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Vacation in Bizarro World: Not With a Bang, But a Whimper

January 3rd, 2011  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized

Just after my evening shower on New Year’s Eve, as I was getting dressed to go out, up to a party at my old, dear friend Jeff’s house in the Sierra Madre hills, I looked at my daughter, Sasha, who was bawling. It was almost 8 p.m., she hadn’t napped well all day, and we were trying to wrestle her into the bath. Then Jean said what was on both our minds: We’re not going to the party.

I unbuttoned the two buttons I’d just fastened on my nice shirt and sighed. So would go another New Year’s Eve—at home, everyone sleepy, no discernable debauchery. Unless you count the five chapters of “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” that I read on my iPad on the couch before I passed out around 9:30.

And so ended the Great Gross Vacation in Bizarro World, a two-week trip to Los Angeles during which the three of us did, essentially, nothing. In a rented house that will probably eventually be featured in Dwell magazine, we cooked dinners, hung out with cousins and old friends, played with other children’s toys, fed the cats, and generally lived the kind of weekend lives we’d have if we lived on the West Coast.

It was great.

Elsewhere, I recently wrote that I don’t really know how to have a vacation any more, which is somewhat ironic given my career:

After so many trips, I can’t quite remember what it is that I like to do when I travel. Sure, I like to eat, to go running and hiking, and to meet new people. But somehow, without a saleable theme, those interests seem impossibly vague.

But you know what? Vague works. People don’t have fun based on how precise an activity is—they just enjoy themselves as they go along. Or they don’t. It’s impossible, almost, to pinpoint and predict how they’ll react.

The big question, though, at least for this site, is: How did Sasha handle the journey? Or rather: How did we handle Sasha handling the trip?

God, I have no idea. I’m writing all this on Sunday, our planned recovery day back here in Brooklyn, and already the two weeks of work-free leisure are slipping into the recesses of half-held memory. (Or maybe it’s just my late afternoon glass of wine taking effect.) All I know is that she’s jetlagged by almost exactly three hours, and that eventually she’ll recover, as we all will, and that tomorrow’s day at Preschool of America will seem like an incredible new adventure for her.

But then again, every day is, no matter where we are or what we’re doing. That’s childhood, I guess.

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