A vacation, by definition, is a time to get away from your life. For some of us it’s all about fun, and for others it may be about reflection. There’s relaxation, connecting with friends or family, or experiencing new places and things. I had planned this as a working vacation – a time to relax with friends, but also a time for reflection and maybe a little writing. I had envisioned myself walking into coffee shops with my laptop and spending hours stringing words together in some sort of beautiful and meaningful way.
Of course, things don’t always turn out the way they were planned. Instead of creating the perfect vacation, I have inadvertently become a major financial contributor to the alcohol and cigar industries. The most responsible thing I’ve done so far is get a one-hour massage the afternoon after I arrived. However, instead of enjoying the normally rejuvenating qualities of a professional massage, I was barely able to have half the accumulated toxins squeezed out of me from the previous night’s adventures with beer, wine, and cheap cigars. By the time the massage was over, my secreted toxins left a brown and yellow imprint of my tortured body on the massage table that was more detailed and revealing than the Shroud of Turin.
Hallucinations are usually more vivid when a person is in the semi-comatose state brought on my the sudden expulsion of poisons from the body, but I was still rather surprised when I noticed the scary clown standing in the corner of the room throwing flaming Raisinets at my massage therapist.
I drew very little attention when I ran out of the massage clinic screaming, clad only in my tidy-whities while holding a crumpled pile of clothes to my chest like a confused, half-naked marathon runner on a bad acid binge. The fact that my behavior seemed so normal to the locals is proof positive that I had picked the right location to enjoy my vacation.
I ran all the way back to my friend’s house, largely ignored by humans but chased by at least a dozen crazed, feral canines. Once I distanced myself from the pack of rabid dogs and gained safe haven inside the house, I immediately dressed and made myself a bloody Mary with extra horse radish and some hot sauce that was labeled, ‘You Gotta Be Kidding Me!’
My friend had heard me enter his house and came downstairs to greet me. After one quick glance at me he simply said, “You need a beer, and you need it now.” I concurred with his sage advise, downed the rest of my drink, and followed him to his jeep. The drive to Taco Mac’s took less than ten minutes. Shortly after our arrival we were downing pints of Tennessee Sludge IPA and staring at a huge plate of chicken wings. My tongue was still inflamed from the bloody Mary, but my friend insisted that we order wings that had been marinated in a sauce called ‘You Gotta Die of Something!’ I started to question that decision, but decided to munch down on the saturated chicken wings nonetheless.
The rest of the afternoon was a blur of semi-conscious observations of my surroundings, explosive diarrhea, dangerously acidic sweat, and more alcohol and cigars. I recalled reading Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse back in the seventies. It seems like that guy had to go through a lot of hardships and strange events before he could ascend to a higher state of consciousness. Maybe this is what was happening to me. Perhaps I was only two or three cold pints from Nirvana…
I need to start keeping notes of these harrowing events so I can derive some sort of wisdom and understanding from them once my vacation is over.
If only I can keep dodging those flaming Raisinets.