Monday, September 08, 2008

el espiritu de vacación

I’ve never hated coming home from vacation, partly because I like being able to choose what to wear from my whole closet instead of from just the contents of my suitcase. (Shallow, but it works.) Still, Oaxaca was so lovely—my senses were turned on high because my brain wasn’t busy planning what to eat for dinner or finding time to do my art-class homework or wondering why last month’s MasterCard bill was so high.

Although I think a certain amount of minutia and struggle can be healthy, I’m trying to find ways of keeping the Spirit of Vacation alive, beyond wearing my new necklaces made of bright-colored beans. Because the Spirit of Vacation is also the Spirit of Inspiration, one I’m always trying to tap. Here are my tips for you, or not for you, because these things are highly individual by nature.

Nevertheless, I possibly highly encourage you to:
  • See Vicky Cristina Barcelona. It takes place in a world in which people bicycle through cobblestone streets on their way to pick blackberries. Then they go home and paint on giant canvases and have threesomes. Yet somehow it all feels grounded and even profound. It is the rare move that is joyous and funny but full of good life advice: Its title characters are proof that in order to be happy, you can’t rely entirely on planning (Vicky) or reacting (Cristina).
  • Realize that you won’t, in fact, die if a pair of jeans gets left on the floor longer than five minutes. AK asked me to stop picking up after her with the vigor of that little robot in Wall-E who follows the other robots around with a scrub brush, wiping up footprints as fast as they’re produced. I realized that I’ve been cleaning like a madwoman since we moved in together and that on some level I felt like I was getting away with something (She doesn’t mind that I’m always rearranging her stuff? I guess I’ll keep rearranging her stuff!), and that, like a little kid who secretly craves boundaries, I was relieved when I was finally called on it. I’d been following all the rules that my OCD brain had laid out for me (the DVD player must be aligned with the edge of the TV), and I just needed a new, less neurosis-enabling rule to follow (no putting away AK’s books while she’s still reading them). It was scary to realize how much tension my particular brand of crazy had been causing me, but this newfound lack of tightness behind my shoulders is heavenly.
  • Start a new novel. Technically, I have three books in progress if you count the picture book and the novel that is awaiting some final edits. Starting something new seems greedy and unwise. But this morning I did it—just some early, freewheeling prewriting, which might be the most fun part because the stakes at this point are deliciously low—and it felt great.
  • Smoke your first cigarette ever. Do it in the back yard of the Hollywood Hills home where your friend—a new smoker herself and one of the most consistently inspiring, whimsically angling people you know—is house-sitting. The place where you saw your first urban coyotes a long time ago. Marvel that you are not going to get in trouble because you are 31 years old and it’s even okay to drive after smoking. Feel sophisticated and ridiculous at the same time. Then smoke your second cigarette ever—this one minty—and wonder why they don’t come in all sorts of flavors, especially cinnamon. Note how much you enjoy this, how much it appeals to your aforementioned OCD and promise yourself not to do it again for at least six months. Watch a green-and-yellow, free-range parakeet land on the lawn, and then a swallowtail butterfly.


Peter Varvel said...

Overwhelming! I'm going to pick the easy one and savor a viewing of VCR.
(I read that last line as the free-range parakeet swallowing a butterfly and/or as a directive to swallow a butterfly after watching the green-and-yellow parakeet, LOL)

Prince Gomolvilas said...

"It takes place in a world in which people bicycle through cobblestone streets on their way to pick blackberries. Then they go home and paint on giant canvases and have threesomes."

...In my life, this is called "A Typical Day.

Cheryl said...

PV: Even though I'm the one who typed it, I read it that way too. Makes the whole thing a little less idyllic, a little more macabre.

PG: I'm envious. I usually only get around to those things on weekends.

Tracy Lynn said...

Dude, they DO make different flavors AND different colors, like blue and green. That, my friend, is why smoking is cool, says the girl who is no longer allowed to.

Cheryl said...

I'm always the last to know. Do they turn your tongue blue and green too?

Don Cummings said...

But if you must...and you find the non-killing kind of cigarettes, please let me know where to get them.
Welcome home. It all sounds good.

Laura and the family said...

Interesting.. what would your dad has to say? Does he know about your recent new try-out?

Cheryl said...

D: My smoker friend and I concluded that someone probably has invented a healthy cigarette, and that the tobacco lobby has worked hard to suppress it, like oil companies and the electric car.

L: Don't rat me out, 'kay? But seriously, I'm not taking up smoking. I promise.