Last time we met, I spent some time explaining why I find Las Vegas to be an I-wouldn’t-return-if-it-were-the-last-place-left-standing-after-the apocalypse-which-would-be-ironic-vacation destination. However, I realized that there’s no use in beating a dead horse, although that might explain the what-the-hell-is-that odor that wafts just under the stench of desperation and cheap perfume on The Strip.
So, in the interest of interest, I’m moving on. Plus I’m tired of dashes.
I don’t like to travel and that is not Las Vegas specific. When I’m home, I can see no positive side of leaving said home. It’s nice here. I’ve imprinted my ass into my favorite place on the couch so that no one else can be comfortable there. My dogs live here and they seem to like me better than anyone has liked anyone since God was a boy.
My husband and son like me as well, not as much or as consistently as my pets, still, they keep my mental health in mind for their own peace and safety. I have yet to make the rest of the world understand the importance of this process.
It is not vacations I despise as much as the act of leaving my house, although I can usually take it in stride. Yes, I’ve had my moments of being dragged, screaming and weeping to a hired car destined to remove me from my home and abandon me at O’Hare Airport, just like everyone else, but I can deal.
Most times, when I arrive at my vacation destination, I can move forward with my life, maybe even make an attempt at fun, especially if the hotel leaves chocolate on my pillow.
Such was the case when I broke a 32-year-old ban on traveling overseas and visited London, Liverpool, and Paris with my husband and son.
In 1978, when I was a toddler bride, my husband and I went to England where we spent our honeymoon and most of the money we had or would have for the next five years. Despite being thrown from the back seat of a London taxi into a Plexiglas divider window within the first 30 minutes of my arrival; I liked it.
However there was the flight and the flight and the flight and the food wasn’t very good. Still, whatever London lacked in cuisine it made up for by lacking the what-the-hell-is-that smell plus Paul McCartney lived-and still does-live there.
Then I found out that, from my perspective, the flight back is longer than the flight there and deduced that another trip overseas would be the death of me, much to my new husband’s chagrin.
31 years later-when my husband was less new- I remembered that I had a 21-year-old-son who trusted me when I told him there were dragons lurking in the deep waters of the Atlantic Ocean conspiring to make a snack out of shiny jetliners. Sadly, he still took me at my word, even after the Santa Clause incident of 1997. So, I fessed up and told him the dragons were just a fun story which made more sense than the Easter Bunny.
Knowing that once I barely hinted to my husband that I might, in some kind of other worldly way, consider returning to the land of spontaneous queues and tea so strong that many of the monuments have been crafted from it, I kept the idea to myself for some time.
Once I broke the news to my husband, he managed to contain the dancing and tears of joy long enough to book the vacation online-within about ten minutes. Then I began to rethink my decision to the point of a nervous breakdown.
Not long after I mentioned this to my doctor who spoke the word that would open heavens gates and make the angels sing: Xanax.
She explained there was a magic potion, hitherto unbeknown to me, that, when swallowed, shortens the flight to London from 8 hours to about 50 minutes. It was difficult to believe, but miracles happen and, as a result, I arrived in London
refreshed and prepared for whatever life had to offer, and unaware that I had traveled to England, as I was operating on residual Xanax.
I was not particularly concerned when the taxi driver drove off with my purse containing all of my identification, including my passport, driver’s license, credit cards, and the gum I was going to chew in case my ears popped on the plane. My husband however was burdened with a sense of reality and became quite distressed, a state of mind he expressed with many words the Brits only use if they become rock stars.
My son, however, had a plan. It seemed that he clearly remembered the taxi driver in question and since the drivers took turns picking up folks at the train station, stealing their purses and circling back to continue the lucrative process, he and I returned to taxi station to search for the cabbie that was showing my purse around England. Unfortunately, it turned out that my son remembered the guy looked “British” so that didn’t exactly pan out.
Meanwhile, as my son compared one British looking cabbie to the next, the driver in question was driving through the neighborhood from which he had dropped us off, most likely looking for people who looked American.
Due to the heroics of this chivalrous fellow and the owner of the bed and breakfast where we were to stay, my purse was eventually returned. As a result, my husband cancelled his stroke and we took a walk into a nearby village rather than the ER.
On the way, we came upon one of those British fellows you’ve heard so much about…from me. He accused my husband of absconding with his wife (me again). He went on to woo me in Italian and, for a moment, I considered throwing my entire life away to follow him despite his advanced age and general lack of teeth. But then I remembered: that would be stupid.
So, I remained married and toured London, Paris, and Liverpool, where, I swear to whatever works for you that a rainbow appeared over Paul McCartney’s childhood home when I arrived.
Eventually we went on to find that the Parisians have been struggling with a bad rap when it comes to the level of their friendliness, probably perpetuated by Parisans to keep touristism to a minimum.
All in all, except for my husband’s stress fracture, it was a lovely trip with little nudity, an appreciation for inside voices and a constant parade of cute boys. Don’t mention this to my husband but I may return. And now I must go and see why a limo has arrived out front.