Vacation (All I Ever Wanted)

Just a big, sweaty mob of bros. Delightful.

It should come as no surprise to you that I’m not a beach person. I’m completely out of my element on a beach. There’s nothing for me there.

I mean, volleyball, really? I can’t understand why I would play volleyball unless it was 2004 and my PE teacher was making me. There’s sand, which is nice enough to look at through a window or perhaps from a safe distance, but once you’re up close it’s just getting in places that it’ll need to get cleaned out of later, e.g. shoes, or crevasses you didn’t know your body had. There’s swimming, which can be fun, but the waves are a little too much for me to deal with. And what’s left after that? Well, I guess I could lounge around and read a book, but I could just as easily do the same thing in a hotel bar, where the seating is far more comfortable and nobody expects me to be partially naked in public.

Reasons like these are why I’ve never spent a spring break in Cancun or Fort Lauderdale – that and the fact that the only place less enticing for me to visit than crime ridden, wartorn Mexico is Florida.

No, as I mentioned last week, my parents and I are visiting Chicago and Washington D.C. Is it lame for a 22 year old to spend his last spring break visiting museums with his parents? Perhaps so. But I guarantee you I’d look far lamer on a beach surrounded by partying coeds.

Imagine it for a second. Have you got it? I’m frowning. Drinks at the beach bar are too expensive, and all the girls have tattoos and weird piercings. At least I’ll be enjoying myself in Chicago and D.C.

I’ve never been to Chicago before, but my knowledge of it comes mostly from John Hughes movies – particularly Planes, Trains, and Automobiles and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. In the former, Steve Martin’s goal for the whole movie is to get to Chicago, which makes sense once you’ve seen the latter, wherein Chicago is essentially a playground for Matthew Broderick and his friends. I mean, why wouldn’t everyone want to live in Chicago? It’s a city built on hijinx, with a random parade thrown in for good measure.

As for actual attractions in Chicago, I’m not really sure what we’re going to be doing, because I’ve been concentrating more on what we’ll be eating. Namely steak. Lots of steak. Many steaks. Chicago is also known for its deep-dish pizza, which, because pizza in and of itself is far too healthy, has been injected with enough cheese to make it as thick as a paperback novel, and its Italian beef sandwiches, which are basically roast beef sandwiches on hoagie rolls which have been soaked in the beef drippings.

I wonder, does the City of Chicago give a prize to the person who can die of congestive heart failure the fastest? If so, I’m totally going to be a contender. I don’t know if you heard, but I spent a weekend eating deep fried pizza in Scotland. I am ready for this.

After a few days testing the limits of what our digestive systems can handle in the Midwest, we’ll be boarding a plane and flying out to Washington D.C. We’ll be landing in Baltimore, and our first order of business will be to rent a car and get the hell out of Baltimore as quickly as possible with all the windows rolled up and the doors locked.

From there, it’s on to a week in Washington D.C., where we’re going to spend the week gorging ourselves on cultural edification in hopes of making up for gorging ourselves on red meat and cheese over the previous few days. Some of our planned destinations include:

The Newseum - See, it’s like a museum, but it’s all about journalism. Y’know, news, and stuff. Classic wordplay. As a journalism major, I imagine I’ll get a discount on admission; however, if they find out I used to work for the Oregon Daily Emerald they’ll probably charge me extra admission if they let me in at all, so nobody tell them, okay?

The White House - I’m still sort of surprised that they let tour groups in here. Not only is this the home of the most powerful man in the world, but it’s also his office. This is where America works and sleeps and they let tourists come in and poke around. All I’m saying is, this makes George Clooney look like a real jackass for not letting people tour his house – what, like he’s that busy? He can’t find time in his schedule? Because the President can.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial - Because nobody in my family died in Vietnam, I think it’d be best if I refrain from posing for that classic picture where the guy reaches out and touches the wall. But I will think about Platoon basically the entire time, which, given that Charlie Sheen was in it, is still probably dishonoring the legacy of the dead somehow.

The Smithsonian - This one is difficult, because I’ve heard from a lot of people that you could basically live your entire life in the Smithsonian and not see all of it. We’re definitely hitting the Air and Space museum as well as the American History museum, but we’ve opted to give the following a pass:

National Museum of Natural History - I’ve seen animals – yes, even dead animals – before. Of course, I’ve also seen fighter jets and spaceships before, but they have the benefit of being awesome.

National Museum of African Art - I’m just not that interested. Am I racist? I don’t think I’m racist. Maybe I’m racist.

National Postal Museum - According to Wikipedia, one of the main attractions here is the ability to buy a souvenir envelope with your name on it. As cool as that sounds, I get an envelope with my name on it from the utility company every month, so stick that in your pipe and smoke it, National Postal Museum.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum - Jesus, I really hope we don’t visit this on the same day as we visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Is there a National Museum of Clowning we can visit afterwards to cheer ourselves up? Maybe the interactive collection at the American Waterslide Museum?

Truman Capps encourages anybody else who wants to write for this blog during his absence to contact him by 10:00 AM tomorrow, because that’s when he’s going to notify the “winners.”