Thursday, August 30, 2012
Of family vacations
Nick and I just had ourselves a Family Vacation, my first in years. I was lucky to enjoy lots of great family road trips as a kid. Me and my siblings had these baseball caps and we would get those big buttons with the stickpin on the back at different attractions and stud our hats with WALL DRUG! and JACKSON HOLE, WY and MT. RUSHMORE. Holy Americana, what cute little dorks we must have been. Man, were the three of us ever cruising for wedgies with antics like that.
Things just shift a little when you're an older "kid" though. The last time my folks attempted to get their Nuclear Five to a place together, I was 21. We went to Vegas? How strange to think that the slacker boyfriend to whom I mashed out distressed T9-word text messages from the real Starbucks in fake New York City would be my future husband. I forgot to pack a swimsuit and can you believe my mom and I couldn't find SWIMWEAR in all of Las Vegas? The best we could do was a fitted "fitness" tank with shelf bra and compression shorts from a Nike store, which Mom graciously bought for me. And so feeling not unlike a circus strongman in my singlet-y getup, I plopped right into the pool and read my David Foster Wallace and scowled at the beautiful drunk people for splashing. I was a real scream, huh?
Nick's last such trip was more recently, and to Florida. His mom decided to commission those terrifying family beach portraits, where everyone is made is to wear white oxfords and khaki pants? But they're all barefoot, because this isn't one of those square, stiff portrait studios! No, this is the beach! Nick is a good sport, well, they all are; this just would never have come to be in my family, sorry Mom. Nick came home with tons of frightening cultic-looking pics, and displayed one atop his computer monitor in his office for a few years. You know, half kidding, half serious: "I acknowledge that this is hilarious but I do like to look at these people." Even my mother-in-law laughs about the photos now. "Oh you mean the cult photos?", she'll say.
We totally did a Family Vacation with my in-laws, though and it was pretty fun. Nick has to rent cars a lot for his research and managed to rack up enough Hertz points for us to have a free rental. But the little hybrid Fiat we reserved, something happened, and they gave us a gigantic SUV. Well, what can you do. We brought guitars, a giant cooler, and overpacked everything conceivable. We were Griswoldian goldfish, growing to match our outsized tank. More on the trip soon.