have bottomed out, but I’m thinking about slightly more local turf. A significant change in business as usual.
Well, and you know what the payoff is: when you get back you have a better appreciation of the old hacienda. Your favorite things are right where they were when you headed down the road. You’re not in circumstances where you’re confronted with not knowing how things work, showering with miniature prison soap and “Will they charge us if we use this thing?” Back home there’s little chance that the stack of mail will contain announcements that the company has rolled over or your Uncle Fred chose the moment you left town to take his own leave of the planet. Your next door neighbor actually says she’s glad to see you back and that she has kept an eye on the place.
We definitely need a break and we’ll figure out something, but the real fun will be describing our adventures to our friends on our return.