Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Vacation styles and interactions.

It’s a cliché that vacations are a time to relax. I don’t find this to be the case with all people. As I mentioned in another post, I feel the urge to see as much as I can in the time I have in a foreign place. I have to assume that I may never make it back to an area, and that I should soak it for all it’s worth. Before leaving I exhaust whatever resources I have available to find out what there is to see and do. As a teacher, with summers off, I have all the time I need to sit around and do little.

All this becomes a bit of an issue when you are with a group of people who find themselves in different circumstances. With only two weeks away from work a year, a lot of people want to take it easy. They don’t want any pressure or expectations. They tend to be happy to go with the flow, and take their time doing it.

People have all types of strategies to employ when they fall away from their routine. Some indulge themselves in activities that they withhold from themselves most of the year. Others keep a baseline of structure to make them comfortable. These habits have the habit of colliding as well. In close quarters, without the conditions that people make for themselves at home, frustrations and irritations can be magnified.

I find myself reminded of just how stubborn and selfish I am. I can love the people I’m with, but as soon as I have difficulty in finding the space I need, I become defensive and preoccupied with myself. It illuminates some of the weakest aspects of my character exactly at the time I should be kicking back with no worries.

All of this is not to say I’m not enjoying myself, because in truth this is all a time to gather memories that will sustain me in the cold of the next Pittsburgh winter. But it is a constant opportunity for learning about my self and others.


Anonymous DeeA2Z said...

Very interesting commentary. Some day you should take a trip back in my mind to when my family drove from Allentown to Tennessee with 2 young teen boys. I do believe it was the very last family trip we ever took.

I remember travelling with a young man who, at that time, was totally anti-breakfast foods. This young man ate food in the morning, but it wasn't your standard cereal or eggs or even pancakes. Nope, every restaurant we frequented had to serve their entire menu 24/7. Some people just like spaghetti with a side of mashed potatoes to break their fast. One thing I can attest to, these trips were never boring. I've never thought to ask this person (now a full-fledged-responsible-adult with a wife, a career and a house) if he still like spaghetti with a side of mashed for breakfast.

My father, may he rest in peace, used to say to me "I hope you have kids just like you when you grow up". At the time I thought it was indeed a high compliment. Now, may I say with much love and more than a little humor, that I hope this spaghetti eater someday has kids just like him. If he does, he's in for the ride of his life.

4:22 PM  

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