Just returned from a couple of days at the beach. Had an unqualified great time. Couldn't wait to get back home the minute I got there. How do we account for--be honest; you've had them--these seemingly contradictory yet equally satisfying emotions? It's a strange kind of love-love ambivalence. Even when you're thinking of EXTENDING YOUR STAY a little longer, you're thinking of how nice homecoming will be. Here's one answer: GUILT, or at least the expiation thereof. You never really wanted to leave your cozy confines in the first place, but there is a kind of socially- induced pressure to WANT to "take a little time off," shake off the quotidian, get free of the hum-drum work-a-day, home-a-day world of the ordinary, in order to be perceived as a good and normal person. You'd have to be a little bit off-center not to want to "get away" for at least a liittle while from all that stuff.
But wait--I LOVE all that stuff! That's where the good living is, in the Sublime Mundane. (More about that and Ted Baxter in a later post.) Not to mention the violent inconveniences inherent (fill in the blanks) in the vacation adventure--nonetheless you feel good after fulfilling your obligation, and can now go home. Here's a little real-life manifestation in actual dialogue of this syndrome, involving my Significant Other: Me--"Well, you DID get a bit sun-burned, in spite of the Panama Jack." She--"Yeah, that's the point. I wanted them to SEE that I'd been here." Q.E.D.
But let me go off tangentially here: Why couldn't the techno-inventor boys come up with the concept of "skim-boarding" when I was kid-enough to enjoy it? All it involves is a 2-foot-flat- wooden oblong and a less-than-a-hundred-pound person. And what homemade fun it is! I asked the kid, "Kid, whaddya call that (hand-body gestures)"? "Skim-boarding--and you can get one at Wings for 15 dollars." "Son, you're a sports hero in the making." Here's how the little 10-year-old virtuoso did his thing: he waits gull-eyed for for just the right wave to come up and STOP, just before it ebbs down the shingle (this is, of course, the perfect opposite of surf-boarding). Then he throws the board down and outward onto the 2-3 inch deep receding surf, catches up to the board (a-skimming already), jumps on, and glides laterally down the beach 30 to 50 feet ending in a glorious sand-scrunching dismount (for a variation, his sister would glide perpendicularly TOWARD the NEXT wave, affording her a little slalom-jump effect when she got to it). Now, I could have USED that thing on the shores of Lake Michigan, a bike-ride from where I grew up (after transplantation from the South)--the wave-action being just right for this sort of kiddie-thrill-sport. Alas, too late. Another youthful opportunity missed. But not the only one.