Once in a while when I should be asleep but my mind doesn’t agree, I’ll pull up Pinterest. Looking for new pins for my “Getaways” board, I browse exotic destinations for luxurious vacations. The locales are usually reserved for presidents who have left office at the end of their term and want to spend a month relaxing and not getting blamed for everyone’s problems — so not exactly in my budget. But once I come back down to Earth, I don’t even mind.
A gorgeous beach would be pretty nice, with crystal blue water and a decadent cabana. I wouldn’t mind drinking rum and a splash of juice from a coconut. I would mind having to shave my legs and wax in areas that are not wax-friendly. I would mind trying on swimsuits and spending even more time trying on kaftans and cover-ups. I would mind getting sand in those not wax-friendly places.
When so many aspects of your vacation are inconvenient or lead to ingrown hairs, is it even a vacation anymore? So many people yap about needing a vacation after their vacation, and it’s because vacations are a pain in the ass. There is the planning and the packing and the actual act of traveling, which is its own public hell that you have to take part in twice, and appointments beforehand for your nails and your hair because god forbid your roots are showing in front of a bunch of people you don’t know and will never see again for the rest of your life.
Throw in your kids and/or your spouse? Vacation becomes a far more complicated version of your everyday life. But with planned activities and without all the stuff in your house you forgot you need to survive.
My dream vacation, my real dream vacation, doesn’t include any of that bullshit. It includes me and only me. Exceptions may occur if it becomes necessary to interact with another human being for things like room service. I wouldn’t need to go far or spend much money. Give me a mid-tier hotel in a local business park with no confirmed cases of bed bugs, and I’m more than satisfied.
I can even skip having a room with a view if there are blackout curtains I can keep closed for 24 hours. They’re perfect for both long-range napping and not worrying about anyone in the parking lot seeing me walk around without pants.
This may all seem low maintenance, but I do have some standards. I require a clean bathroom. If the last person who stayed in this room was murdered in the shower, I would prefer not to see the evidence. My preference for the smell of bleach is strong — as much as a human can tolerate without needing to crack a window.
And even though there is only one of me, I will need a king-size bed. I want to know what it feels like to sleep in one without a toddler’s foot nestled between my nose and upper-lip. Equally important, I will need free hotel breakfast, and not the shitty kind with stale Danishes and green bananas. At a minimum, there needs to be a waffle maker. I would also like a fridge and microwave in my room so that I can bring second-breakfast up to my room and heat it up when I awake from my post-first-breakfast nap.
Aside from venturing into the lobby for said waffles, I will not be leaving my room. Even though I will leave my family with the name and number for a fake hotel to ensure I won’t be disturbed, I will still unhook the phone so the front desk can’t call me about noise complaints when I watch TV at full volume. I’m finally in complete control of the remote with no little eyes or precious ears to think about. You bet your ass I’m only watching shows with excessive violence, swearing, and gratuitous sex.
Along with that fake hotel information, I will leave my family a note telling them I won’t be returning until the dishwasher works, the bathrooms aren’t coated in a fine mist of urine, and the bedrooms don’t smell like toe cheese. This is Mommy’s vacation, not everyone else’s. I will not make the rookie mistake of letting my family assume that while the cat is away, the mice can slack off and greet me with a cesspool when I walk in the front door. There may be a postscript with suggestions for what they can have baking in the oven when I come home.
As I relax diagonally across my giant bed, completely naked except for the bags of snacks lying around and sometimes on me, I will take a brief moment to mentally thank my family for this glorious respite. For without them driving me absolutely fucking crazy at times, I wouldn’t have taken the initiative to pack a small bag, high five my husband when he walked in the door from work, grab my keys, and run full-speed out of my house with both middle fingers in the air. Then I’ll go back to eating Oreos I don’t have to share with anyone and watching HBO.