Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Five Stages of Vacation Grief

(post copyright 2015, Dawn Weber)

It's Monday and I'm happy.

As you know, "Monday" and "happy" don't usually go together. So my great mood means I'm either A) drunk, or B) on vacation, and since it's the beginning of the week, I'm not drunk, but more likely on vacation -- the only week of the year that Friday sucks, and Monday rocks.

Despite this backwards progression of despair, every year, I do it anyway. I take a week off, eager to get to the beach, overjoyed to be out of my cubicle, thrilled on Monday, and devastated on Friday. I have a name for this phenomenon. Please -- read on for your handy guide to the Five Stages of Vacation Grief.

Toes in the water, ass in the sand. It's your first day at the beach, and you stare out into the ocean, troubles slipping away with each receding wave. You have a dim awareness of a previous life in some sad fly-over state, but you choose to swallow these thoughts down, down, down with your first sip of Corona, along with the vague idea of going home and back to work next week.

What are these things called "home" and "work"? You laugh at such silly words!

Feeling spiritual from the water, the sand and the beauty, you have conversations with God. "God," you say, "Please let me stay here. I don't need a house . . . or a job . . . or a family -- I'll work on a shrimp boat and sleep alone on the beach. Like a hobo. It will be fine."

God doesn't answer.

You have another beer.

Why? Dammit, why do I voluntarily live in a place where my nostrils freeze shut six months a year when I could live on the coast? This you ask yourself while fuming and stomping down the shore, questioning your life choices and hating the locals, what with their smiles and tans and wide-open nostrils. Other people get to live by the beach. Other people get to go to the beach every day.

Be calm, young grasshopper, for you should have learned long ago: other people suck.

Reality sets in. You don't live at the beach. No -- you're an imposter, a tourist, and only here temporarily. Worse, you have to leave soon, even though you don't want to go. It's in this miserable frame of mind that you come to one conclusion: Life is too short to live in Ohio/Nebraska/fill in your own pathetic landlocked state here.

Alas. There's nothing you can do. That's it, it's over, and you must get back to maintain the mortgage and health care policy. So pack up your clothes, your smile, your will to live, and slouch on-board the plane, because before you know it, the wheels will touch down and you'll arrive home to the drudgery, endless to-do lists, and soul-killing routine that make up the average adult life.

But, hey. At least the next time you feel happy at the beginning of the week and sad at the end, you'll know you're not drunk -- but perhaps you should be -- because you're experiencing the Five Stages of Vacation Grief: Denial, Bargaining, Anger, Depression and Acceptance.

Otherwise known as Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

Stay strong, weary traveler, for it will be difficult to ease back into the misery of everyday existence. I recommend wine, more denial, and sobbing quietly in your cubicle.

Until next year.