My Mini Vacation

For most of the day, I anticipated the trip with my usual calm demeanor. I was excited days earlier about the planning, making sure I had everything for the trip and preparing the cat for my few days away. By the time the actual day started, it was all set and there was nothing left but leaving work and getting to the airport.

My coworkers, on the other hand, were excited for me. Well, probably excited is too strong a word. They were happy, or relieved because I wouldn’t have me around for a few days, that I was going on this trip. I was asked if I was excited I was going. There were lots of well-wishers hoping for a safe trip. I think they were hoping I would sight see and have wonderful adventures. Really, all I was looking forward to was some rest away from all the distractions and responsibilities of home and work.

I kind of didn’t want this vacation. I would have easily have worked, or I could have stayed at home on my time off vegging in front of the TV watching the usual crop of daytime TV. I needed some time away, because after the dealings with my parents on their current health crisis and the awful and sorrowful incident at my friend’s wedding, I needed to get right with myself, as the saying goes. I assessed myself and the path I was heading on, especially after the wedding, was going to end up in a world of hurt for myself and possibly others.

So I started to take steps to turn things around. Not having alcohol was an easier step than I thought. I was always more of a social drinker rather than an addictive one. For addictions, I have comics and Star Wars collectables. Drinking was never something I needed or craved. What I desperate needed to have, especially when people talk about drinking, was to constantly be reminded that I am a problem drinker, that it is a struggle for the rest of my life and at any time I can fall off the wagon and I need to be vigilant at all times.

I’m sorry but I’m a rare exception to that rule. All that means is that an addiction approach is the wrong approach because it was never about addiction; it was about acceptance, it was about fitting in. There isn’t a craving for alcohol, a desire for alcohol nor a need for alcohol. I’m sure if I drink I could go into the same tailspin as before, but I don’t feel the need or the craving to have a drink to fit in. As long as I can be my weird, semi socially awkward self, I’m good. As long as I can feel good as who I am without the need to be someone else who is counter to who I am, I’m OK.

So far, it’s been two months since I’ve had a drink. I’m not craving for a drink. I don’t longingly look down the liquor aisle wanting one last drink. My bartender friend can honestly say I have been to her bar on a few occasions, have ordered a beer and water, and at the end of the day I have left without the beer being touched.

I needed this trip to reconnect with my awkward, slightly insecure, geek self. I’ve been not me for so long I’m not sure I know what it is to be me. Do I have a new definition for me? Am I becoming a different me? Is this an existential exercise which will determine what I’m changing can never change, did I make the change a long time ago, or is this a dream of what I want to become and the reality is I already, or never did, change?

Does this all mean I seriously need a vacation? That I need to let loose and have fun?

 

THE TRAVEL

Up to boarding the plane, the vacation started like most of my vacations. I planned a lot, causing a lot of added stress on myself because by now I know my routine. I had the usual minor annoyances of my fellow travelers complaining about things you can’t change or with a little bit of forethought you could have avoided.

There were a couple of college students who were talking constantly in the TSA line who definitely had traveled before but had no clue about preparation. While they jabbered with complaints about why they had to take their shoes off AGAIN and trying to figure out what was and was not allowed, I was all prepped and ready to have stuff separated and out well before I got to the grey trays. By the time I walked through the metal detector, two of the five students, who had already gone through, were waiting because their bags had to be checked. Why? They had saved large bottles of sand from the trip and, well, when you scan a bottle of sand through an X-Ray machine what does resemble? If you say explosive, give yourself a star! So, if you’re three other friends, who have not yet had bags go through the x-ray machine, see you and hear your ordeal, would you think at some point they might separate the memento of sand from their packs? Would you might think, upon the TSA repeating that materials need to be separate, might want to think about separating the material? Nope, these fine examples of higher learning asked the TSA about if gum was a food (?) rather than asking about the sand that was in their bags that their friends also had and were in the hand screening line.

So, after than bit of drama, I had 30 minutes left before my flight. Once I boarded the plane, and felt real lucky because I had one other passenger in my row which meant no crowded seat (got to look for the little miracles) that’s when the tide changed. Ten minutes before takeoff we were told there would be a delay. There was an issue with the backup AC and there were two passengers who had a connecting flight delay and we would be working on both issues for about 10 minutes. We were scheduled to leave at 8:20 and I knew the delay would have a cascade effect with meeting buses and the trolley for the trip to the border.

There was no need to overly upset about it. I had to just ride the wave and deal with the delays. As it turned out, I was late but right on time. Yes, we came into San Diego almost an hour late. By the time we de-boarded the plane, I had three minutes to get the next bus and it was a 10 minute walk. There was no way I could make it and I didn’t rush through the airport. When I got to the bus area, there was massive traffic and miraculously I saw the bus about two minutes away! When I got to the trolley station it was three minutes before they departed.

The travel deities smiled on me for whatever reason!

While slightly late, I got checked into the hotel at 11:40pm.

 

VERY LOST AMERICANS

I woke up this morning and went straight to the computer. I was up at 6am but since I’m normally awake at 3am to get to work, I really felt like I overslept. By the time it hit 7:30, I wanted to take a look around and see a few things. I could stay locked up in my room all day, and I didn’t want to do that.

There has been a lot of construction since the last time I was here. I thought they had moved the border crossing. It turned out there is a new location which most people flock to but the branch I go to seems to be active. I will have to be sure on Friday when I leave. I’d rather spend a half hour tops including a walk from the hotel rather than take a taxi, then endure foot traffic that can take anywhere from an hour to three hours.

