Up Front: A Compromising Vacation
Are you like me? You go on a vacation and are accused of not leaving work behind. I don’t mean fretting about your business, and if all the little details have been handled. I mean spending too much time looking at construction details. Take heart, you are not alone, not by a long shot and I have proof. The following are the writings I have done on vacation.
Take heart, you are not alone, not by a long shot and I have proof. The following are the writings I have done on vacation.
Location: Paris, France
A trip to Paris is not complete without a visit to the Louvre museum. The Louvre holds some of the most impressive artwork in the world and it annoys my wife to no end. As we strolled through galleries of impressive artwork, my wife would turn to me with the intent of commenting on a Rembrandt, Gogan or a Da Vinci, and once again sees me intently studying the plaster on the walls. “I can’t believe it” She exclaims. “The world’s most impressive art work and you are looking at the walls and ceilings?” I tried to explain to her that I had never seen this type of plaster. My curiosity and intense passion did not impress her. OK, I misled you; it is me that annoys her and not the artwork.
I was in one of the massive exhibit rooms and noticed another man examining the walls as I had only moments earlier. Could this prove to my wife that I was not a freak? To my pleasant surprise, he was caught by his wife. I did not speak their language, but clearly understood the meaning of what she was saying. He was being chastised for paying more attention to the walls than the works of art. It was all too familiar a scene. He glanced over at me with a dejected look and I nodded to him with only the appreciation of another connoisseur of wall and ceiling construction would understand. He nodded back politely, but with a slight look of perplexity. I saw him again in another part of the Louvre museum. This time he caught me running my hand down the wall. As I looked over at him, he gave me the nod of acknowledgement. He now fully understood what had happened earlier. He now knew he too was not alone.
Location: The African Savannah
Arrived today in Africa for a photo safari. Due to jet lag I can’t sleep and am outside on the veranda. It is just past midnight and all of the other guests have gone to bed. I can’t sleep, so I write. I have been warned by Allen, our game reserve ranger, not to wander away from the fenced compound, particularly at night. There are some dangerous animals out there and the most dangerous ones like to hunt at night. I hear the eerie sounds of the nocturnal birds and soft water splashes from the crocodiles and hippopotamus in the watering hole about 200 yards away. All in all, it is peaceful and surreal that I am sitting here in Africa and writing. My moment of serenity is abruptly broken by a horrible scream that cuts through the night air. As the hair stands on the back of my neck, reality hits that some animal has just lost the eternal struggle for life.
But my thoughts soon return back to the earlier part of the day when we checked into the reserve at the main lodge that was about two miles away. The main lodge is having an addition built. The workmen were installing a new thatch roof. I had seen thatch roofs in pictures from England, but never in real life and certainly never one being installed. I stood and watched as he laid the bundles across the roof framing and used a giant needle and thread to sew the thatch bundles to the framework. I took a few pictures and before I could really comprehend and appreciate how the roof was constructed, I walked away. You see, I know how much time I have before I wear my wife’s patience too thin. I walked away appearing mildly curious about the construction practices of Africa. When we circled around the building, I noted another couple was now watching the African roofer. The husband was taking pictures, the African worker turned and smiled as if he were posing for the picture, proof positive that I am not alone. The man on the ground was as interested as I was, and the worker was obviously used to having his picture taken before.
Next time you are on vacation with your spouse, take a copy of this editorial and say, “Honey, I am sorry but I need just a moment to see this construction and I know I am not the only one, so be patient with me.” If you are reading this and could care less about wall and ceiling construction, you can use this editorial as well. Your line could be: “Honey, look at all the cool construction around the world, you really have to explore it!”
Life is all about compromise. Except for the impala who met the crocodile on the African safari. W&C