I had the right idea on the way down. Sitting at the airport, waiting for my flight to San Fran, I cracked open the laptop and started working on my long-abandoned first novel, which I rediscovered while backing up my old hard drive. Reading through it, my first thought was “Huh – it’s not that bad.” My second was “…and I know what it needs to be better.” I was merrily typing away when my plane boarded, and away went the laptop.
As it turned out, that was the last time I turned on the computer for fun my whole trip.
The trip was, in theory, broken into two parts. My “vacation” schedule was thus:
5pm flight lands, 7pm get to SC, have dinner with sister & brother-in-law, pretend I’m not on the verge of collapse due to skipping lunch
7:30pm – 9pm: Oh, I’ve got a little break. I’ll just catch up on some work.
9pm: Dancing at the Dakota, where :cue sympathy: not even one of my friends bothered to stop by and say hello, despite the fact that I’d posted several bulletins saying “I’ll be in town! Come play with me!,” 12am back to Bec’s, where I do a little more work and then go to bed at 2.
9am breakfast, work, 11am pedicures, 1pm meetup with Emily and Mia, 5pm dinner with Maggie, 9pm back to Bec’s, 10pm work, 1am sleep.
Monday, though tecnically the first day of the “Business” portion of my trip, I decided to “take some time off.” This seemed somewhat reasonable (given that I hadn’t had any downtime yet) and turned out to be a huge, massive, all-encompassing mistake. Because, see, when I was tooling around Santa Cruz feeling vaguely bereft but pleasantly unencumbered? I could have been working. And if I had been working, I would have at least been closer to being caught up, instead of firing up the laptop Tuesday morning and realizing that I have more work to do than any one person could do in a week…plus 8 hours of conference every day. But I digress. Monday, lovely day, hung out with Maggie and then hung out with Emily and generally felt better than one should feel on a Monday, especially when one’s kid is several hundred miles away. And then, after the lovely Miss Emily got back in her car and I was alone in the city, I realized something I should have thought of weeks ago.
There is only one of me.
Yeah! I know. I was shocked too.
So the me who was going to take it easy and spend my downtime crocheting and watching primetime TV? Out. The me who had grandiose plans of spending my evenings immersed in my writing and finally, finally getting to concentrate on the book for more than an hour at a time? Out. The me who was going to spend the week being gregarious and outgoing and picking the brains of the lecturers? Out. (This one was a real disappointment, because I’d been psyching myself up for weeks. But do you have any idea how much energy it takes for the pathologically introverted to do things like smile and not hide under tables? More energy than I have on any average work day, I can tell you that right now.)
And that left us with the usual me, the one who works like mad during every free second so that I can feel like I’m not a complete waste of space. I so dislike the feeling of being unprofessional and unresponsive that I actually worked during several lectures, flipping manically between taking notes and making intricate modifications to a comp in Photoshop so that I could email it to the client before the end of the day. After at least a few of the sessions, of course, I wanted to talk to the speaker (because his or her presentation had been fascinating) but I was afraid that I’d say something that would make it obvious that I hadn’t been paying adequate attention. Because god forbid I don’t know the answer to every question before I ask it! I bug me.
Naturally this did WONDERS for my already overwhelming sense that I really didn’t belong, given that I’m nowhere near being an expert in anything web-related, and clearly had nothing of any interest to say to anyone. (I scurried quickly back to the hotel after the conference each evening so my cavernous, gaping ignorance wouldn’t embarrass me.)
This, my friends, was my vacation. I missed my kid. I missed my husband. I spent a bunch of money at Sephora. (Okay, that part wasn’t so bad.) And I squandered the opportunity to rub shoulders with people I admire in favor of making myself crazy trying to be three places at once.
I ask you, internets: what the hell is wrong with me?