Lies & Relaxation

by Jane Moneypenny

“So, did you get off work for Thanksgiving?”

The words blink in the chat window.

“Er, no, Kelly and I probably won’t know until the week before Thanksgiving. I’m sorry.”

He sighs, disappointed. A little more small talk and then the conversation ends.

Surprisingly, I feel no guilt. Why should I, you ask?

Because Kelly and I are DO have Thanksgiving off and we’re backpacking for a much-needed week in Belize and a hop into Guatemala. Snorkeling, swimming, relaxing, caving, hiking and of course, eating.

Here’s the story. Carl is a friend of a friend that traveled with me, Kelly and the mutual friend to Puerto Rico last Thanksgiving. He also was with me for a few days on my California Highway 1 roadtrip. He is, what we call, a bipolar high-maintenced person and traveler, the worst kind (the fortunate thing is he’s an incredibly good-looking European).

One moment, he would be singing along happily and excitedly gushing about our trip and the next moment, be grumpy and moody about having to drive (despite demanding that he be the one with the keys). He went from trying to obsessively (almost angrily) analyzing why I needed to lock the car doors when we got in to being cheerful and loving life, as if nothing bothered him. Whatever the case, even my most calmest nonemotional friend blew up at him.

So when he emailed about Thanksgiving traveling a few months ago, all three of us automatically gave excuses: money, work, significant others, etc. But I still wanted to travel! I get very few vacation days and Thanksgiving gives me 2 “free” days. So Kelly and I talked about and after a lot of research, found that Belize was the cheapest flight we could get. A day later, an email from Carl appears excitedly saying we should go to Belize.

So we lied. And continued lying. Weeks went by and we all thought the topic was dropped until he popped out of nowhere yesterday to ask if my plans had changed. So I lied. And for the first time, felt absolutely no guilt. This was MY vacation, my time off, my first breather in over 6 months. And he’s a friend of a friend and not someone I think about much.

Because sometimes, I just have to be a little selfish and take care of myself.

(I also treated myself to a maid service once a month. I grew up never understanding why people had maids, but as clean and organized I am, it’s an incredible feeling to come home to a beautifully vacuumed and scrubbed apartment ever 4 weeks).