I think a week-long vacation is too damn long. First of all, the miraculous starts to seem ordinary. A profound indifference, almost to life itself, sets in: it must sort of be what heaven is like, minus the meaning.
Second of all, even though I'm AmbivaBro especially when it comes to my job, I miss purpose, and challenge, when on vacation. I miss struggling toward, and against, the tides of family and achievement. I actually miss being knotted up in the effort to differentiate myself in the ecosystem of the family business.
I also miss the pursuits that I hope will one day, before it's too late, spring me free of that biospheric work environment and its false safety.
The things and events that hold meaning when one feels connected to the world -- Terri Schiavo's death, the Indonesian earthquake, the onset of the baseball season (not me being flippant, I swear: even though baseball has begun to alienate me, this is a time, and a moment in the calendar, of deep renewal and rebirth. Is it any coincidence baseball, warm weather, Easter and Passover converge?!) -- start to seem like the distractions of hampsters on their exercise wheels. Instead, one's day can be made, or ruined, by whether the assigned person got up in the middle of the night and reserved the right number of poolside chairs for the assembled multitude, or whether the margarita hits the spot.
Vacations lack meaning, and this is precisely where their value lies. To be deprived, of regular basis, of all meaning, sharpens the appreciation of meaning. Nothing makes you appreciate oxygen more than being deprived of it. I hope and expect, in the few endless days that remain, to completely forget who I am and why meaning is so important to me.
Last night I dreamt a kind of Blade Runner dream in which I was living in the bombed-out ruins of Chicago's Union Station. The entire city was a cloud-shrouded wasteland. I dwelt among shattered pipes, saving water in buckets, hearing the echoing howls of orphaned cats roaming the emptied streets. At the end of the dream, in what I knew to be an ultimately futile effort to rescue a stranded cat, I plunged to my death from the top of the State of Illinois building. The last thing in my dream was me looking at my shattered left arm and wondering why I felt no pain.
Then, apparently, the whole thing, like this vacation, was a giant masquerade. In the dream, I got up, shattered arm and all, and took a bow, although no one was there.