HOW TO HAVE A PERFECT VACATION
It’s too late for Bobbie and me, but for you? Recently, we decided to go on vacation with a quartet of long -time friends. An idyllic plan. Four couples on their way to Hawaii. Cold beers on the beach, basking in the sun with a good book, a few nights in tourist traps, exploration and discovery, Mai Tai's on a lanai, hula dancers, strumming a ukulele, sunshine, sunrises, sunsets, hui chicken with rice, laughter, and great conversations collectively shared over fifty years of history. A dream vacation. Right! Wrong! Error.
One couple later divorced. Two couples now use sign language to communicate. And one provocateur, who will remain nameless, single-handedly brought Island/Mainland relations to an all- time low by joining a group of hula dancers at a private ceremony. Said nameless person, whose hula skills were non-existent was escorted from the ceremony and deposited on South Kihei Blvd unceremoniesly.
Several weeks after the disaster, Bobbie and I clinked cocktails glasses and decided to muse over our less than idyllic vacation. Bobbie began dinner. Though relegated to sous-chef, I was savoring the dinner she was creating. “We should have done things differently,” Bobbie explained. “If we hadn’t …” She whacked something on the chopping board with a small, cleaver. “I thought Renne and Jenny were happy.” Just as an ice cube popped in my glass, Bobbie had a sudden epiphany. “We needed a list.”
“We needed a list.” I agreed having no idea why we needed a list. My interest was divereted to the epicurean delight we would soon be consuming.
“We needed something binding,” she said. She stopped chopping and dug her fingers into a large mound of dough.
“Something binding,” I nodded. “Gnocchi?” I smiled. I got smiled back. Bobbie kneaded the dough, added flour, butter and some Parmesan cheese. Tonight we would dine well.
“A list. Something binding,” she continued.
“A list. Something binding,” I agreed. I got the "look."
Bobbie wiped flour on her apron. “You have no idea what I’m talking about.”
“I have an idea,” I lied. “It’s just not a perfectly clear idea. It still needs formation, more of a foundation, to make the idea really. . .”
“Yeah,” she interrupted. “I’m referring to the Island fiasco,” Bobbie cut the gnocchi dough into bite size pieces. “If we had a list? A guide. Something written and binding that we could abide by….something like a vacation constitution.” She handed me a fork.
I knew the drill. Fold the dough into a ball, press it into a fork, roll the dough through the space between the tines and you come up with the perfect gnocchi scallop. “A vacation constitution?” I asked.
“Exactly!” Bobbie, dropped the gnocchi into a shallow pan of boiling water. She turned hands akimbo on her apron. “A constitution to govern all Non-discussable Vacation Topics. Something written and binding that we would all respect.”
Our Founding Fathers took over three months to write the United States Constitution. It consisted of 4,543 words and was written in Philadelphia over a long, hot summer by the likes of Madison, Franklin, Hamilton and Pinckney. Conversely, our “Vacation Constitution” was written after two glasses of Merlot, a Caesar salad (with anchovies) and home-made gnocchi. It consists of only three hundred and seventy five words. Bobbie and I attempted recalling all the issues and instances which created conflict within our circle of friends and arrived at the following simple truths, which I now offer you. I’m certain it will make any place where friends and family gather less stressful and more enjoyable.
THE PERFECT VACATION CONSTITUTION
We the people Bobbie and Tuck hold these truths to be self ......
I. DO NOT BEGIN ANY SENTENCE WITH:
I wish that______ This place isn’t as nice as _____ Wasn’t our trip to ______ cheaper/ better/cleaner/more fun? Isn’t he /she dead? Is he/she still alive? Never say, “You must me kidding.” _______ drinks too much, -or- what a prig! Never has a nip ______ is still smoking
II. DO NOT DISCUSS SEX
The lack OF Abundance OF Quality OF Who needs it? It is over rated. Erectile dysfunction Or smug comments on how well your erectile is functioning. (This seems to occur most often on warm Hawaian afternoons after the 4th or 5th Mai Tai.) Orgasms, the lack there of, or the wonder and joy of the experience... Tecchniques. . . It was over techniques that one of our happy vacationing couples started down the ol’ divorce trail. An unhappy trail for them. Fantasies.
III. DO NOT DISCUSS ANYTHING ABOUT THE HUMAN TORSO
Rear ends, Breasts real or altered. Never compare your mates anything with anyone else’s anything. Cleavage/thighs or shin bones (How the hell did they start arguing about shin bones?) Height/weight/hair or lack there of Age–never age.
IV. GENERAL NON DISCUSSABLE TOPICS
In-Laws Out-Laws. Cohabitation. Single life. Married Life.
I wish she/he would spend more time...
Why does he/she waste her time doing?
I hate HIS friends because they
I hate HER friends because they
V. DO NOT DISCUSS KIDS
Kids leaving the nest.
Disillusioned kids returning to the warmth of the nest.
Young adults who will soon be released from...
Young adults whose trial may begin next month
Kids falsely accused of
Girls or boys who are doing great/terrible at/in/with
Never compare your progeny with that of another couple.
VI. MEAN SPIRITED THINGS NOT TO SAY ABOUT $$$
I could have bought that for$
You couldn’t possibly have paid that much for that
If I knew then what I now know about
One year ago that stock sold for ...
VII. DO NOT DISCUSS HEALTH ISSUES
Aches/pains/migraines, hemorrhoids or an especially painful or pleasant colonoscopy - this started over dinner. Diets/ STD'S etc.
VII. SPORTS –– DO NOT MENTION
Favorite teams – Super Bowl – The World Series – The Stanley Cup –Favorite players -Worse plays -Best plays -My best bet-My worse bet-Older players vs. Younger players.
Our PERFECT VACATION CONSTITUTION is not perfect. We look to you the reader for pithy additions.
As for Bobbie and I, for the most part we have decided to avoid complitcated vacations and simply travel by ourselves. Then whenever we engage in heated, intelligent, controversial conversations, it will be with utter strangers, people we will never see again.