A vacation can be so stressful! Yes, I know, it’s supposed to rid you of stress, but does it really?
The anxiety begins with packing. Am I allowed to bring my eyebrow tweezers or is that a lethal weapon? And what should one pack? Is there anybody out there who packs the right clothes every time, or does everyone pack a raincoat and umbrella for a surprisingly sunny London? Am I the only passenger who brings a toothbrush and forgets the toothpaste?
When it comes to check-in, people are two types: those who aim for the last minute, and the way-too-early birds. I hate to rush, especially when the flight is early in the morning. As long as they expects me to be there two hours before takeoff, shouldn’t there be a way to camp overnight in the lobby?
My “carry on” bags are often too big to carry onboard, and reluctant as I may be I often end up paying the fee to check them in, which means openning my tightly packed suitcase in public and watching underwear fly about while I remove my book, reading glasses, and medicines. Once again, I find myself rushing to buy yet another lousy bag at the airport.
Just when I think I have things under control, Southwest Airline hands me a “C” boarding pass. Damn! I forgot to check-in online! I don’t really mind being the last passenger to board except for the fact that it often puts me against the back wall, where not only the seats won’t recline, but I’m stuck with the sound of toilet flushing throughout the flight.
At the security line, the guy ahead of me is told he may keep his shoes on, but I’ve learned to accept that “random picking” never includes me. It’s hard to undo my shoelaces and the lady behind me nags and nags. I ignore the smell of my shoes while placing them in the bin and proceed to remove my watch, wedding band, the safety pin that holds up my pants and pray that the new crown on my back tooth won’t set off any alarms. Do people keep their dentures on? Finally I’m ready to step into the “cell”.
“Please remove your jacket,” the woman says.
I don’t have a jacket. “This?” I reluctantly remove the silk blouse I’m wearing over a camisole and hope no one notices my flabby arms. Will I be forced to remove my underwire bra? As I stand on the footmarks and hold my hands above my head, I try not to think about the amount of complimentary radiation and focus on the fact that this may save me from being patted in places I don’t want to be! Then again, I’m often wrong. Redundant as the procedure may be, the resentment I feel is new each and every time.
I just returned from a short vacation and think I’ve finally figured out why we need one. I spent five days and five nights in the Bay Area. Five glorious days without a computer, without a telephone – the cell phone was used only when I lost my friends – no E-mails, no repeated “forwards”, and if you can believe it, without the hassel of the In-Your-Face-Book! For five wonderful days I did not follow other people’s luxury cruises, elegant parties, and never heard their big news of what I only dream about. But more importantly, it was gratifying to spend five days without homework, nothing to write, nothing to report.
As if by miracle, my days grew long again. Outside my writing cubicle, the sun felt warm and bright, and there was even an ocean breeze everywhere. I relaxed, enjoyed my meals with good friends, and was not interrupted by my familiar ring tone. I never had to cut a meal short, or skip dessert, to rush to my computer and check its virtual mailbox. A vacation was just what I needed and the peace it offered sure made up for all the trouble.
But wait a minute! Did I have to go somewhere far away and abandon my dog just so I could experience such freedom?
I stare at the hammer I’ve brought from the garage to hang a picture. Aha! This must be how Isaac Newton looked at that infamous apple! All of a sudden I’m realizing that all I ever needed in search of a stress-free life and to reclaim my longer days was a hammer! A shattered computer won’t bring me any silly “forwards”, will it? It can’t expect me to “like” everyone’s page, and it sure won’t expect a “comment” from me. For the first time, I begin to see the hidden beauty of the hammer. Its handle is so smooth, yet mighty and strong, and now it seems to be smiling at me with those two rabbit iron teeth.
There on the counter lies the key to my sovereignty! This little tool could give me a chance at a new beginning, redeeming the lost hours, it will lead me to a stress-free life. My days will be long again, I will have time to bake, garden, and yes, visit my children! There is a way to escape the prison of technology. Strange as it may sound, I think I’m starting to love my hammer!