God knows, I need to get out more. Out on the Internet, if nothing else. I just discovered a new concept in leisure activity [according to Google Images, it's somehow related to the image above, but I'll be d____d if I can figure out how]. For those of you a step or two ahead of Your Neighborly Blogger, we're talking about "staycation" [now, if you already know what a staycation is, PLEASE leave me a comment on how that protozoial object has ANYTHING to do with this new-fangled concept. Unless you want to visit the world of "Fantastic Voyage", I DON'T GET IT!].
Ahem. Excuse me. I was having an "irritated old man" moment. Anyway, "staycation" is the new buzz word for simulating a more-expensive vacation [usually outside your home country] by visiting places within your country somehow related to your destination of choice. The Wall Street Journal gave the example of a woman who wanted to visit Japan, but couldn't afford to go. Having the good fortune to live in New York City [rumor has it you can find anything in New York City], she simply got in touch with Japanese-related restaurants, galleries, and museum exhibits within the Big Apple, visited the circuit of them, and felt, afterwards, that she had a sense of life in Japan. That's all well-and-good, of course, if you live anywhere near a multi-cultural melting pot like NYC, say, or, for those of us in Western New York, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. But, using an American example [my apologies to those elsewhere], what if you live in, say, Austin, Texas, and have a hankering for the Canadian lifestyle? Sure, there are always a few hockey players in the region [no doubt trying to latch on in the Southern Hockey League]. You might find some ex-Longhorns who spent a year or two in the Canadian Football League [12 players on the field per team at any moment, 110-yard playing field, three downs instead of four. Nobody really knows why they changed the rules, but it does make it a uniquely Canadian game]. But how will you explore the minutua that makes immersion in another culture worthwhile? There are no Canadian Tire shops. I'd bet the nearest Tim Horton's [just check the Archives; I have written about them at some length] is three or four states over. And as for Hockey Night In Canada? Fuggedaboutit.
(The real reason all this came up, of course, is that I'm in the midst of a staycation this week. The Woman I Love is in, of all places, Oklahoma, for a Native American Lutheran conference. Instead of spending the week being paranoid about over-sleeping and missing work, I decided to stay here in Niagara Falls and watch over the cats) When I was a child, and the money wasn't there for a family vacation, my father would declare that we were spending the week at Veranda Beach, where the slogan was "All the comforts of home". After a day or two we kids realized we weren't going anywhere. That's when Dad would take us on drives to obscure places around Buffalo [how he knew about some of them I never knew]. Not a bad way to kill a few hours, in retrospect, especially when gas was 39 cents a gallon!
So, in the spirit of staycationing, I'm spending this week experiencing the Daylight Culture [why do people move around so early in the day?] with side trips to the Unemployed Culture Zones [most found on TV] in my area [that Jerry Springer is really a funny, funny guy, isn't he?]. I'm having a wonderful time, and wish you were here.