1. The bedroom. The native language here has more than 50 known words to mean “anxiety” and the local motto is “we’re totally fucked.”

2. The kitchen. Local—really local—cuisine shows carbs have made a serious comeback, and exotic specialty drinks mix wine and fluids with electrolytes. Main attraction is the space under the sink with extra cleaning supplies.

3. The bookshelf. There’s that moment in the journey when you see something charmingly antiquated yet strangely powerful – a primitive drawing of a horse in a cave, a young child’s doll ca. 1540 – and think of how we are all connected and so fundamentally human. Etc. These artifacts have been schlepped from apartment to apartment to apartment and lo back to the beginning of time, or at least the second Clinton administration. You may spot two copies of the penultimate Gladwell book, both gifts, but no Russian Literature.

4. The bathroom. Some things speak for themselves, defying description, like Mona Lisa’s smile, or a john. This is a space for hiding from the family and crying, and realizing you had to pee anyway due to excessive fluid intake. You might as well sit here for a while since you bothered to make the trip, and there’s not much else going on.

5. The kids’ room. For travelers prone to flights of speculative fancy – what if I was a builder on the railroad or the Great Wall of China, what if I was sitting in a café with the surrealists – here’s your chance: you always said if you weren’t a management consultant or doing stochastic modeling for a hedge fund you would teach young children with patience and gentle humor.

6. The shrink’s office. This is actually over Zoom in your own home, where you spend most of the time imagining the shrink will be interrupted by their own family so you can actually see them, or fantasizing you will be rudely interrupted by your own family as proof of concept that you are holding the entire family together and don’t get enough help.

7. Mecca. Community meeting place for laptops and tablets. Portal to Netflix.

8. Day trips. Nearby attractions for the intrepid traveler, such as CVS to see if their shelves are re-stocked, and the Donut Pub because good god you need a lot of donuts right now.


And now a quick joke...

The worst part about Christmas is wrapping presents. I bought my friend the latest 2 Chainz CD as a joke and asked the lady at the store to wrap it for me. She said, “I need a beat.”