The Tangential Thinker

Palm trees (Palma sp.) on beach

George Doyle

Well, it’s that time of year again, spring vacation. Unlike most, the Baldwin family does not have a spring break routine. We don’t always head to Destin or Jupiter or Beaver Creek. We’ve been to Florida and Colorado, but we’ve also tried the Ozarks and the Northwest and more often than not, we stay here. You wouldn’t think it, but St. Louis is a nice place to spend a vacation. We almost go to the art museum, and we think about visiting the zoo and we have every intention of going to the science center. It’s nice. So once again I have planned a very sedate holiday, basically clean out the refrigerator and catch up on my Tivoed shows. I know cleaning the fridge sounds ambitious, but it’s time. I think the food is planning a rebellion. I hear noises in there, and then I open the door and it suddenly gets quiet, revolting indeed…but I digress.

    So, I was all set for two quiet weeks in ‘the Lou’ when something weird happened. Cranky got invited to go on vacation with another family. Great, I thought. What a nice invitation. My daughter is going on a luxury vacation while I suppress a mold uprising in my kitchen. Then lo and behold, it happened again. Punch got asked on quite a fancy trip. The next thing I know, Whiny, too, has plans to hobnob with the hoi polloi. Great. Terrific. Have a nice trip, see you next fall…

    I told myself a dozen times as a young adult that if I ever used the expression I’m about to use it would make me officially old, but I cannot help myself. These kids today…When I was a kid ‘vacation’ was a two-day car trip with a stopover at a Howard Johnson’s—where I would sleep on a rollaway—to eventually arrive at some dusty cabin or cottage, and I loved every minute of it. I thought I was spoiled. I can’t decide if letting children go on these trips is showing them a fabulous part of the world or setting them up for future disappointment. The good news, is I can lord cancellation over them like a lethal weapon. It’s better than Santa. I’ve never had so much help in the kitchen.

    Now I know what you’re thinking: I’m missing an obvious silver lining here. Other than my husband and whatever is throbbing in my refrigerator, I am the only living thing in my house for several days. While I envision a highly productive, caffeine-fueled closet cleaning adventure, I’ll probably just experiment with creating a signature martini that people will one day name after me (I’m floating the ‘Baldini’). Ten days alone in my home with a stack of DVDs and a variety of flavored vodkas, now that’s a vacation.  LN

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