I am not a magician.
No. I cannot make a giant motorcycle disappear and then amazingly bring it back lower down in the post. I am unable to do that.
“We never expected you to do that.”
Good. Because I can’t.
“Then why did you bring up that you’re not a magician?”
What I mean is that I am not a magician in the sense that I cannot take an uneventful vacation and make it scintillatingly exciting. Let me quickly assure you, however, that an uneventful vacation is not necessarily a disappointing vacation.
It’s all a question of expectations. If you visit a presumed exciting destination and the experience turns out to be disappointing, that’s a disappointing vacation. If, conversely, however, you visit an unexciting destination and it turns out to be unexciting, that could in fact be a wonderful vacation because you got exactly what you were counting on.
The delicious exquisiteness of “nothing happening.”
Case In Point: Michiana, 2017. (Which made the uneventfulness of Michiana, 2106 feel comparatively like the Mardi Gras.)
Thinking back on the matter, it appears to me that, with sporadic exceptions such as our spectacular excursion to Turkey four of five years ago, my preferred traveling destinations – Hawaii, the fitness place that we go to in Mexico, and our annual excursion to Michiana – are unilaterally “nothing happens” destinations.
So I guess I enjoy them. Slow down. Take it easy. No infuriating “Robo-calls.” No demanding duties and obligations. That’s apparently my vacation regimen of choice.
Or is it?
It only recently occurred to me that our current vacation configuration describes scheduled respites from the stress and intense pressure of a life I don’t live anymore, and that somehow, my vacation-planning-decision-making process has not caught up to my current predicament.
It’s like I’m following an outdated scenario. “Take it easy because you work so terribly hard”? I have not worked terribly hard since 1997. Actually since 2001, but 1997 is a funnier number. Going back to the previous setup…
What exactly am I relaxing from?
Anyway, here we are in Michiana, so named – are you bored with this? – because the vacation community lies at the border of Michigan and Indiana, and in fact – here we go again – directly across the street from our “Central Time” tiny (750 sq. ft.) log cabin in Indiana, it is “Eastern Time” Michigan. (INSERT LAME TIME ZONE DISTINCTION JOKE HERE.) Okay, I’ll try one.
“When the people across the street get up at seven in the morning we’re still sleeping because it’s six.”
I know. I’m a little rusty. I just came back.
What do I do most of the time?
I plunk myself down, Kindle-in-hand, onto the futon resting on our panoramic, screened-in porch, glancing up from time to time to acknowledge the arrival of deer ambling across our property, which seem more numerous this year than ever. Leading a family member to (facetiously) suggest the need for additional predators. I was taken aback by the Draconian proposal. And so were the deer.
“Okay, what’s the exact number when we spill over from ‘Get the camera! A deer!’ into ‘dangerous infestation’? I mean, it’s not like we’re bunnies!”
Interrupting the lolling lassitude, we go out and buy food to prepare or frequent local restaurants so we won’t have to go out and buy food to prepare. In the evenings, if we have the requisite energy – reading and noticing deer can take a lot out of a person – we go to the movies at the AMC Showcase Michigan City 14 known to us as, “14 movies and nothing to see so we’ll have to see Wonder Woman.”
It is on one of those twenty-minute or so drives to the AMC Showcase Michigan City 14, that we pass a fascinating store sign. (As you read this, take note of the range and specificity of the emporium’s inventory.)
The sign read:
I have readers (I like to imagine) from around the globe. Is anyone out there aware of a store in your vicinity specializing exclusively in furniture, candy and chrome?
“Dad, I know this will sound crazy to you. But I have this dream of opening a store that sells furniture, candy and chrome. I have driven the length and breadth of Michigan City and I realize we don’t currently have one. Will you bankroll me Dad, to help me get started?”
“Sure, son. But are you sure you don’t want to add carpeting?
“No Dad! Furniture. Candy. And chrome!”
Good luck to them. Is what I say. Perhaps someday, when there’s a “Captain Ed’s” in Santa Monica, I’ll be able tell people, “We drove by ‘the Original’.” And watch their genuinely impressed reactions.
The thing about going someplace where there is nothing at all going on is that my mind takes a break from worrying about doctors’ appointments (and their undesirable revelations) and recent car registration fiascos and, because the heat is temporarily off, discovering clarifying illuminations invading my consciousness that I can ponder and then communicate to strangers.
But that’s for another day.
I shall leave you today with an obligatory, admittedly cherry-picked selection from a small town newspaper’s “Police Call” report.
A lost cat was found in front of a residence in the 200 block of Edward Street. The homeowners said the cat did not belong to them. It was taken to a kennel where it was placed in a cage with food and water.
Don’t you wish you lived in a place where that was actual printable news?
Well we do.
At least for one week a year.