Vacation, All I Ever Wanted by Ben McCoy

I need a vacation, really, really bad.

But I just started reading Suze Orman and my fiscal future is not looking so great!  It’s been up all night chain-smoking, feeling porn-ish and it’s eyes are looking red, and puffy.  I would say it needs some sleep, but it sleeps twelve to fourteen hours already, unable to throw off the covers and get some sunlight, some vitamin D, instead it wakes when it wants to, when it feels right, which of course, it rarely does.

The thought of taking out a chunk of dough necessary for a vacation has me in flop-sweats. Seriously, hand me a valium, something to take the edge off. Suze Orman’s power-broker hair-do, is glistening just like her leather blazer, and her crazy money-trained hawk-eyes are glaring at me, DARING me to indulge in a vacation— nay, my future in FAILURE — taunting me to Go Ahead, Spend It All. But DONT SAY I DIDN’T WARN YOU.

I’m listening, Suze, I’m listening! That’s why I can’t sleep and I’m freaking out. Orman has yet to publish a book called “WTF To Do If You’re a Writer or Artist.” Did I mention I could really use a vacation?

I hear people talk about taking a stay-cation where they just chill out, take some time off, and stay at home and I don’t know, watch DVDs and cook? That’s not really going to work for me, because I work at home, don’t cook, and already have a  fluctuating sleep schedule designed by whatever amino acids may or may not be properly functioning in my body that day. I wait for the moment that I am inspired to wake UP, to get out of bed, to begin my day, which, can easily start after five pm. I have Dynasty dvds playing in the background, I talk in a fake british accent, gasping at Joan Collins and cheering Alexis Carrington Colby Dexter Rowan Morale on. I roll my eyes at Linda Evans, and fast-forward through her scenes. I sit, naked, my body half covered by cotton sheets that are no longer white, and watch as Alexis goes to the spa! Goes horse-back riding! Down the slopes, it’s ski-season dahling! Alexis taking younger lovers in saunas! Destroying the lives of those less glamourous! Every day of that woman’s life is a vacation, with wigs and gowns to match.

I, on the other hand, haven’t even been going out that much lately. You can’t even have a conversation with someone at a bar anymore, without wishing you were already talking to somebody else. You can spend the entire evening bouncing around, practicing bar-room feng shui, moving from barstool to wobbly barstool, and realize you had a more meaningful conversation with the fucking bartender. At least he knows what you’re drinking.

Face after face brushes up against your cheeks, SMOOCH! Air-kisses! A two-to-seven minute conversation takes place in which each individual begins, at light-speed, to give a condensed version of their last several Facebook update statuses. ITS BEEN SO LONG SINCE I’VE SEEN YOU!! the comment is ridiculous when considering how we are all constantly scrolling and sifting through one another’s online scrap-book. But the comment is also, significantly, even painfully true; we only ever see a stack of social resumes being handed out, line by line, with a cover letter made by instagram, and dotted with photos of food you just ate, and what events you went to, highlighted in a vague attempt at history. The whole experience is a choppy summary and just as flimsy. If I wanted cliff-notes I would have gone to the library.

I’m even contemplating quitting smoking. Not for health reasons, but just because it isn’t very fun anymore. I’m just sort of over it.

I really need a vacation.

I spent a moment (but only a moment; time IS money, and Suze is watching) and googled ‘cheap vacation,’ and on a page that has a poorly written ‘Things to do in California,’ list, I find this photo:

This does not look like a good time. Who is this bitch to the right?? Rattling on and on, self-possessed and with shabby posture, her hands gesticulating wildly about how there is NO WAY she was about to stay with HIM, and that she is SO MUCH better off these days, and things are just REALLY STARTING TO LOOK UP, she can focus on her CAREER NOW, and the new apartment isn’t THAT BAD, and she thinks she made the right decision, you know?

Even the brunette to the left is starting to regret the whole thing. Even her hair is getting bummed out about it. And that poor man in the middle, you know he hasn’t said a word in over two hours. Look at how he’s practically SCOOTING off his seat, inching towards the left, his flesh practically being gnawed at by the Vacation-Destroying Lady. This is what I’m supposed to scrounge up my dimes for? No thanks.

So I came up with this. I’m going to just start hanging out in parts of town that I never visit, that aren’t too close to my apartment, but also aren’t back-breakingly far away either. I mean, who wants to commute while you’re on a fucking vacation. Not Joan Collins, and not I, my friend.  So I’m going to go to resteraunts and cafes I’ve never been to, walk into boutiques I can’t afford and pretend that I can, and just  look around. Smile at people like I’m having a good time. You know, pretend.

Then I’m going to take my laptop and hang out in hotel lobbies and hotel bars. Hotels are a very important part of vacations! I just won’t be staying in one, that’s all. I’ll be enjoying the lounge. Soaking up the vibe, taking in the scene. People will pass me by with their luggage and we’ll glance at one another, our eyes sparkling with that eager glint of rest and relaxation, our bodies ready to be re-charged. We’ll smile at each other, knowing that our afternoons will soon be lounged about with absolutely no plans, only culture and adventure, leisure and FUN, with bedrooms that have maid-service, strangers that seem sexy and flirtatious, people fluttering about with interest, and streets filled with excitement and new experiences at every turn.

Well, at least one of us will. I suppose I’ll just pretend.

But who wants a pretend vacation?


Photo by Ginger Robinson

Ben McCoy is a writer and performance artist. McCoy has toured the country twice, most recently with Sister Spit, and has starred in several short films. Ben’s writing has been published in Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme, an anthology. McCoy also contributes to

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  1. Diego Gómez says:

    Misery loves company & so do the pennies in my credit union! I will pretend I am on vacay – everything’s better there anyway. The food seems cheaper ($10 for a cheeseburger? A deal! My, this is delicious!) Everyone seems like they’re flirting with you (maybe they are ’cause I’m in a better mood?) Regardless, reality is for suckers and/or the ri¢h & I am neither.

    Bon Voyage!

  2. tess jr says:

    Ben as usual u’ve got me fawning, “u r Cintrawilson-ish (always a great trip)” & that to me u r a raucous, nonfiction (creative nonfiction/is it), ZZ Packer, srsly, or that if this is blogging takes a holiday, gimme evry bump on the ride.

  3. tess jr says:

    ps: come ride me, my rickshaw along the waterfront