The roomy interiors, the surprising pathways, and the omnipresent specter of your ex-wife Linda may seem intimidating, but the prepared traveler will find that 36 hours inside his own head is its own reward.
Many believe that a fun, affordable weekend of travel must involve some rustic hideaway or bustling metropolis, but today we’d like to focus on the joy and whimsy that readers will experience by forsaking rental cars and guidebooks and spending a day and a half inside of your own head. The average reader might have some reservations, only remembering previous head-time for its propensity to generate errant ideas about going to business school, or about what it might have been like if you’d stayed closer with your siblings. But that’s your old head! Things have really changed since Linda left with the kids.
3 pm — Stewing in the kitchen
The kitchen is a great place to start the weekend—you’ve just heard the door slam as Linda and the kids walk out, ending their summer afternoon with you prematurely. You can start by pacing back and forth in front of the island until you hear the tires move in the driveway, at which point we recommend moving over to the window and watching the car (Honda Accord, $26,000) drive quickly away, as if your ex-wife and kids can’t wait to get this part of their life over with. “Unbelievable,” you may want to mutter to yourself.
5 pm — Fix yourself a drink
At this point, the sun will have started to set a little bit, and you’ll want to wander over to the liquor cabinet and pour yourself a few fingers of bourbon. You’ll find your eye drifting upwards toward the Four Roses—resist that urge: you’re not worth the good stuff. Not today. Go for the Jim Beam (750 ml for $16.99). Lean your arms on the counter and wonder when it was, exactly, that you and your family started living separate lives.
7 pm — The den
Some readers will have their own memories of the den, as a place where Lily and Zoey would play board games on family night, where Linda would look up at you with a smile, all of you oblivious of what was to come. Not anymore! The den’s undergone a major revamp—perfect for sitting down and staring at the blank television screen (LG 55” 1080P – $450) and soaking in your regrets. Listen closely, and you’ll think you hear your family’s footsteps.
9 pm — Fixating on the harm that could befall your family
They’re going up to Linda’s mother’s—that’s a few hours away. More on these summer nights. All these people coming and going on the roads. Some of them drinking, probably. Christ, should you call and check? Linda doesn’t want to hear from you. What if that was the last time you ever saw them? You should call.
10 am — Wake up and briefly forget the mental state you’re in
You’ll have about 90 seconds on Saturday where you don’t remember yesterday. Enjoy it! Think about the day, feel the softness of your sheets ($228 – Brooklinen), relax. Then, suddenly, it will all come back.
11 am — Regret
Oooh boy, things sure could have gone a little bit differently in this old life of yours. That’s for certain.
1 pm — What did she mean by that?
When Linda left yesterday, she said something about you not having to be as involved in the girls’ schooling this year, that she’d be happy to handle it. The fuck was that supposed to mean?
3 pm — Remembering the moment where everything could have gone differently
Once you’ve pried yourself from bed, it’s back to the kitchen, where you’ll pull the cold saran-wrapped waffles that you made for Lily and Zoey yesterday morning. The waffles they politely declined, because Linda’s had them cut down on starchy foods. You can chew absentmindedly on the cold waffle (no need to heat it up—your ability to detect external stimuli has been dulled to the point of numbness; your full attention is commanded by your own miserable head as it forces you to watch the ceaseless parade of your own failings.) You find yourself pulled back constantly to that day where you declined the offer with a top west coast firm, because it would be too far away from Linda’s folks. “I should have stood up for myself,” you may say.
5 pm — Would your grandfather like the person you’ve become?
Your grandpa fought at Guadalcanal and worked insurance and fixed his own car right out in the driveway. Married to the same woman for fifty years. Would he even recognize you as his progeny? Moping around, never asserting yourself, passively accepting everything that came your way?
7 pm – Regret and more bourbon
What the hell. Linda probably pulled herself together fifteen minutes into the drive, and here you are, caroming down the same old pathways, thinking about the same old things. At this point in the weekend, you’re not going to have the energy to stretch your legs and visit any new spots inside your head. Go ahead and pour yourself another tumbler of bourbon and spiral out.
10 am – Sitting out on the patio smoking, thinking of your honeymoon
As your weekend comes to a close and you start to think of what comes next, you’ll want to put away the booze in favor of a stimulant (Marlboro Reds, $13.50, from the gas station down the street). Smoke a few cigarettes end-to-end as you relive the four days you and Linda spent in Bar Harbor, Maine after the wedding. Laughing, eating lobster, making love. The memories are so vivid, but it’s like they belong to someone else. The cigarette burns your hand.
Wherever you happen to be! This is a great trip which you can take whether you’re at home in the suburbs, on a family vacation, or even on a business trip. No extra lodging expenses need to be budgeted.