My husband and I have been married just shy of two years and are still learning about each other. Over Labor Day, we had a crash course. In an insane burst of energy, we visited the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone and Jackson Hole.
Two entire days were devoted to simply getting there and back.
I feel every engaged couple should be trapped in a vehicle together on a road trip for 14 hours as a required premarital activity. I am convinced the divorce rate would decrease, as many of the couples would re-think their decision to marry. My husband endured hours of my enlightened commentary along these lines as he juggled driving, drinking coffee, eating snacks, taking pictures and picking out CDs to play.
We had several intense and meaningful discussions regarding our expectation of “the perfect vacation day.”
My husband’s perfect vacation day entails rising at 6 a.m., 15 minutes for shower and breakfast, racing to mountain and wildlife vistas, snapping 329 pictures, hiking around a lake, snarfing down a burger for lunch, racing back to the hotel to download pictures, head to next activity on list (possibly river rafting, hang gliding, bungee jumping or driving through Utah), snap another 329 pictures, at sunset ride a gondola up the mountain to a cold, windy outdoor restaurant at 9,000 feet, whip out camera for another 329 pictures and finally, racing to the nearest bar for dancing or karaoke.
My perfect vacation day entails rising around 8 a.m., and stepping into a steaming shower. When I appear from the powder room 45 minutes later, cutely made up and every hair in place, my perfect appearance elicits numerous romantic remarks from my husband as we head to that adorable little Starbucks at the base of the mountain.
We will each read sections of USA Today, discussing current events, sipping our lattes and gasping in shock over the most recent entertainment couple’s foibles.
We will stare longingly at the mountain vistas and murmur about future plans and the possibility of building a dream cabin in an area like this one. After that, we skip lunch and hand-in-hand, stroll to the nearest art exhibition to buy a treasured memento of our trip. We gaze into each other’s eyes like lovesick teenagers.
Mid-afternoon, I change into hiking boots anticipating a ski lift ride to an upper trailhead, where my husband will take a few photos and we will hike down the mountain. Afterward, we happen upon a perfect restaurant and exclaim in delight. My lipstick, eyeliner and hair are still perfectly in place. We enter the restaurant encapsulated by a rosy glow.
The second day in the Grand Tetons, our conversation went something like this:
Me: “No! I will NOT pose for another picture! Put that thing away!”
Me: “Would you pay attention to the road? Put down that camera!”
Him: “I AM paying attention to the road.” (Car veers wildly as husband snaps photo)
Me: “If I see another buffalo I am going to throw up.”
Him: “It’s only five and a half hours to Utah. I have never been to Utah. I have heard there are more buffalo there!” (Car screeches toward Utah)
On the way home, my husband decided we would take a different route so we could see yet another part of the country and take more pictures. We experienced intense and meaningful discussion by the time we hit the town of Spearfish because the new route took three hours longer to get home. My husband nodded in pleasant acceptance at my irritability, picked up my hand and kissed it.
I swear I felt a rosy glow right in the car.
Article first appeared in the “The Lighter Side,” Capital Journal, Pierre, SD, September, 2009.