The conversation would go like this:
“I can’t wait to get out of this cold weather; I’m going to Fort Lauderdale for an entire week!”
“Great!” They would say. “Who are you going with?”
“No one,” I would reply. “I’m going by myself.”
(Big look of surprise, pity or confusion), “Oh…really? Why?”
And so I’d tell them. For one thing it’s just hard to find someone to travel with. My husband works in education so he did not have that week off, and my own work schedule looked pretty busy during his spring break. Some friends could not spare the time or money or both. Some people had vacations already planned. And other people…although I love them dearly, probably did not have the same travel tastes as I did. I would be happy shopping, eating and lying on the beach, whereas others need more adventure.
After explaining this, I’d get one of three reactions. The first group undoubtedly walked away thinking I was a loser with no friends. The second group thought I was brave and cool, but they would never do such a thing themselves. But then the third group (and these were my favorite people) just got it.
“Yeah…” they would say while nodding. “Yeah…that is GENIUS. Tell me more.”
The truth is, if I absolutely HAD to bring someone with me, I’m sure I could have found someone…but after a while I kind of called off my search on purpose. Because the more I thought about it, the more I craved time all to myself.
I completely understand that many people would hate this idea, but not me. For as long as I can remember, I’ve known this about myself. I could spend hours and hours alone in my bedroom playing with my Barbies or reading books. My kindergarten report card said “Anne should spend less time playing by herself and more time with other children.”
When I think about that report card today, I think, “So where’s the problem?”
When I finally did leave on vacation, the questioning continued, starting with the rental car guy.
“Do you have family here?”
“Are you meeting friends here?”
“Are you here for work?”
He just could not get past the idea that I would be on vacation by myself. And no, I don’t want to pay twenty-five bucks for a toll pass I will never use, so lay off already.
(On a side note, I ALMOST scored $557 worth of travel vouchers from Southwest when they asked for volunteers to take the next flight 3 hours later. If they only needed one person, I was in! If they needed two, then they would take this other pair who also volunteered. Yeah, they ended up needing two. So, so close. It went to a dad and son who separated from the wife and two other kids. Probably because they were all Screamy McFidgety. And I should know. I ended up sitting in front of them on the damn plane.)
But getting back to my vacation. Let’s face it: Some of us just need time to ourselves to do what we want, when we want. The idea of having an entire week by myself sounded downright heavenly. The solo TV viewing alone was worth it. No rednecks or shows about people trying to rustle up snakes/raccoons/fish/opossums/rare coins/one-night-stands/publicity. For one week it would be strictly E!, Bravo and my Netflix queue.
And then there was the sleeping. If I wanted to take a nap from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., get up, eat some chips, rally, then watch a “Rich Kids of Beverly Hills” marathon until 2 a.m., I could do this. (If you haven’t already guessed, this happened. A lot.) But yet I disturbed no one because I was blissfully alone.
But there’s more! I had the bathroom to myself. I shopped at my own pace and only went into stores that I wanted to visit. I didn’t care what anyone else was hungry for. What mattered was that I was hungry for Chick-Fil-A, damnit, and hell yeah I would drive 30 minutes to get it. (This too may have happened. P.S. Will someone please open a Chick-Fil-A near me, already?)
Did I miss my family? Of course I did. I do admit I was most lonesome at dinner when I’d have to eat alone. I kept thinking that people in large groups would notice me, take pity on me and then ask me to join them, but they never did. But I got through it, often reading a book or eavesdropping on my fellow diners while sipping some wine.
And so now after 2.5 books, five magazines, seven Glee episodes, two movies, and countless blissful hours of sleep …I am refreshed.