He sang me songs. Classics. The bands were new to me. Boston, Kansas, America, Europe, Asia.
[Hedwig stops Tommy from playing]
Travel exhausts me.
I do not enjoy travel.
Actually, I can think of some travel I have at least nominally enjoyed. It’s more that I don’t like the idea of traveling – interrupting my daily routine to pack up a limited amount of my possessions to go some other place that won’t be as comfortable or entertaining as my own home and be expected to do the same boring things as all of the other tourists staying there.
I remember going to Jamaica twice as a pre-teen with my mother and a family friend. Paradise, swimming, beaches – right?
I brought an entire suitcase of books. It’s not as if I didn’t enjoy the beauty of it or swim or go on the beach. I was disenchanted by all of the other children running around. At age 10 I thought I was actually 40. I wanted to lay around tanning, reading books, and drinking virgin daiquiris.
I remember at one point the Children’s Activities Coordinator stalked over to me at the poolside to interrupt my reading of a rather thick book and demanded I act like an actual child and play some sort of game that involved eating bananas and acting like an actual child.
In my memory of the event, I tried in vain to wave the coordinator off until, finally, my mother leaned over from the next chair.
“Do you see that book my son is reading?” My mother asked.
“Yes. Why is he reading books in Jamaica?” She said this as if customs should have confiscated anything with pages while we were still in the airport. “We have many fun activities for him.”
“He likes reading books.” My mother replied, flatly.
“He can’t possibly be enjoying reading a book of that length. He should be with other children his own age.”
(“I don’t like them,” I may have interjected.)
My mother leaned in a bit closer to the woman. “Listen, hon.” (I may have grinned a bit, as this was always an indication she was about to put someone on blast.) “My son likes reading books. Long books. This is the fourth book he’s read in Jamaica. We’ve been here for three days. The books are several years above his suggested reading level. And he likes them. Unless you want to tell us more about the educational value of your banana eating contest, I think that’s the last we’ll need to hear about your ‘activities.'”
That was the last I saw of Children’s Activities Coordinator.
As an adult I feel much the same way about vacations. I want to use them as a chance to do something I love that I would never have the time or inclination to do in the midst of my daily routine. Reading, writing, working on new songs, learning new things – mixed in with some local sights and delights. Vacations I have enjoyed – LA, Paris, St. Louis, Vermont – have all managed to strike that balance. Others, not so much.
We are leaving for Las Vegas in the morning. I have tried to do everything within my power to avoid my disinclination to travel, yet I still find myself disappointed that I am about to spend money and time to visit another place when I could just spend it in my house.
We’ll see how I feel about that once I am on the strip.