Monday, July 07, 2008

My Summer Vacation

i took three glorious days off of work the other week, which, when combined with the holiday three-day weekend, made for six whole days without work, a condensed summer vacation during which i did a whole lot of nothing. it was a beautiful type of nothing that has no consequences save having to do a something later. haha, i say now to that lengthy to-do list i wrote at the start of my respite before the inertia of sleep and leisure took over. i read it over now and marvel at how silly i was to think i should spend any part of my six days off at Amoeba trying to sell them the used CDs they refused to buy the last time i was there. haha, ha and ha.

the week was not entirely without activity, however. my first day off was spent at marvelous Six Flags Magic Mountain, my beau Mo in hand, riding roller coasters in 100-degree heat. we went on a whim with two-for-one coupons and, as it was a tuesday, barely wasted any time standing in line, and did well to snatch the seats at the front of the train for each ride.

the last time i spent a day at Magic Mountain was 14 years ago during my first year in college, meaning i rode a bunch of new rides this time around, many of which kicked my ass — make that my head. by 4pm, i was spent and queasy; i found myself having to sit still for 15 minutes after each ride to recalibrate my equilibrium, which was flirting dangerously with vertigo. but i refused to be outdone by my childhood hangout so i fought the nausea and trucked on, riding a few more coasters before finally conceding to my wussyhood. by then, we had ridden 10 roller coasters and managed to walk away from the park in a cloud of euphoria, our faces sunburned but smiling and with a fun caricature that we put on the fridge.

if the day at Magic Mountain served as a grad night of sorts to my abbreviated summer vacation, the rest of my week served as the rest of those three months between school years, when laziness rules divine and uninterrupted. i slept in every day, rising reluctantly yet cheerfully, stirred out of bed only when the sound of a dog panting over my face became too smelly to ignore. then i’d languish on the deck with a cup of coffee for an hour while thinking about how little i planned to do with the day.

most days were spent tooling around the house, which didn’t get a whole lot of my attention beyond the usual admiration. i did knock out a few low-effort things on my house list, like reorganizing the kitchen’s contents and setting my desk up in the office, but as far as the labor-intensive work i planned to do in the garage, well haha and ha again.

afternoons were spent reading in bed, with the new ceiling fan making a breeze. as always, my summer reading list is long and i barely managed to power through anything, finishing off just two books before week’s end, one of which i highly recommend. i also had some freelance work happening, including half a dissertation on homicide in Jamaica, in addition to the regular work i do for the ASC.

as evenings approached, i’d get in the kitchen to start the meal-making. Mo and i had a few cookouts, some of which involved good friends who came by to sample our world-famous hamburgers, mashed potatoes and gazpacho. we sat on the deck every night, eating like royalty, our meals topped off with fresh watermelon, while the dogs laid at our feet, mouths ajar and drooling. i left the house only on a few choice occasions — when i felt compelled to shop for food and cute shoes and for a half-hour massage and steam room visit. sadly, i never made it to Amoeba. (ha)

the highlight of the week is one of those had-to-be-there kind of things that involves a lot of 4th of July fireworks. namely, the multitude of fireworks i witnessed blowing up over Highland Park while i sat on my deck, transfixed for three hours. a neighbor mentioned the yearly display casually, saying he’s had to tranquilize his dog before and now just stays across town with his daughter on that night. but i thought nothing of it since most fireworks are illegal in Cali.

haha on me. by 8pm, the place was on fire in a strange mix of disneyland and baghdad. explosions went off every few seconds, followed by colorful sparkles that seemed to occupy every inch of the night sky. to say that there were hundreds of fireworks going off at once is not an exaggeration. to the left, right, overhead, down the road and everywhere else saw a Tijuana firework exploding. from my perfect vantage point on the deck i could see my neighbors’ yards full of bright flashes and booms, while Juice paced nervously through the house, whimpering.

i kept expecting a lull, something to taper off the festivities so i could go back into the house and replenish my vodka spritzer, but the fireworks kept popping for hours like a bag of microwaveable popcorn, with the last few kernels erupting around midnight. all the while, Mo and i sat on the deck in silence, muttering a few holy shits under our breath as a rainbow of fruit flavors blew up all around us. i was stunned, hypnotized, amazed. i had never seen so many fireworks in my whole life. it was AWESOME. everyone in the world is invited to my house next year to see the show along with me.

the week ended predictably: with a major case of sunday blues that pushed me into bed teary-eyed, declaring to Mo that i never wanted to work again and that i better win the lottery before my alarm went off the next morning at 6:30am or else something bad would happen. predictably, something bad did happen: my alarm went off the next morning at 6:30am, forcing me out of bed without cheer to start work at my new job, which i agonized over like it was the first day of school.

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