How i spent my summer vacation
One of the best parts of a vacation is the positive outlook that comes from pleasant anticipation. Another benefit is the glow, which allows you to feel good about the world. A general guideline that I have is to live in the present and not long for the past or the future too much; But making brief exceptions for things like vacations can bring some of the benefits of the vacation itself to your daily life. Thinking briefly “Yeah, that was great!” or “I’m really going to enjoy this trip!” It can add to the lightness of your day, assuming you don’t lean on it as a requirement for your happiness. Being stressed out and saying to yourself “I’ll be happy in 6 weeks when I’m at the beach” doesn’t really help you live lightly in the moment and can even create pressure to perform on your vacation and disappointment afterward. Instead, don’t pack or return with emotional baggage; But consider your vacation as an addition to the wonderful existence you are building. Here are some memories from my last trip.
I flew from Dayton to Baltimore with a newer airline. Nice all the new jets. Its large overhead made it easy to store my one large carry-on. I’m still puzzled why it was so heavy. Probably my big socks … Reading Popular Science on the flight, I revisited my teenage fondness for that magazine. Oh how I long for the garage of the future now.
In Baltimore I rented a fancy new sedan with a Wall Street Journal on the dash. Nice touch guys, but no more reading for me that day! I was on the beach in Ocean City at noon watching the storks dive; watching the children advance towards the water and retreat screaming with the waves.
I hadn’t been to the beach in a couple of years and noticed one thing was different. Before when walking the waterline, I was careful to walk in front of a bent little boy digging on the beach because the sand would most likely fly back between his legs when he least expected it. Now everyone has their own shovel; and not the little plastic handles that come with your beach bucket. we are talking about wooden shafts and D-grip handles. It is very important to dig a hole when you get to the beach.
One of the playgrounds on the boardwalk at Rehoboth Beach was called Funland. A sign read “No Smoking at Funland.” I kept imagining a parallel universe sign … “There is no fun in Smokingland”
The Salisbury motel was a 1950s type place. In fact, it was its last week of operation. The owner was friendly, happy to retire, and shared a few stories from time to time. Next year there will be a shopping center. The open spaces and driveway lights out front provided the kind of scenery a nightingale prefers. One seems to be following me. I would check the accuracy of his repeated calls every morning as I packed the car for my day trips.
I made a big rookie mistake on Saturday. I had put on some sunscreen when getting out of the car and then wandered around in search of a decent cup of coffee. Looking at the basic Italian food menu board, I asked the Russian girl behind the counter which item she thought had the best name. I loved when she perked up and without hesitation she pronounced slowly and dramatically lengthening the oh sounds of “calzone pepperoni”. A little thing like that can jump in my stride and make me feel pretty carefree, which is the whole point of the trip. . So I kicked off my shoes and headed to the beach thinking that having lunch at the Ocean Club, a few miles away, would be fine. Later I realized that I had not put sunscreen on my feet.
Of course, my feet were fried. In the sun for most of the day, you could have also put them in a microwave oven for 20 minutes. The slightest brush against them the next day produced a stabbing pain. I grabbed a large bottle of Aloe Vera gel and kept pouring it. They were so swollen that if you loosened the laces and left your shoes open, they were still tight. Now here’s the interesting part … and really let me assure you that this didn’t ruin a single day of my vacation … when I stood up there was an explosion of deep pain more severe than anything I have ever felt; The kind of things that tell you to pass out, drop to your knees, scream, freak out, anything to stop it. I’m thinking “I know if I sit back I will feel better, but this is the second day of my vacation and I am not going to sit in the motel all day.” Taking a step he felt better on the raised foot. Putting weight back on it was like I had put my foot under the wheel of a moving truck, so half bending at my knees with each step I kept moving and most unbelievably … all the pain was gone after 3 or so 4 steps! I guess walking helped me pump the blood out of my swollen feet that were already almost exploding.
My choice for the next few days was clear; Keep moving or stay away. I kept moving, walking miles every day. If I stopped walking for even a second, the pain bombs would detonate in my feet. So if you were lining up for lunch or at a theme park, it would seem like you really enjoyed the music, bouncing from one foot to the other. At a urinal it probably seemed like I really had to go, settling for the half pain associated with shifting my weight from one foot to the other standing there. The right foot was a little worse than the left and on the third day I found that I could stand half a minute on my left foot if I raised my right leg behind me. The biggest absurdity occurred when I found myself balancing on my left foot, my right leg arched behind me as I stood on the toilet. I figured it must look like a clown Roman fountain. I was so focused on pushing the foot pain envelope that it didn’t occur to me until then that I was able to sit up. What can I say? Guys are weird.
I took the Lewes / Cape May ferry north and checked out Wildwood. There was a shooting range between intermediate type games. The sign read “Wack the Iraq.” Paintball guns were fired at live targets wearing Saddam and Osama masks. I was so in awe of its existence that I had to turn around and look again, stopping later to take a couple of pictures. I am for the war on terror, but that blatant racist attack was quite surprising. A few steps down the boardwalk and hermit crabs and frozen custard would be back to normal. I walked so much that I didn’t worry too much about the diet. Ice cream, boardwalk fries, chocolate covered strawberries and calzOHnee pepper.
I enjoyed the scenery at Busch Gardens on a semi rainy day, chilled my jets at Kings Dominion water park, and walked Virginia Beach one night. The main street is populated with paid artists and some were quite good. Still unable to stand still without the kind of pain that would send me to the sidewalk, I circled the area where a decent jazz trio was playing, enjoying all the sights and sounds.
I spent the 4th of July in Ocean City. “The Navy Cruisers” A group of musicians from the Navy performed on the beach and they sounded pretty good. I walked through the crowd and sat on the sand right in front of the stage. The Navy concert band followed; real music from real musicians. Hymns can really get to me; make tears flow. They did some “Guys and Dolls” and “Grease” stuff … but when the Cruiser singer came out and sang God Bless America it was amazing. Such a loud voice … a crowd behind me on their beach blankets at sunset waiting for the fireworks. A couple of children to my right lay in their freshly dug holes in front of the band in gaping amazement. To my left, a Coast Guard boat bobbed in the waves near shore, keeping pleasure boats safe from fireworks and protecting thousands of people on the beach from who knows what. It reaches the top at the end of the song loud and strong with this incredible orchestration performed behind it, screaming whistles and applause that rise at the apparent end of the song and then the phrase repeats itself singing louder, clearer and louder “God Bless America”. With the band rising to the new tonality with the full range of tinkling bells, strings, cymbals colliding, all spun, rising and filling thousands of souls on that beach with the depth of sound. It was beautiful.
The fireworks paled in comparison. As I walked away during the beginning, I found myself enjoying the way the bombs clanged down a side street. Leaning against a signpost during the finale, he still had pretty good eyesight. A homeless-looking gentleman was sitting motionless on the nearby ground. Next to me, a teenager relaxed on his bike. The final fireworks were a satisfying 5 minutes of constant multiple explosions. After a few seconds of silence after the last catch, the homeless man looked at me and the boy on the bike, laughing like a maniac. Distant cheers rising from the beach mingled with the chorus of car alarms set off by the bombs. Everybody loves a show. I smiled and walked a couple miles back to my car enjoying shows like the man too drunk to walk and the amazing lady who walked almost as fast as me … I complimented her on her speed.
Now if I had oversold the vacation in my anticipation, the sunburn might have made me miserable. And he would still be whining instead of looking back in amusement. But I was able to move on and have one of my best vacations. Mainly it was sun, sand and waves that left me completely recharged. I don’t have to do it again to be happy … but I probably will.