Vacation Hell

By Samuel Lamont

Three years ago, my family took a trip to Canada for a week. They loved it. I hated
it. Probably the thing I hated most was having to sleep on an uncomfortable folding bed
in a cramped recreational vehicle. However, there were other problems. For example, no
one seemed to understand the anger and homesickness I felt. Although we had been told
about the trip weeks in advance, it just seemed short-notice, and I felt uprooted from
Durham, the place where I had spent 16 years of my life, and the place where I expected
to live out the rest of it. I knew that we would only be gone a week, but a week in a small
recreational vehicle would seem more like a year. Although my mother said that she’d give
me fifty dollars if I tried to have a positive attitude about the trip, it just wouldn’t be.

Although I managed to suppress my anger for most of the first leg of the journey, it
finally came to the surface at an RV park in Maine. My mother, brother, and I were
walking to the park’s game room, and I just needed to get my anger off my chest.

“You…hate me,” I said.
Mom responded, “I thought I was taking you to a game room,” her tone clearly showing barely-veiled frustration.
“Well, that’s right. Sorry.”
Although I said that, I still needed to vent, so I just had to blurt out more.
“But if you don’t hate me, then why did you drag me on this stupid vacation?”
“We told you about this vacation in advance,” Mom said, still showing barely-veiled frustration.
“Well, is it my fault that I don’t like the idea of living in a car like a HOBO?”
“Forget it,” Mom snapped, turning back towards our campsite.
At this point, I felt really bad, since I had upset Mom and now no one would get to go to
the game room because of me. But I was still angry, and I was foolish enough to keep
“This just proves you hate me,” I sobbed.
“What?” Mom said, clearly still angry.
“You wouldn’t have yelled at me if you didn’t hate me.”
“I didn’t yell.”
“Yes, you did!”
“No, I didn’t.”
“Well, you raised your voice, and that’s the same as yelling. Also, if you didn’t hate me,
we’d turn around and go back to Durham right now.”
“I thought that you said you’d try to have a positive attitude about this trip.”
“I did try. And I failed. So, just leave me to my misery.”

Back at camp, I stayed in the RV, reading. Then Mom came in. She had calmed down, and she offered to make me some dinner and hook up the TV. After eating some ramen and watching one of the anime tapes I had brought along, I finally calmed down.

The second day of the trip wasn’t much better. At least I was allowed to ride in the front seat of the RV so that it would seem like a normal car ride. Also, the violent anger of the night before had subsided to a vague throbbing angst-y feeling that would persist for months after the trip. However, I was still miserable. I don’t think that I spoke much for the entire trip, nor was I truly happy until we returned home. My only real companion was my brother, who was often willing to go on walks with me around the RV parks we stopped at and talk about stuff, which helped to ease the pain a little. We didn’t really talk about anything in particular, just stuff.

On the third day, we took a trip to old Quebec City. In my opinion, this was the worst and most boring day of the trip.
The old city was composed almost entirely of souvenir shops, which my family seemed to enjoy spending inordinate amounts of time in. The only interesting part of this little day trip was the streetcar tour we took. However, it was marred by the fact that the conductor kept switching between English and French, meaning that I could only understand about half of what he said. Hence, I got very little out of the tour.

Day four was somewhat enjoyable, as we went to a water park that day. Unfortunately, my family didn’t consider it necessary to tell me where they were going to lay down their towels before I headed to the wave pool.
After being beaten into submission by the waves in the pool, I went to find my family, only to find out that I couldn’t. Eventually, I finally found them near the wave pool where I started. After going to the water park, we had dinner at an outdoor restaurant, which was actually somewhat enjoyable, probably because this was going to be the last dinner on this vacation.

On day five, we finally returned to Durham, stopping at my aunt’s house in Maine on the way. I don’t really have much to say about this brief stopover, other than that it was our last stop before finally getting home.
After getting home, I was happy for the first time that week, since I was back in the house I had lived in for almost my entire life, and I would soon be able to return to living as normal. Despite this, the vague angst-y feeling I mentioned earlier still existed and continued to fester inside me, where it would eventually grow into a full-scale case of depression. But that is a story for another time.

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