I just turned in a manuscript that was overdue. My editor let me know she is going on vacation, so will not be able to read it for a while. No biggie. I just wanted it turned in, I knew it would have to fit in her schedule, and summer is prime vacation time.
So...now I'm stuck on the word vacation. I cheerfully wished my editor a happy vacation (because I'm not the begrudging sort...usually), but while I did so, I thought about the last time I took a real vacation (meaning no work, no how, no way). It was for my 25th anniversary, when my husband and I went--without children (who bring a whole new meaning to the work/vacation combo)-- to Jamaica (okay, so I wrote a short article...but that took under thirty minutes and I did it hanging in a hammock and drinking something with an umbrella in it).
I realized with dawning horror that I have thoughtlessly begun to tack the name vacation on to any extended trip away from home. I've taken eight vacations already this year--so why am I so tired and feel like I could use a good...vacation? Let's see: Going to a conference in New Orleans? Vacation. Driving 24 hours down to my father's memorial service, and 24 hours back, broken up by several days in hotels, brake failure, a blown tire, and three days at my mother-in-law's house? Vacation. Vacation. Vacation. A 36 hour drive--one way--for a family wedding? Vacation.
Accompanying me on vacation is not only my trusty VISA, but my ever present 'bag o'work': current manuscript on my Alpha Smart, check; manuscript to be revised--along with sticky flags and 3x5 cards, check; work in progress for my students, check. When my family sees me, no one asks if I brought work along, the question is how much.
Which brings me back to my editor. I hope that her vacation will be the kind I used to mean when I said vacation. (no work, no way, no how).
I also hope I take a real vacation sometime soon--and not the one I just told my husband I was taking next week that is going to include such fun and exciting events as cleaning the house from top to bottom, and catching up on the student work I'm behind on (I'm taking a vacation from sitting at the computer all day, trying to get revisions finished, but is that a real vacation?).
I have to wonder why, as a writer, I've become so lax with such an important word. I don't think I'm the only one (the only people I know who don't take work on vacation are those who don't have portable work). So, I'm here to officially spread the word--it's time to take vacation back, before we lose it all together. Those Europeans are smart folk, taking weeks to kick back and do nothing (even if the thought is inexplicably giving me a panic attack...excuse me a moment while I deep breathe at the mere thought of doing nothing but enjoy the beach).
Okay. Hyperventilation interlude over. I mean it. From now on, when I say I'm on vacation, I'm not taking along the bag o' work...stop laughing!