What I did on my summer vacation

Got bored, relatively

Got bored, relatively

September 05, 2006|by RYAN WILLARD

As I brought the first piece of vacation luggage out to my family's RV, I couldn't help but worry when I heard a rumble of thunder.

I'm a superstitious person by nature. I don't like seeing black cats. I avoid ladders. I worry about all the stuff that common sense tells me not to worry about.

Yet, here I was - worried. I thought to myself, "This trip stinks. Already. I'm not going to have any fun."

The idea was this: My aunt and uncle from California would fly to Maryland, along with their three kids. From there we would get my grandmother's and grandfather's RV in West Virginia and bring it to our house. My grandmother would tag along, to show us how to use the thing. We - 11 of us - would drive to Tampa, Fla., to meet my other aunt and see another grandfather, who lived near her.


I made up my mind that I was going to make the best of it. I thought to myself, "I can write on my story while going down there. I have the laptop and everything. This will be just fine."

The first few hours were nice. The RV clearly had its perks - more spacious than a car, it even had a bed in the back. I went there for a time and wrote on my laptop.

About three hours later, the heat started to kick in. A sticky, humid, thick heat. I quickly turned off my laptop because of the heat. It seemed to stifle all the possible thoughts I had.

All I could do was sleep, or try to sleep. I wasn't very successful.

The next 15 hours of the trip are a blur. We drove all evening and all night. We made it to Tampa at dawn. When I woke up, the sun was rising and we were getting out to meet Aunt Tammy, a very kind and generous woman who puts her heart on her sleeve every day. And Uncle Joe, an awesome guy from New York who I can talk to about anything.

I noticed very few things for the first few days. We got a hotel room shortly, and we ate and went places that I already forget. What I do remember is this: It was cooler in Florida than in Maryland. Not necessarily cooler, just drier, and that made a big difference. Other than that, the first few days went by in a boring flash.

We left for my grandfather's house four days later. The trip was about an hour and a half and not nearly as strenuous. I sat beside Dillon, my 10-year-old cousin, and saw what he was playing: the video game "Pokemon." I played it as a kid. Or obsessed over it as a kid - not only playing the game but buying the videos.

Dillon asked me if I wanted to play with one of his other "Pokemon" games. He had all the versions. Dillon was nice like that, too, and smart for his age. I decided to be polite. "Uhh, sure. Why not?" I said.

I was hooked within five minutes.

The rest of the trip I was oddly obsessed with playing that stupid game and reading the last book in the "Chronicles of Narnia" series. It was weird. I just missed what was happening around me. I wanted the time to pass so badly, to get back home, and this was how to do it - read and play "Pokemon."

The rest of the vacation didn't matter. I was pitiful, and I didn't enjoy myself. Only one good thing came of it - a pair o' shoes.

My grandfather owned a weird pair of shoes - a bright red plastic pair of hybrid sandal-shoes called Crocs. I'd never heard of them.

We made our way to the local seaside stores. One of the stores had some Crocs for sale. As an act of goodwill, I decided to buy a pair for myself, so my grandfather didn't feel like the only weirdo wearing these weirdo shoes.

But my sky blue Crocs aren't just comfortable; they are like walking on air. They are one of the main pairs that I wear now.

The rest of the trip isn't worth mentioning. Yes, I see I made the trip stink. I had all the wrong impressions at the start - I mean, rain is just rain, right? Sure, the heat was bad and the ride was boring, but I decided on my own to have a "lack o' fun" attitude.

Life can be really boring sometimes - and sometimes I choose it to be. But I can still learn a thing or two about myelf. Or at least get some really awesome shoes.

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