Yesterday started a three-day weekend, the last of the year, affording me the chance of doing something I haven't done in ages: hang back and relax, wasting hours doing nothing, stepping firmly onto the quite side of life. During last week, I've been to Bristol twice and before that, two Italian friends of mine kept me company for a week. The days were filled with work and the nights with fun, and tiring it was.
Only a month ago, I returned from a two-week vacation, but not in the least rested. Two road trips in two different countries, the lack of repose, never staying more than two nights in one place – all took its toll. I was tired when I boarded the plane in Toronto. I disembarked even tireder at Heathrow, and I haven't recovered or rebuilt my strength. That's why I've been looking forward to this weekend.
The plan is to do nothing, to stay at home and go nowhere. Not to the Saatchi for its show of young American painting, not to the Proms for another concert and not to Camden Town for a multicultural and globe-spanning shopping tour. Also not to Whitechapel Gallery, even though this has been near the top of my to-do list ever since it opened several months ago.
Instead, I might clean out, as well as I can in a quick burst of activity, the jungle in my backyard and then spend hours in the deck chair that my neighbors have left between the weeds. With coffee and a generous supply of biscuits, I might read the books I took with me to Canada, never to even open them there. I might work a little on my homepage, give it a new face after its forced move from its past home at the University of Utah to its own spot in cyberspatial permanence. Or I might process the photos I took under garish light of former class mates at my high-school reunion nearly three months ago. I'm sure my friends would like to see them.
I will certainly spent some time in front my computer, tune the web to the iPlayer and watch a highly praised travel show on the Frankincense Trail or listen to Prom shows that I wish I hadn't missed. Of course I also have to prepare my own travels.
Less than a month from now, I'm going to the Middle East again. When I went last year, head-over-heels and almost out of nowhere, my sister was mighty disappointed she couldn't come. This year, we're doing it together but without the help of local friends. Now I have to reserve some rooms, rent a car, and plan a route. Most importantly, I have to make sure that the trip won't be too frantic and end up stuffed like a bell pepper. Vacations are supposed to be relaxing, after all.