When I lived on Long Island, the Friday traffic jams rolling eastbound on the Long Island Expressway were heading towards piles of bricks that look like this:
Now that I live in Toronto, the traffic on Highway 400 North or Highway 401 East is motoring toward weekend getaway destinations that look more like this:
Unless, of course, you're lucky enough to have the means to afford a crib in the Muskoka region of Ontario's famed "cottage country". Then, it would look like something in-between the first image and the second. On second thought, the occupants headed for the Hamptons house in the league of the above photo probably helicopter out, or take the private jet. Ahoy, polloi!
Me? I'd rather stay home. As a chronic over-packer and detester of traffic jams, the thought of schlepping to the cottage every weekend is about as attractive to me as simultaneous underarm and bikini waxing. Both are optional means of torture I choose to forgo. Though with a gun to my head (spoken like a true American), I'd choose the Hamptons house over the cottage; I'm more a fan of luxuriating, rather than rusticating.
Homebody that I am, if I must go to an alternate locale to relax, I want it to contain all the amenities I have in my primary residence: indoor plumbing, heat/air conditioning, a refrigerator, freezer, comfortable bed, good reading light, television with cable, a reliable internet connection and a decent mobile phone signal. Is that really too much to ask? It depends whom I'm asking.
Generations of Canadians have turned rusticating into an art form. Give them a decent roof over their heads, a sleeping bag, a lake, a couple of 2-4s of the their favourite brew and they're happy. For Americans, this would be total deprivation of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Once again, I find myself flummoxed by my "American-ness" and my "Canadian-ness", because I honestly would not be happy in the rustic cottage environment without the necessities I mentioned. I also would not be happy in an over-the-top manse, either.
So where is the happy medium? For me, it's staying home. I'd much rather save my pennies for a once-a-year vacation to an exotic locale, rather than haul my cookies to the cottage every weekend. It just seems like more trouble than it's worth. Given the choice, my dream accommodations would be condos in Toronto, New York, San Francisco, London, Paris and Rome. That's not asking too much, is it? Everyone is entitled to their idea of luxury, and this is mine.
Think of me as you're rolling along in your respective sweltering, carbon-monoxide-laced, snaking tangles of hot metal. Or, not. Maybe the mimosas served pool-side followed by the charity polo match are worth the aggravation; just as the dip in the frosty lake followed by fishing for supper and roasting marshmallows would be. I hope so; because I'm holding out for the condos...
Have a great weekend; enjoy whatever it is you have planned.