Rendered Fat Content


Paul Cezanne:
The Bay of Marseille, Seen from L’Estaque (c. 1885)

" … impatiently waiting for my body to catch on …"

I'm never ready for Vacationing. I dread it like I dread taxes. It seems extractive, determined to undermine my sacred routines. I've never been one to take the same two weeks every August to visit the same home away from home, no familiar lake cabin or annual beach rental. For me, Vacationing usually comes as a last-minute notion. The Muse will insist that we get away when she notices a wrinkle in her schedule. Of course, we've not made reservations, and we plot our path employing accidents, invariably happy ones. We see more than we imagined seeing had we planned the excursion. We vacate for a few days and return glad to be returning, a few fresh stories captured along with some new perspectives.

When I think of Vacationing, I wonder how the watering schedule might be maintained in our absence and who will attend to the cats, not just feed them, but be their companion, for they're family and need more than just access to their feed.
They need reassurance. I need their reassurance, too, so the need seems mutual. I worry about them every minute I'm gone. They probably adapt better than I do.

We tend to follow this same pattern whether we travel foreign or domestic. We don't usually reserve ahead but land somewhere and then see what seems to need us to see it. Much of our Vacationing involves inadvertencies, stuff we had not previously imagined sneaking up behind us. We surprise ourselves with our good fortune. The few times we've followed recommendations, Vacationing felt more like satisfying a schedule. We had places to be and commitments to fulfill. We'd often find that suggested restaurant far from our liking, either already discovered by everybody or somehow derivative, inauthentic. It's one thing to happen upon something gone seedy and quite another to catch yourself having worked hard to arrive there; humiliating.

We're learning that we cannot ever experience another's Vacationing. Rick Steves might be an engaging travel writer, but he cannot tell anyone how to stumble upon their own adventure, and he already sucked the goody out of his by sharing it. Same story with other travel writers. Visit that famous diner, and you'll likely find it's grown infamous for its social media success. What was once its quirky nature became its signature, self-consciously repeated more times than its founder ever intended. The line halfway around the block says to The Muse and me that we need to keep walking until we stumble upon a place that has yet to be so well discovered.

All that said, I have been working too long without a break and noticing that I've been checking out. My mind wanders as if seeking some Vacationing or already under its thrall. I daydream, nightdream, and even in between dream of being somewhere else, anywhere else. We have a canyon deeper than The Grand Canyon, well within a day's drive, just up The Snake River. I've been aching to visit a few of the absolutely unnoteworthy towns off the beaten paths in our region. Two-lane blacktop calls my name in the early morning, and the hum of escaping tires haunts my waking hours. My daily routine has grown to seem almost excruciating. I swear, if I have to stoop down to pick up one more fallen apricot, I might lose it. My mind might already be Vacationing, just impatiently waiting for my body to catch on and finally catch up.

©2023 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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