Learning How to Read Your Fellow Vacationer

Summer’s almost over, and if you’re like me, you are probably rushing to get that last vacation in before the air tastes like snow and we require coats just to run to the corner store. I know because it’s what I’m doing this very weekend: escaping home and embracing the coastal life and lots and lots of pine trees. As my traveling companions are learning, I’m not always the perfect pairing. I’m a little set in my ways, and a huge part of “vacation” to me is uninterrupted reading time and the understanding that my attention totally wanders.

Here are a few truths about traveling with me:

1. As you already know, I will, without fail, bring too many books. Going away for 4 days? I will bring 5 books. Going away for a week? I will pack an entire bag of books. Oh. You wanted to actually talk to me, make eye contact and generally hang out and have conversation?

I don’t understand. I have books to read.

2. At some point while we’re together, I will drink so much coffee that my speech will speed up, my hands will start shaking, and you might actually think I’m going to vibrate out of the room on pure adrenaline. Don’t worry. I am just as scared as you are. My heart is beating so fast I am actually worried I might pass out soon.

Shut up. I DO NOT NEED TO CUT BACK ON THE COFFEE. Why would you even suggest that?

3. You have to give me time to read. No really. I know we’re going to see sites and eat at fun restaurants and drink at fun bars, but if you don’t give me an hour or so a day to read, I’m going to hate you a little bit. It helps if you are equally addicted. I have found that people equally addicted are understanding of this little problem.

4. I’m a morning person. I will be up pretty much as soon as the sun is unless I’m sleeping in a pitch dark room. Scout’s honor, I will try my best not to wake you up as I wander around getting myself ready for the day. But I make no promises that the smell of coffee won’t wake you up.

5. I’m a writer. There are moments in the day when I may look like I’m totally focused on you, and in my brain I’m fighting with a scene. I can’t help myself. My fingers twitch and look for a pen. It’s not something I can control. Luckily many of my friends are writers too and understand this quirk. My family gave up trying to get my undivided focus years ago.

6. Oh you thought I was kidding about the books? Oh you thought you were different because I “only” brought 1 book?

I’m hiding an e-reader in my purse just in case you start to bore me. Don’t be offended.

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