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The Lake, Heaven or Hell?

August 15, 2014

The Lake, Heaven or Hell?

Spokane, Washington, like other places in the United States, changes dramatically in the last half of August. The streets are quieter, lines at restaurants and other establishments are non-existent, and most people you want to talk to on the phone just aren’t there. If you can find someone to answer the phone, your question about the missing human’s whereabouts is always answered by two words, “the lake.”

“The lake” as it turns out is actually a ubiquitous reference to any body of water, or a place with a cabin, a place to pitch a tent, or someone else’s property with the aforementioned attributes, etc.

At first, I couldn’t understand this phenomenon at all. Having been raised by a father of German descent who equated goofing off with going to hell, I have been a very bad vacation taker. We were picking berries when we were 8 years old and so were all our friends. My brother and I were covered up with work, especially in high school, and anxious to earn money that we didn’t have time to spend. Rural Oregon was loaded with work for teenagers in those days. Once we got home, we worked in the old man’s shop until midnight for free and started over feeding steers the next morning.

Unfortunately, I continued this behavior throughout most of my adult life, (except for the steers). It was dumb. Then we moved from Arizona to Spokane. My first summer here found me amazed that a large part of the city just left for a week or two, actually a little angry because it was hard to get things done! After a couple of years, I started thinking; well maybe taking a vacation could work out at some point. Over the years we had tried once or twice, but I didn’t know how to behave or what to do and couldn’t wait to get back to work. We did figure out we could never ride together in an RV, let alone sleep in one!

This year, I got laid off just in time for going to “the lake.” I want to rejoice in the fact that I don’t have to work but something is holding me back. Guilt, I think. I don’t know how I’m going to overcome this. There must be some strategy involved that I don’t know about because the rest of the world has already figured out that the lake is a little piece of heaven. I need to have a plan in place when I start my new job, (no, I don’t have one yet). Advice from thoughtful humans will be considered!

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