Measured Extravagance

2001-07-08 - 4:32 p.m.

[a written flowers project]

From the collab-mistress: "What is the most remarkable vacation story you have? It could be the story of how you got lost, fell in love, got stuck with your relatives, or whatever. What significance did this experience have for your life once you arrived back home? Tell us about it! I just came back from a fairly weird vacation myself. So spill the beans."

[Mechaieh succumbs to the urge to put on the Go-Go's as she ponders the topic.]

It's awfully tempting to be coy and reply, "My most remarkable vacation hasn't happened yet." After all, not only is there The List, but I'm also yearning to visit friends in Philadelphia, San Francisco, Arizona and Maine, and Kale was telling me about Amsterdam, and I want to get back to Detroit to see Contact, and talking about Chicago over lunch today brought on a wave of homesickness, and, and, and...

...and, frankly, my life isn't the kind where one can point to a "most remarkable" moment, vacationing or otherwise. I'm struggling with this month's If question for the same reason: there's never just one. I'm resistant to categorizing anything as my mostest or my only - especially if I don't know that you'll understand that I will give you a different answer tonight, and another answer tomorrow, and still yet another variation a year from now. Not because I'm incapable of making up my mind, but because my life has multiple dimensions, and different things are going to matter at different times.

But as is my wont, I think I'm taking the topic a trifle too seriously, so I'll try to lighten up here. Some of my more memorable holidays? Let's see:

Boston. . .

My two-week solo road-trip through North Carolina and Virginia May before last. Not bad for a navigationally-impaired chick who'd never driven on a freeway until age 24. Plus it meant I finally got to tour Colonial Williamsburg, a promise I'd made to myself back in eighth grade.

Ten days in London and Edinburgh - in Camden Town with friends from graduate school, and in Edinburgh with a lesbian couple and their pet Pomeranian. Just the right balance of aloneness and companionship in both cases - during the day, I'd head out on my own and see the sights while my hosts attended to their jobs, and at night I'd return to their flats for conversation and tea and Scotch.

Riding pillion on the Beautiful Young Man's 250R to and from New Orleans (through assorted cloudbursts with no rainsuit, I might add). There's something satisfying about getting "You did WHAT?" looks from folks who think nothing of riding 1,000 miles in 24 hours.

We also got "You're doing WHAT?" looks when we decided to vacation in Winnipeg. In March. Yes, it was cold, but it was also free from whiny children and drunk morons. Hah!

Our hostess on Ile d'Orleans rushing in to the breakfast room to announce "Diana est decedée!" The flags at half-mast in the English provinces but remaining at full-mast in French-majority towns...

My dinner date getting stuffed into a police car in Chicago.

Watching an Italian butcher in the Bronx smoothly bisect a lamb while waiting to purchase our rabbits for Easter dinner.

And, and, and. . .

How did these change my life back home? I'm more confident visiting unfamiliar cities. I learned that I should root for the Tottenham Hotspurs and the Glasgow Rangers. I wear my leather jacket with slightly more panache than before. I recommend visiting Canada instead of Cancun for spring break. I think of homemade grape jelly and Siamese cats named Kiwi when I remember the hysteria over Princess Diana (that, and Che's opening song in Evita: "Oh what a circus, oh what a show..."). I have fun anecdotes for dinner conversation (come to think of it, I've mentioned both the 21st District and the bunny kebabs over recent suppers). . .

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