Friday, June 10, 2011
Ten years ago I married--- not the first man I was engaged to----but the first man I loved as much in my sweat pants as my wedding dress.
Up until this year our anniversaries have been worthy of mixed reviews. One year our cat died. One year our internet got shut off. One year we discussed who we might prefer to date rather than each other.
This year, since we had failed to budget for vacations that occurred outside of a tent, my mother who commented that our “ten year anniversary only happens once a year” used her barter club to book us an overnight at a luxury B&B in Orange County, Virginia.
At first she tried to reserve us the more cost-effective handicapped room but since it was already booked we were forced to stay in the honeymoon suite.
It was a bit of a shock as I am more accustomed to motels with numbers in their names, even though we'd spent the night of our wedding in a grand hotel and were made to feel special by the valet (“You’re my 8th married couple today!”). This little B&B out in the middle of ma & pa country USA was a real palace.
Marble columns abounded--- even in the bathroom. Crystal chandeliers and porcelain angels dripped from the ceilings like rich-people stalactites. Every shade of white was in attendance--- from the feather bed (that was really a leased out cloud) to the vanilla scented lotion to the cream colored leopard patterned throw blanket on the eggshell love-seat. Not a detail of our stay or our room went unnoticed-- or undecorated.
The owners (imagine the Sopranos discovering the top of a hill in rural Virginia) were eager to wait on us hand and foot. They had me with the chocolate dipped strawberries splayed across a doily on a crystal plate hand delivered to our door but it was the salami and cheese platter that won Stan’s undying affection.
We spent every second of our 22 hour stay napping, eating and indulging in the decadence of achieving nothing. No lawns were mowed or children entertained in the making of our anniversary weekend. Even though we went on a leisurely two-hour kayak trip on the Rapidan River, the hardest I really worked was raising my head to get a better view of “The Hangover.”
It did not take me long to relax fully into the lap of luxury, although I did worry for a few moments that I'd never want to get back up. And with good reason.
I have always been a hedonist.
A pleasure seeker.
In fact, I have spent almost every minute of my entire life desperately seeking the secret to unchecked bliss.
Up until my early twenties I sought it through Boones Farm Strawberry Hill, Mad Dog 20-20, Kalhua, Peach Schnapps, Jim Beam, Marlboro Reds, sex and Krispy Kreme donuts.
As I matured, I sought it through prayer, publication, hypnosis, meditation, double shot lattes, credit cards and Krispy Kreme donuts.
Something though, has changed dramatically in the last few months. I have been getting more pleasure—even actual bliss---from the process of writing and connecting with other people through their writing than through any of the outside stimuli I’ve used and abused in the past. The difference is this kind of pleasure doesn’t cause weight gain, hangovers or bad credit. And it doesn’t come with a price tag.
However, for a little while I hoped that someone would continue to serve it to me on a platter. On the drive home through the lush green mountains of Virginia, I started to regret having set foot somewhere so nice. “Next year we should go somewhere really crappy,” I told my husband. “Like an abandoned trailer park or a maximum security prison. That would make coming home seem really amazing.”
Because coming home was hard. The paint was peeling, the beds unmade, the ceiling buckled, the sink full, the food unprepared and unappealing laying wait in the back of the pantry. "What did I ever love about this?" I wondered. Then I remembered. Reservations can’t be made for the kind of pleasure I’m really seeking. What I want most isn’t available to drink, smoke or rent. It can’t be bought, pre-ordered or reserved, but to my relief, it can be found.
Posted by Valley Haggard at 12:24 PM