In the beginning it sounded rather promising, even to someone whose favorite place is her couch in front of the fire. A four-week vacation in the western part of the country, where the days are sunny and the temperatures in the high 60s and 70s.
But the promise was unfortunately not fulfilled. When we stepped off the plane we were met not with a sunny 65, but with snow and a wind chill in the 20s. It was colder at our vacation destination than it was in Michigan. The snow, wind and cold temperatures were highly unusual for that part of the country in February, and yet, there they were.
Upon checking in at our vacation rental, we discovered it was not quite the oasis we had anticipated. We were but one of four couples in residence; including the owner, there were nine people on site. We occupied a small one-bedroom unit on one side of a large home. Above us was a two-bedroom apartment and in the main house were two additional guest suites, and all available space was rented. In essence we were vacationing in an upscale commune.
My “Danger, danger Will Robinson,” signal immediately activated. The proximity of so many people gave my extrovert husband far too much scope to set up things like evening drinks, morning coffees or even group dinners. I had to maintain constant vigilance to preserve the boundaries of Introvert Island. I did catch a break when Gary went to the shared backyard patio and found an elderly gentleman sunning himself, wearing nothing but his underwear. Since he made a habit of the practice, it was awkward enough to cut down somewhat on the potential for backyard socializing.
In addition to many people, there were also many cars present. The inching and angling back and forth required to avoid hitting another car, scraping the garage door or bumping into a vehicle parked in the driveway made each departure a driving adventure.
And then the plague came. My theory is that extroverts are the patient zero of most epidemics, because they’re the ones who are out and about hither and yon, leaving germs in their wake, while introverts self-quarantine and thus avoid spreading illness. Gary caught a really bad cold that he shared with me and we spent the better part of a week sneezing, coughing, counter-coughing and downing over-the-counter remedies. Mine eventually retreated, but Gary’s hung on so long that he finally agreed under extreme protest to go to Urgent Care. Where he was diagnosed with mild pneumonia.
At the end of his round of antibiotics, when he was once again free to roam, a new contingent of renters arrived at our hostel. And for once, introvert and extrovert were of a single mind. We looked at each other, looked at the available flights home and rebooked our return for a week earlier than planned. We had a great flight back and when we arrived the weather was sunny and warm. And even though we were hit with a major snowstorm this week, there’s no place like home. Especially when it includes a comfortable couch and a cozy fire.