Saturday, July 6, 2013

Vacationing with Family

Vacationing with family is a bit like riding an old bike. You really don't remember the way it used to be and the bike is rusty and squeaky and has a flat and just getting it to roll down the hill is problematic. Sometimes it wont even do that and you question why you pulled it out at all. Isn't it time to retire that old bike? Maybe give it to Good Will or leave it out by the trash. But no, you put it back in the garage and leave it there until the next time you decide to take a ride.

And so it is when you get together with all those adult siblings and cousins and in-laws. There is the real question every time...why am I putting myself through this. The problem of course is that adults have hidden agendas, neurosis, motivations, hurts, wants and then then they have wives and children and husbands and grandkids and just about every other ganglia of human relations. Now take all these people and put them in the blender of a family vacation say in a cottage. The Perfect Storm is what you have.

And it is inevitable. Slights dating back to when you were kids. Wrongs felt thirty years later. Alliances from childhood. And now you have the tripwires laid. Husbands feeling left out. Wives feeling wronged by sisters who always had everything. Sons bored out of their skulls. Grandparents checked out. Television on twenty four seven. Cousins darkly envious of other cousins. The ground is laid with trip wires and usually about three quarters in somebody trips one and...BOOM.

The firefight is usually fast and deadly. Old wounds catching fire with new oxygen. Alliances are cemented and sides drawn. The skirmish line moves back and forth and raw emotion rankles over Scrabble as people tear each other apart. And then it is over. Doors slam and muffled voices, sometimes screams coming out. And the sides huddle up. Decisions made. Someone will leave and someone will stay. And by dawn you wonder what it was all about.

But there is one less car in the driveway. One martyr note on the table. One heart terribly wronged. And there is nothing you can do really. It is the only bike you have.

Books by William Hazelgrove