What I Did on My Summer Vacation: Nothing!

Okay, I know, summer just started, but since I’m not suited for the really hot weather of July and August, I was more than happy to take a week off in late June for a little rest and relaxation. Admittedly, if we had the free time and a little more money in our savings account, we might have planned a little more than we did, but for now, I’d say we absolutely got our money’s worth.

This year’s summer vacation was actually a repeat of last year, as my family joined other families and youth from our church for several days of camping at Clay’s Park Resort in Canal Fulton for the 21st Annual Alive Music Festival. It was a week that concluded with four days and four nights of food, fellowship, and a fantastic lineup of today’s best Christian music.

But what made it the perfect respite for me was not necessarily getting to see my favorite bands live (Mile7, Red, and Casting Crowns, to name a few), or witnessing my friend Robert down 21 Slim Jims by the campfire. And it certainly wasn’t the severe storms that hit Saturday night. No, what really made it heaven on earth for me was the inordinate amount of time I got to spend sitting in a camp chair doing absolutely nothing.

Anyone who knows me well can tell you that if staring blankly into space was an Olympic event, I’d have the gold medal locked down tight. But, rather than just a demonstration of my love of laziness, having time to just sit allows me the freedom to let my imagination go; it gives me time to focus my thoughts on any number of different problems or situations that might have caused me a moment of pause.

For instance…

What ever happened to the kids wearing the orange jump suits? When we first moved to Lakewood, I recall seeing kids doing community service on Saturdays. Looking around town I see that there is no shortage of garbage to be picked up, no small amount of graffiti that needs scrubbed off, and more than enough public lawns that could stand to be mowed. Did I miss the Supreme Court decision that put an end to community service hours?

And speaking of cleaning things up, would it be too difficult to write an ordinance that makes it mandatory that unrented billboards be filled with some sort of temporary display such that they aren’t a continual eyesore? If I can’t keep a political yard sign up after the election, why can I still see a sun-faded and torn ad for the soon to be renovated Lakewood YMCA?

Speaking of which, why don’t I see more Bible studies and church events going on at the YMCA? I know I’m not the only one out there who remembers that the letters stand for the Young Men’s Christian Association. I really hope they aren’t just using the acronym to avoid association to the very reason for their initial foundation, like Kentucky Fried Chicken going to “KFC” because the word “fried” fell out of vogue (or was it the word “Kentucky”?).

And when’s the last time you went to KFC? Is it me, or does the franchise on Highland sometimes tend to ignore their own national sales campaigns? Don’t get me wrong, I love the place, but all I’m saying is that if you’re going to continually bombard a fat man with ads for popcorn chicken, and if that fat man drives all the way over to purchase that popcorn chicken, then you better darn well have my, I mean, the fat man’s popcorn chicken. Case closed.

And speaking of closed, why does the Cleveland Zoo close the outdoor polar bear exhibit in the winter? Seems to me that winter-time in Cleveland would be the closest that they would ever get to their natural habitat. Did our bears get spoiled? All of a sudden they’re too good for cold water. Do the zookeepers still feed them raw salmon or do they hold out for a whole sushi platter?

Man I love sushi, but I worry that the guy who runs Sushi 86 downtown is on to me. Although I always ask for four sets of chopsticks, I think he knows that I eat almost the entire order by myself. Come to think of it, thank goodness my wife never looks at the receipt, otherwise she’d figure out that I’m eating half of it on the ride home. That’s just another reason I like to take the bus, as it’s hard to eat and drive at the same time.

And while we’re on the topic, why is it that the buses are packed, but the RTA still says it’s losing money? Regardless of gas prices, if a huge spike in ridership can’t bring you into the black financially, then perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate your business plan. For starters, any time all the seats are full, have the driver stop and announce: “If everyone pays an extra dollar each, I’ll throw off the smelly guy in the back.” Give half the money to the smelly guy to call a cab, and the rest is pure profit. How hard is that?

See, there’s quite a lot of random thought bouncing around up there in my head. Thank goodness for summer vacation. And although many of you might have more active plans for your summer, never underestimate the regenerative power of taking a day to just do nothing.

Read More on Perspective
Volume 4, Issue 14, Posted 3:40 PM, 06.28.2008