A long weekend, most people seem to figure, is the ideal time to skip town. And once, I tended to agree.
Many moons ago, the 20-something pals and I viewed the long weekend as a mini vacation opportunity. We loaded up the camping gear, slathered on the sunscreen, put the beer on ice, and hit the road in search of a lake or an ocean.
We whooped it up by the campfire, made friends we'd never see again, climbed into our sleeping bags and fell asleep exhausted.
Two days driving - more or less - and one day vacation.
These days, I do not make for the highway when the calendar announces a three-day weekend. I do not make for a ferry terminal or a border crossing or a bus depot.
Call me crazy, but spending time in a lineup of any kind - especially during a mini, mini, mini vacation - does not seem exactly, well, enjoyable.
I am, I suppose, less of a party animal than I used to be.
These days, I make for a lawn chair.
I make for a hammock.
I make for the deck, paperback and crossword and gin and tonic at the ready.
I may not sleep in a tent or munch on smores by a campfire, but what the heck. A queen-sized bed really ain't so bad.
I am, I realize, an anomaly. One workmate is heading to Seattle this August long weekend. Another is going to Vernon. A third will be heading to Saltspring.
Saltspring. "You're not going away?" one of them asked me, somewhat surprised.
"Nope," I said. "I'll be in the back yard. Except for an hour or two when I'll take in the Sun Festival."
"The Sun Festival?" she asked.
"Yeah," I replied. "It's this thing that people go to when they don't go away."
She didn't get it. But then, she doesn't live in these parts.
I happen to like the Sun Festival. And the movie nights. And the market days.
I happen to like going to the supermarket to get my steaks and being the only person in line, since everyone else is buying steak in Seattle or in Vernon or on Saltspring.
Today, as we speak, people everywhere are packing up their suitcases and their coolers. They're gathering together the Coleman stoves and the insect repellent and the sunscreen. They're getting out their maps and passports and their U.S. cash and coffee to-go mugs.
Me? I'm sitting outside, enjoying the sun, at home with my destination.