Ramblin’ Man

I’ve been thinking lately that it would be nice to take a vacation. But with my self-imposed work schedule, that’s pretty much impossible these days.

Vacations are something you save up for; spending the money that you work all year to earn. I can be just as happy keeping the money.

I could take my computer with me for a “working vacation.” That’s an oxymoron if there ever was one. Let’s fly down to Acapulco so you can enjoy the cuisine and nightlife while I sit in the cabana pecking away at my keyboard. Bring me back some leftovers. Yippee.

It occurred to me that vacations are more about a state of mind than a physical location. Sometimes, especially if there’s a lot of noise in the neighborhood, I’ll turn on an app on my phone that plays white noise. I can choose from various themes; I usually opt for the rainstorm noise. Nothing puts me to sleep like the sound of rain.

There are also jungle noises, ocean waves, crickets chirping. Who can sleep to the sound of crickets? But those different sounds can transport me, in my mind, to a different location.

So, I took a virtual vacation the other day. The weather was nice, so I spread a blanket down and turned on the sound of ocean waves crashing against rocks. It was an electric blanket to simulate the heat of the pretend sand beneath me. I spread some hot coals on the ground so I could walk on them to get the realistic feel of a scorching beach.

In one corner of the yard, I put on a Beach Boys album to get into the mood. On the opposite corner, I blared awful rap music to simulate being on an actual public beach. Then, I had a neighborhood kid come over and kick sand in my face every few minutes. It was just like the real thing.

I already drive 9-10 hours a week for work, so I just pretended that I drove to the beach. After an hour of misery, I was ready to be home again. But instead of having to drive 9 or 10 hours home, I was already there.

For my next virtual vacation, I put on the sounds of the jungle. Strange birds making startling screeches along with the chatter of monkeys. I set up a tent outside and filled it with mosquitos so I could swat and swear just like being on an actual safari. I put a heater in the tent to get the temperature up around 110 degrees. I roasted grasshoppers and assorted roadkill for the full effect. I can tell you, possum does not taste like chicken.

My jungle jaunt lasted about 30 minutes. That was enough to make me appreciate the comforts of home. Plus, I needed to get back to work.

My wife tells me we don’t need to go anywhere because everyday with me is a vacation. Considering what my vacations have been like, I’m not sure that’s a compliment.

It’s nice to take a break from work, but vacations are a lot of work themselves and don’t always provide the respite that we so desperately seek. On the other hand, I can’t really call what I do “work.” Work implies getting a paycheck — something I haven’t had in three years and oddly don’t miss.

Who needs vacations when you’re already living the dream?

© Copyright 2017 by David Porter who can be reached at porter@ramblinman.us. Vacations should be relaxing, enjoyable and make you happy. You call them vacations; I call them cigars.