Vacation and Work, A Fine Line

Working, having a job, trading what little time you have for whatever money you can extort from them is crazy.[1] I have been doing it for a long time, so I know. I’m convinced the only reason people have jobs, aside from the obvious need for food, shelter, clothes, and an iPhone is to earn paid vacation.

Toil, labor, alarm clocks, emails are all made more tolerable when you think of the days you will get paid to sleep in, when you roll out of bed after the workday has kicked in. Understanding that your co-workers are, dealing with the world, pushing, toting, whatever, and even better, they are doing your share too. You are getting paid for work someone else is doing.

Of course, you have to plan your vacation around the need to wring the least amount of movement possible to really make it worth all the time you spent getting these precious days. There is an unwritten law about the sanctity of vacation, but nobody remembers what it is. Everybody just talks about how stupid they were for not writing it down. “Oh, I’ll remember!” They said. Where have I heard that before?!?!?

Anyway, it only worked if you could make sure the difficulty of vacation was significantly less than the work involved in earning those days.

Really, the hard part is finding the balance between enjoying vacation and relaxing. There is a fine line between slug-like lethargy and having your family assume you have passed on and actually begin planning your funeral. Equally problematic is the urge to pack so much fun into such little time that work begins to seem relaxing.

This year my wife skewed the numbers, she went crazy with the amount of effort we had to put into vacation. To wit, she had us driving for days without end. Crazy mileage crammed into scandalously short days. Followed by a wild climb up the side of a mountain in the northern reaches of Montana.

In one of the most terrifying examples of fate favoring the wise, and the meek, I developed a burning, stinging, rash on my calf on the first day, the first climb. When we went into town the next day I used the internet to diagnose the condition. It turned out I was suffering from a jellyfish sting. A perfect example of what happens when you mess with to gods of vacation.

In an effort to make amends and end the pain and humiliation of being stung by a jellyfish on a mountain top in Montana we are counting Labor Day as a vacation. With that in mind, we are only traveling to Swapper’s Day, in Johnstown. Only twenty easy, pastoral miles away.

Sure, there is a lot of walking, and a fair amount of dodging and swerving crowds of hardcore flea market shoppers. But, I think, with a little luck I can work my way back into the good graces of the vacation deities. If not I will have to find an effective cure for jellyfish venom.

[1] I haven’t read this, but it seems to support my theory so I added it. I will read it, probably, and maybe even steal some ideas.

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