Traveling at the Speed of Time

If you ever want time to slow down, I mean really sloooooow iiiiiiit dooooown, plan a vacation. Each minute between confirming your travel plans and your departure takes days. For example, it’s been today for three and a half weeks. Even things that usually fly by, like weekends, lunch hours, and naps seem to drag on and on and on. And on. You feel every second.

The week right before your trip is the worst–anticipation becomes a physical symptom that requires coping skills. You try to carry on with your usual daily routine but you have to keep stopping to contain your excitement because it’s leaking out again. “Just breathe. You can do thi…OMG, I CAN’T WAIT!” One more outburst and the person in the next cubicle will tell you just exactly what you can do with that travel itinerary.

You start packing a full three weeks before you leave which is wildly inconvenient as you still need most of the stuff you’re going to take with you. Multiple shopping trips are necessary to get vacation related supplies. I mean, what if there isn’t any sun screen available at the beach? You’ll need car snacks and a new magazine to read at the airport and a portable DVD player for the kids and travel toothbrushes and Dramamine and new sunglasses because the nine pair you already own won’t suffice because IT’S VACATION.

Everything else that happens seems insignificant in comparison to your upcoming travel plans…

Spouse: “I got a raise today!”

You: “That’s nice, honey. Do you think I should put the toiletries in the small suitcase or this duffel bag?”

You start to think of things in terms of BV and AV–Before Vacation and After Vacation. As in, I’m only going to do what I absolutely have to BV, all the rest of the things can wait until AV.

When you’re supposed to be working, you’re actually making lists of what to pack, where to eat, site-seeing options, and who to buy souvenirs for while you’re gone. Because everyone in your life needs a beach scene snow globe, they just don’t know it yet.

That’s when you can focus enough to make a list. The sentence “I can’t even right now” starts to make sense to you despite the missing direct object. Then it becomes your motto, “Four more days?!? Ugh. I can’t even!”

THE day finally arrives–you load the car, everyone pees one last time, and you hit the road. It’s here! It’s happening! Everything is rainbows and unicorns. You’re. On. Vacation.

You reach your destination, pour yourself a margarita, and then it’s time to go home. Though time had stopped just a few days ago, now it’s flying by at unprecedented speeds. Sometime after you’ve unpacked and settled in, the countdown to the last day of vacation begins. “Okay, we have five days left. That’s a whole work week. We are going to have so much fun!” A few days later, “We only have two and half days left. That’s like a weekend though. We can still do a lot in two and a half days.” But then, “Tomorrow is the last day. I cannot believe tomorrow is the last day!” You pour yourself another margarita and sob quietly as you shuffle off to start packing up your things.

During the journey home, you’re hit with a severe case of post-vacation depression, a temporary but nonetheless debilitating condition that includes random bouts of weeping, confusion, unquenchable seafood cravings, and an extreme lack of motivation at work. Symptoms last from days to weeks and the only known cure is to book another trip as soon as possible.  But don’t forget to distribute all those amazing and absolutely necessary souvenirs you bought first. Seashell encrusted trinket boxes and ugly t-shirts for everyone!

With time once again stopped, you can cope with the excitement about your next holiday by cornering your family, friends, and co-workers and forcing them to look at all 932 of those vacation photos.