I spent Tuesday morning watching the red carpet show at the Met Gala. I realized how much I missed sparkles and elaborate hairdos and beautiful jewelry on display. I have a coterie of friends who love couture (even if none of us can afford it) and we spent the day going through photos from the event as we had time and then discussing them in a private Facebook chat.
Watching a bunch of people absolutely delighted to get dressed up and have fun was an excellent distraction. Seeing so many people of color walk the red carpet, and sharing designs from their friends and partners livened up both the festivities and the parade of dresses. Reading about the hand-sewn dresses that took hundreds of hours of work turned them into works of art by hundreds of artisans.
Right now I need escapism. The covid situation right now in West Virginia is dire. Cases are higher than they were at the pre-vaccine peak, and more people are seriously ill. The governor, who is an idiot, refuses to do more than pathetically plead with people to get vaccinated. I’m back to staying away from people again. Many of you know the feeling.
On top of this, the last few years have been rough times for my husband and me: job losses, a life-threatening (as in 24 hours to live if left untreated) illness that required months of recovery, a debilitating injury that is also requiring months of physical therapy. I remind myself every day that in the grand scheme of things I have nothing to complain about as these are all problems that have been or will be solved, and that I have plenty of shelter, food, medical care, etc. But as my mom once said “Just because other people have it worse than you do, it doesn’t mean that what is happening to you isn’t real, too.”
I also need a real escape. Because of all the tribulations of the last years we had to cancel vacations, and so haven’t been away since January 2013. Yeah. So in a leap of faith we decided to split a longer trip we were going to take next year into 2 parts and head to the Florida Keys in January to get caught up on vacation time and to begin the preliminary steps of our next house hunt.
Life is different when you start to have things to look forward to. I love the anticipation of a trip as much as the trip itself, and I try to learn as much as I can about where I’ll be so I can make the most of the trip, so I’ll read about the area we’re staying in, research local restaurants, bars, and music venues. I’ll learn about the unique things that you can only do there, and find the places that the tourists don’t go. My husband went to college in Florida, and he studied oceanography, so he spent a good bit of time snorkeling and SCUBA diving in the Keys, so he’s in charge of the geography lessons and the forays into neighborhoods we might like to live in.
Plus I am a parsimonious New Englander, so tracking down flights and hotel rates is one of my superpowers (you should have seen the color-coded spreadsheet I made for our wedding/honeymoon where I ranked the ships, the rooms, the ports, the number of days at sea, etc.). Because of everything we’ve been through over the last few years, I also made the decision to treat ourselves to little luxuries along the way—a more relaxed flight and the hotel I liked the best from my research. It’s a lovely property on a marina, with a beautiful pool area and the constant hum of fishing boats and pleasure boats of every size. We’re going to spend some time doing nothing, too. Ahhhh.
Of course the danger of planning so far in advance is that you have no idea how feasible the idea really is. January brings snowstorms. Covid might not die down after the Delta variant dies out. I don’t care. I’m going to enjoy my anticipation, and then I’ll enjoy my vacation. I hope that all of you who also need an escape are able to take one in the near future, too. Joy be with you all.