Search Box

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Having a "good time"

A friend was just complaining about having to attend an outdoor concert tonight. He was saying that because it was rainy, it would take a lot longer than normal, and he would get home late on a weeknight and miss sleep, not to mention his workout. He said having a "good time" is often brutal.

I couldn't agree more. The lengths people will go to in order to do something that has the official label of "enjoyment," whether or not it's actually enjoyable, is ridiculous.

A perfect example is the four day weekend getaway. It's basically two days of travel for two days of "vacation," which is a huge waste of two of your four days off.

Travel -- packing, getting up early, fighting traffic, finding parking at the airport, waiting in line, waiting in another line, sitting in a cramped airplane seat for a few hours, waiting in more lines, renting a car, and getting to your destination -- is almost always misery. Then there are inevitably more wrinkles to deal with at your vacation destination, which half the time turns out not to be all you expected.

I'd much rather have a couple good workouts, and be able to settle into a familiar couch or bed and watch a good movie when I feel like it. Without missing any sleep.

Of course, half the reason people go away for these four day jaunts is to be able to boast about it afterward: "I went down to St. Bart's for the weekend." (That line has never once been delivered -- not once, in history --- without an air of pretension and pride.)

Okay, you're cool.

I'm usually on the fence about whether even a nine day vacation is worth it. (I know, bah, humbug.)


Shaun F said...

John – I definitely appreciate the opportunity cost of a good time, and associated pain. To give an example: a weekend getaway from Victoria to Vancouver for a NHL hockey game, for a couple with no children. Four hours travel to and from Vancouver (depending on traffic). For taking a car over on the ferry 250$ which does not include gas, or reservation fee. Two nights at a decent hotel downtown (say Best Western) 2 x 130$. A couple meals out for two people with wine – fine dining 300$, not including lunch, breakfast or shopping. Hockey tickets 2X 57$ per ticket (lowest price). Close to 925$. Which is insane. but hey – they saw the Canucks!

John Craig said...

Shaun --
Yes, that's ridiculous. But if I were you, I'd just hop in the car and drive north from Victoria. That's an incredibly beautiful part of the world, with lots of great hiking, which is more or less free. I know there are grizzlies there, but….

Steven said...

Maybe its different in England. You can get an hour flight to Paris (or a train for that matter) for the weekend and its doable. There are lots of foreign countries and cool city breaks available quite nearby. Other American cities have sky scrapers and the same culture, don't they?

Also, if you live in this climate, going to southern Europe for a week is always worth it!

Anonymous said...

Having day trips (visiting historical sites, national parks, etc.) can be fun. The best part is you're able to return to your own home and sleep in your own bed. I've visited Washington D.C. (and other places), seen the sights, and have been thrilled to get home and relax.


John Craig said...

Birdie --
What you said reminded me of that old expression, "The best part of any vacation is going home."

Anonymous said...

I'm supposed to be going on a trip from Australia to the UK so the girlfriend can see her family (I will see my UK based family too). Its in our summer (Australia's) coming up and all I can think about is the sun, warm morning breeze, waves and BBQ's at home I will miss out on.

Yep now officially a grumpy old bastard!


John Craig said...

Andrew --
Yikes, that's a long haul. I guess you'll be flying over Asia, but still. Plus, you'll have to be on your best behavior, which is always a pain.

But, yes, it's now official.

Quartermain said...

Usually vacation means to me doing the stuff I enjoy doing in my leisure but more of it. Good points and good post.

John Craig said...

Thank you Allan.

juiced yak said...

@Maybe its different in England. You can get an hour flight to Paris (or a train for that matter) for the weekend and its doable. There are lots of foreign countries and cool city breaks available quite nearby. Other American cities have sky scrapers and the same culture, don't they?

yes, it is different in america. you can fit all of western europe into 1/3 of the continental us.
l.a. to n.y. is a ~5 1/2 hour flight. the us is much bigger than europe. travel time is more significant. as to culture, well it's a sewer everywhere.

Anonymous said...

Jeez, what a bunch of negative nellies and grumpy old men.

No, every city in America does not have the same sky-scrapers and sewer-culture. NYC, Boston and DC all have very different vibes. DC doesn't even have skyscrapers. A few hours out of any of those cities you can be in bucolic countryside rife with history -- colonial life, revolutionary war, Civil War -- on some gorgeous beaches collecting sea glass, fossilized shark teeth, or Cape May diamonds, or up in the mountains, from the Green mountains of Vermont down to the Blue Ridge.

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” – Saint Augustine

As for having a pre-ordained "good time," I agree -- forced hilarity is painful.


John Craig said...

Gardner --
I love hearing from you even when it's only to be insulted. (And btw, you're only NOW just noticing that I'm a negative nelly and grumpy old man?)

Your travel brochure is well written, but after having lived in Boston for roughly 25 years total, NYC for 14 years, having visited DC plenty of times, and having seen more beaches than I care to, I just seem to have no desire to see them again. I guess I'm content with my one page.

Yes, it's long been my belief that every time you force a laugh it takes five minutes off your life. (A real laugh adds a minute or two.)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the kind words!

And I suppose at some point in life we have earned our grumpiness.

Now, if the weather in CT is anything like it is in the Nation's Capital today, we should all be outside.


John Craig said...

Gardner --
I try to confine my grumpiness to the blog. (Most casual acquaintances see me as innocuous.)

Yes, beautiful day. I'll be exercising outdoors later.