Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The intentional, albeit reluctant tourist, part one.

I've never had an enjoyable vacation, and it goes all the way back to my childhood.

When I was a kid, my parents would announce a road trip, throw my brother and I into the back seat of the car and drive for 3 days. Every so often, Mom sailed a can of Vienna sausage and a sleeve of crackers over the seat to "hold us over." Since we never seemed to stop before pulling back into our own driveway, it never became clear to us what, exactly we were holding for.

Perhaps because my parents were afraid we would escape, there were no scheduled bathroom breaks. Instead, when one of us could no longer hold his or her water, my dad pulled the car onto the shoulder of the road and my mom opened the car door to block the view of passing traffic. The one of us who had yet to demonstrate control over his or her bladder did the deed right there. And woe unto the child who had a more earthy calling, as that meant a trip up into the brush and the briers alongside the road--way up there where the robbers and murderers were hiding--the ones, that is, who hadn't already been run off by the chiggers.

It's strange, I guess, that I don't remember my parents eating or using the facilities during these trips. Perhaps they waited until my brother and I were either asleep or had beat each other senseless to park the car and run into the Hi-De-Ho for a quick burger and bathroom break.

No doubt there were interesting things to be seen on these vacations, and I'm sure my parents enjoyed them. Me--I saw someone else getting all the Vienna sausages and far more of my brothers' business than I imagine I needed to.

When I grew up and married my own co-conspirator, I still didn't enjoy vacations. My husband planned the trip, made the reservations, and turned in his vacation request. I laundered, ironed, and packed everyone's clothes. When the vacation proper began, I Sherpa-ed the child, the camera, extra film, sunscreen, Bandaides, aspirin, Peptol Bismol, and bottles, diapers, and wetnaps. By the time I returned to work, I was exhausted.

I've yet to have a vacation that didn't feel like a kidnapping or a forced march. but I predict that is all about to change.

Image, End of the Road 1964, Shorpy photo archive.

3 comments:

sarah said...

Road trips could be worse...like, "A Good Man is Hard to Find" worse...

Laura said...

My family vacation memories are rife with going even further south and air conditioners that did not function in the back seat. At some point, my brother and I were too hot and tired to even bother fighting. Fun times. My husband can't fathom why I am not just desperate to plan a road trip with our kids!

Mundane Jane said...

Your car had air conditioning?