I highly recommend packing weeks early for a big trip so you can be wound-up, stressed and tired around your co-workers, family & friends. This way you avoid: (1) heading off in your vehicle on day 1 of ‘the big trip’, attempting to stay awake after 3 hours of sleep and a previously crazed night of last-minute packing, while wondering if all the pit stops have been worth the ‘caffeine buzz’, and (2) muttering to yourself and yelling at your fly rod during the first half of ‘vacation’ while your (currently annoying)vacation buddy continuously suggests you relax.
Prior to my latest fly fishing trip, I did just that: (drum roll) I packed early. My vacation pal –who, truthfully, never is annoying- did tell me to relax a couple of times, or something to that affect. Frankly, I think he was just saying it out of habit. I was so chilled out, that while we canoed we could’ve set the beer on my lap and I would’ve kept it comfortably cold. I was so relaxed, I should’ve worn a diaper. Oh, wait, too much information (Now my buddy will know why the beer never really stayed cold). But you get me drift. I…was…relaxed.
I hate to clean. I am not domestic. And something feels very unnatural about doing typical, cleanly domesticated things while on vacation. Some ignorantly call this ‘laziness’, but the enlightened (like me) know better. Jeez, it’s vacation(!) and all mundane thoughts of typical daily labor should be left at home. That is why I despised the 5 minutes it took to wash the dirty camp dishes. Plus, there was firewood to find and to cut, water to collect and to treat, a fire to successfully light, meals(campfire meals are not typical chores) to cook, & a bear bag to hang. Of course, all this took place during the last 1.5hrs of daylight, while the mosquitoes were sucking out the last ounces of fluid from our already dehydrated bodies, after a day of paddling and fly fishing in the sun and wind, which was after a late-night of drinking the not-so-cold beer.
Maybe that is why my buddy asked ‘if there was something wrong?’ at times... perhaps while also wondering if I should relax a bit more…. But, fellow fly angler, you understand, don’t you? You understand while, after a hard day of play, all sweaty and stinking, after hauling & cutting wood, hauling water, throwing rope-wrapped rocks over tree limbs and hauling up bear bags, then hauling off and smacking the insects bleeding our bodies dry, on vacation, why it irritated me to hunker down & spend 5 minutes scrubbing dirty dishes? Something wrong? I was simply in the zone. I was working hard to steal back those precious 5 minutes of relax-time I’d lost to the dishes at the end of each vacation day.
Heck, that isn’t true. Well... it’s partially true. Under very specific circumstances, I admit to being lazy. Some may say I’ve been a bachelor(ette) too long. I’ve come to realize that if I frequently get carry-out, not only do I avoid cooking, I avoid dirty dishes piling up in the sink. I’ve also wisely expostulated that if I knew I were going to die tomorrow, I’d regret not taking a fly fishing trip, but would not regret leaving behind a sink of dirty dishes(sorry mom—I recommend you just throw them out).
So, what’s the moral to the story? I don’t know. What I do know is that if my vacation buddy is still willing to vacation with me, I’d go back to the Boundary Waters again in a heart-beat, relaxed or not, hard work to be had or not.
Do you know what the irony is? Once I got home I unloaded my truck & immediately transported the mess to my living room & kitchen floors. Then, a couple days went by. The vacation mess remained, but I’d washed all my dirty dishes.