While exploring the new border crossing, I saw this lost couple of Americans. They had the look of being lost, because they were desperately trying to seem like they knew the lay of the land and were really bad at it. The picture of the two were so typical. She was deferring to her partner, yet she wanted to ask questions because she was afraid they were lost. He was the trailblazer, not wanting to believe he was lost but he was. How could I assume that? Because I overheard them wanting to go to downtown, and the direction they were going was wrong.

The arch I pointed the couple towards. Instead of walking forward, they walked to the left.

I went up to them and told them, “If you want to get to downtown, cross the bridge and walk to the arch. If you make a left at the arch, you will get right to downtown.” They thanked me, so feeling my good deed for the day was complete, I went along my way. The couple was heading in the same direction as I was, crossing the bridge, and in the back of my head I thought about making sure they were heading the right way, but I decided not to.

A few years before, the Tijuana Bridge was not a safe crossway. I was almost positive a few years ago I saw a dead body in the river. In the past, homeless encampments dotted the area. It looked like a scene from a post-apocalyptic low budget film, with dangers lurking around the pillars and wash ways. Today none of the homeless people are around. I figured there was only one area where the couple could get into trouble, but I laid the path clearly for them to follow. Head for the silver arch. It’s easy to spot. No not waver from that goal.

By the time I got across the bridge, I saw the couple found the one direction you didn’t want to go to. It was like something from a bad horror film. They were heading in the opposite direction of the arch, towards the main street, and the only way to get to the main street was to walk through a littered and filthy alleyway which was partially fenced off. It literally screamed DO NOT GO HERE. They headed straight for it.

I tried to shout down from the top of the bridge, “Go for the arch” and “You’re going the wrong way.” I thought at first they didn’t hear me, but I realized they were lost again and didn’t want to look up because it would look like they were lost. I tried to get their attention again but they moved faster to the wrong spot. The last I saw they were going through that gap in the fence, going into that dirty alley towards the main street.

 

FOOD, WONDERFUL FOOD

One reason why I love staying at Pueblo Amigo is less than a block away there is a grocery store. It’s a big store, which includes household items, toys, electronics and a food court. The prices are incredibly inexpensive, especially by hotel standards. What I’ve done the past few trips is I’ve spent money on dinner at the hotel, a little splurge, but I would get all other food at the store.

Today I got a chicken leg and rice, two large juice boxes and a bag of grapes. How much do you think that cost? Just for comparison, I got grapes a few days ago in Phoenix. They were on sale for $0.77 a pound and that part of the bill came to $3.50. When I did the peso to dollar conversion the bill came to $5.50! The large juice boxes alone, in Phoenix, are $1.50 each if they are on sale. By my thinking, I got the chicken and rice for free.

 

KICK IN THE TEETH

A few moments ago I got a call from my mother. I thing that I find annoying about my mother is she decided to reveal things well past the time you can do anything about it. She will deal with the issue, ponder it and sort through the pros and cons. By the time she brings me into the loop, she really already made the decision and any input I put in doesn’t matter. A few years ago she wanted to make a decision about a partnership in her will with a relative I don’t know. She had discussed the situation with him for over two weeks and she wanted me to sign off on it, we were literally 30 minutes from the lawyer’s office when she dropped the bomb on me. Naturally I had some concerns, but she told me it was kind of a done deal. You know what? When we got to the lawyer’s and before we signed the paperwork, she mentioned something and when the lawyer looked into it the whole dynamics of what she wanted to do was changed.

Right now, I think the news is too fresh. I need to take time to process everything. Yes, I hate to do this but I’ll take a few moments to stew on this, just so I can properly write and express my feelings appropriately.

 

STRANGE DAYS

Today I dealt with someone who had no thought about what I was saying and as a result they asked a question that was bad. I didn’t want to talk to them about this subject, but I’d been thinking about what my mother told me and about the implications of the news. I had to speak to someone, just for my sake to think about the issues I learned about.

Now I see where that was a mistake.

I had to make changes to this section. I went through explaining the issue my mother discussed yesterday; the thing I had to deal with. I had to erase the page or two I wrote about it. It’s a very personal thing to talk about and the repercussions about the issue effects my family and how I have to cope with some future issues.

Today, I think I made the mistake of trusting the wrong person. I was looking for a sounding board, a sympathetic ear, maybe even a shoulder to cry on. I just to talk about it in the open, just to share and not think I was crazy or cold about some of the feelings I was having.

The blank stare I got from sharing about it made me realize I had made a mistake. I think they struggled to understand but it was for me like the couple who were looking for downtown Tijuana yesterday. I laid out what I thought was a simple, straight forward path, and somehow the person got completely and utterly lost.

I decided to gently drop the subject, talk about other things, but 45 minutes later, while things were well off the subject, there was a pause of about ten seconds. Out of the blue the subject was brought up again. We were done, well off the subject, and for the longest time we talked about a lot of other material, but for some unfathomable reason they asked about the same subject again.

I share a lot on social media and my websites, but some things take time for me to process. I will probably share fully what has caused all these issues with my parents but I’m not going to lay things out bare without considering the consequences. I had hoped talking with someone would have helped ease the process, but it hasn’t. In fact, it has made things a little worse.

This vacation was supposed to give me a break for a few days from every day struggles. It hasn’t. I’m not going to say things have gotten more complicated. I need to hear the information from my parents. I need to see what one acquaintance was capable, or not capable of. What am I going to do at the moment? I’m going to do something I should have done on this trip. I’m going to have fun. I’m going to walk away from the keyboard and just have a few laughs. Tomorrow I head back bright and early to 110+ degree temperatures.

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