The Traveler's Guide
Updated: Mar 17, 2018
My family and I have just returned from a lovely and exhausting 10 day trip to Europe. Two cities in ten days didn't sound like a lot, but when you're doing it with two highly energetic elementary school kids, and it's just you two parents "on" as tour guides- all the time- 24/7... it turns out, deciding which croissant to choose from the in-hotel breakfast bar in the morning can seem tiring.
Yet it was wondrous- Barcelona and then Paris. Really a great trip. I'm thrilled we went and equally thrilled to be back home.
And I'm sure most other people at this point might spend their time posting pictures or unwinding sweet yarns about their fun family excursion on their personal blog. Me, however... I'm not feeling it yet. Perhaps it's the jet lag. Perhaps it's post-trip malaise. Perhaps it's just the fact that I have really yet to poop following approximately 22 hours in the air and in three different airports approximately two days ago. (Has it been two days now? Or fourteen? Didn't we just land this morning?.....)
But in my current moments of unpacking, both physically and psychologically, I thought instead of laying out chapters of our Spanish/French holiday, I'd provide my readership with a list. Because I like em. I like the lists. I've got one next to me right now, o course- the "Just got home from Spring Break, Gotta get back to your actual fucking life you slacker, here's some shit you gotta do" list. But I won't present you with that piece of doldrum-
What I will provide below is slightly reminiscent of the actual list we left with our dear house-sitter upon jetting off across the pond. You know, all the nitty gritty shit she hadta know about where the pet towels are for when the cat pees on the floor, and how the faucet can get sticky in the downstairs office bathroom...
Except this list is a bit different. This list will entail what one would have to know if one were taking over not my house for a time, but my LIFE. A body-sitter list, if you will.
So just in case I go away for a time in the near future, and I enlist you to take over as Holly Long - to BE Holly- here is a brief, yet helpful guide for you in two parts: Holly at Home. And Holly On the Road- should that need arise. ($75 per day plus expenses, right?)
HOLLY AT HOME- The Traveler's Guide
First of all, thank you so much for stepping in last minute. I'm not sure what I would have done had you not been available. We'll talk on the phone to go over everything sometime before I leave, but I thought I'd send you a little precursor of some things you'll need to know about taking over as me for the next few days.
1. First and foremost, you will have to sweat the small stuff all the time. But you will have to be really good at pretending you're not doing that at all. Well, except to your husband and kids. You can never really fool them.
2. You must obsessively clean shit that will immediately get messed up again. Either that or-
3. Spend inordinate amounts of time organizing something unnecessarily- like the chopsticks in the silverware drawer. This is almost always because you are simultaneously engaged in-
4. Freaking out that you're not doing enough for your art. Or your children. Or the world in general. So when this happens, you must divert and procrastinate.
Ah! Which reminds me-
5. At least once while you're me, take the dog and a book to the coffee shop. Be sure you sit in the coffee shop with the intention of "getting inspired" by your surroundings. Read the same three sentences over and over again. Then wind up just feeling guilty that your nanny is picking the kids up from school and essentially parenting them while you fritter away the afternoon making eyes at the 20- something tatoo-ed barista.
(**Note. If you need to accomplish this task, but don't want to leave the house, the same result can be had by watching a few hours of your favorite cable TV shows on demand. In the middle of the day while the rest of the adult world is hard at work in the spirit of progress, productivity, and survival. Don't forget to eat almost an entire bag of potato chips and onion dip while doing this too.)
6. Sing and/or play some sort of musical instrument and/or write something down at least once every day. Otherwise you will actually start to disappear. It's been proven.
7. Which brings me to number 7. Always spend a little time each day (and/or wee early morning hours) feeling like because you're 42 and you haven't yet accomplished anything remotely grand or interesting, your life is probably over and you'll never get anywhere. You got good at that around 22. You're too old- you used to be young, vibrant and relatively attractive and now the best you can hope for is probably somewhere in the realm of "handsome." Plus, you might not be particularly good at any of the things you've spent 42 years trying to cultivate getting good at. Be sure to familiarize yourself with these thoughts. They will be taking up a lot of your time.
HOLLY ON THE ROAD- The Traveler's Guide
Ah! So I've enlisted the brave soul that you are to become me while away from the homestead. It must be that I'm just too weary or afraid this time around to attempt it myself. Again, I must thank you from the bottom of my heart, and please know that my cell phone will always be on should you need to reach me at any moment to answer any Holly Long related questions.
1. Bring your Ativan.
2. Bring your other bottle of Ativan.
3. After about the second day and the second glass of wine, you will finally feel as though you have arrived anywhere you are at that point, you will be grateful for the opportunity to see whatever part of the world you're currently in, and you will be much easier to be around. This feeling will leave you, and return numerous times while you're away.
4. Anytime you think of it, try to be nice to everyone around you because though you're unaware of it now, as a result of your nervous tendencies, you're probably being a bit of a dick a lot of the time.
5. You won't really poop until you get home. S'ok.
That's all you need to know! Feel free to buy me any fantastic foreign baubles, unnecessary clothes or shoes you think I should own. I can't get enough of all that stuff. Have a ball, and I'll see you/me when I/you return!
(I do promise some actually interesting European trip related thoughts at some point in the upcoming week. Since one of you may want to read something about something other than myself and my deep well-tended neurosis. I mean, yeah- Gaudi was pretty cool. And Paris has a bunch of stuff in it that I might be able to scrounge some words around. Ok- you've convinced me. Next post- Los Thoughts De Europe!)