Weekend Wanderer: I Rebelled on Vacation

What should we talk about this week? The guy dressed like Michael Jackson – single glove and all – I pass on the way to tutoring? My underwear? I don’t have a lot to say about the King of Pop’s doppelgänger. But I do have a lot to say about my underwear.

I left my underwear on the floor last week. For a whole day.

I was on vacation, but that is really no excuse. Who does that? Dictators probably. Serial killers for sure. People who bike on the left and walk on the right. People who don’t bag their own groceries, absent infirmity.

Not me. My underwear goes in the hamper. Every time.

But in our vacation home, the hamper was communal and in a common area. I got dressed in my bedroom, forgetting the underwear on the floor.

I saw the underwear a few hours later, sitting there on the floor of my bedroom. And gasped. I have never, in my life, left dirty clothes on the floor. I made two kids with my underwear right in the hamper where it belongs. I’m not James Dean or a ’90s Christian Slater or a Reality Bites Ethan Hawke. I have a cause, and it is not rebellion.

I made a mental note to put the underwear in its place. I finished doing whatever it was I came to my bedroom to do.

Then I left.

And forgot the underwear.


Many hours later, I saw the underwear on the floor. Who was I? Was this Vacation Me?

My entropy had just begun. Brace yourselves for what I did next.

I fell into bed each night without showering.

Yes, yes. Of course, I showered in the morning! But long days chasing the kids around a beach and pool left me a grimy mess. Each night, a layer of sweat, chlorine, sunscreen, and salt clung to my skin like Saran Wrap clings to last night’s dinner.

But I didn’t shower before bed. I crawled between my sheets each night looking like Tom Hanks in Cast Away. I can’t even fathom what I smelled like. Vacation Me had simply taken over.

She is a rule-breaker, Vacation Me. She eats a lot of cookies. She eats cookies the same day she has a milkshake. She lets her kids swim in the pool unsupervised, even though the rules are clearly stated for someone eighteen or older to stand watch.

“You’re almost 18,” Vacation Me called out to my 16-year-old. Then she left the pool. Left it!

Vacation I didn’t argue with my youngest when he wanted to visit a trampoline park instead of a museum. Vacation me was lax about vegetables. Vacation me only ran the dishwasher twice. Vacation Me didn’t exercise.

Obviously, I’ve vacationed before. But even on vacation, I don’t deteriorate like this. And a vacuum. And folded beach towels. I put spinach on the kids’ dinner plates.

What sparked this bedlam? I asked myself this periodically during my week away. I poked around my brain, looking for the reason my underwear had taken up permanent residence on the floor.

The first realization I had was that I liked Vacation Me. Liked her! How? Why? What’s it like? Donuts for breakfast and kids riding rickety boardwalk rides? If Vacation Me was a fellow school mom, we’d never be friends.

But I liked this girl who kicked back. She laughed more. She thought less. Her kids didn’t fight. She liked the salt in her hair and the sweat on her lips as she curled up in bed with Candy.

My second thought was this must be what hot yoga does for a girl. All of that sweating and warrior-posing and 95-degree heat was possibly having the effect I desired. Maybe I was finally going to be more Ferris, less Cameron. Maybe I’d be Vacation Me even at home.

After all, nothing bad happened when Vacation Me left underwear on the floor, right? The world didn’t fall apart. The sun still rose and set in all the right times and places. Gozer the Gozerian hadn’t entered our dimension through a New York City apartment building. Right?

Well, Britain did have the hottest temperatures in over 300 years. Was that because Vacation Me left underwear on the floor and put her kids on wobbly rides? Did my mermaid-hair-don’t-care attitude press Europe into environmental calamity?

I mean, probably. Right?

Ah, there she is. There’s Not-Vacation Me! Worrying about stupid things and using her hamper with the furor of a zealot!

Yeah. I didn’t miss her one bit.

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