I want you to know that Dictionary.com defines the word “vacation” as “a period of suspension of work, study, or other activity, usually used for rest, recreation, or travel.”
They should add, “You may be required during this time to get into a car with your annoying siblings and clueless parents to drive forever into the desert so you can look into a big hole in the ground.”
Yes, that’s all the Grand Canyon, our vacation get-away destination, is. No malls or water parks as far as you can see, even with binoculars. Which is pretty far in Arizona.
My parents are against rampant commercialism. They want their children to appreciate the “wonder of the natural environment.” The natural environment of our car on a road trip, I’m sorry to report, is sticky food, loud music, and smelly feet. Mom and Dad didn’t seem to appreciate that on our last vacation. They never learn.
While Dad drove, Mom reminisced about her childhood experiences.
“The first time I saw Yosemite … snow everywhere … mist rising off the river … so beautiful … Grandma cried.” That was all I heard; I put on my headphones.
Dry brown hills surrounded us for miles, interrupted by an occasional oak tree. Where we live on the Pacific coast, everything is green, unless you drive out to the beach. Then all you see is blue. Had we crossed the state line while I was napping? Who knew it got like this?
We drove through the mountains, and discovered a desert on the other side. While Mom identified all the cactus species, my sister created the latest in fingernail fashion. She filled the car with so many toxic fumes we had to roll down the windows so Mom could breathe. Then Dad had a draft on the back of his neck.
After everybody stopped hollering, we arrived at my dad’s friend’s house.
“You’d have to be crazy to live out here in the bushes,” I told myself.
I didn’t think my dad would appreciate me saying his friend was crazy, so I didn’t say it out loud. I wondered if they had cable or wi-fi. I didn’t see a satellite dish.
“Dad, when are we going to the motel?”
“We’re staying here tonight.”