Monday, May 26, 2014

Seattle's Got A Plan For Me

A few years ago I reduced my teenagers to hysterics by singing along to the radio. "Don't you worry, don't you worry, child. Seattle's got a plan for you."

Apparently the correct lyrics are, "See, heaven's got a plan for you." My children wanted to know why I thought Seattle would have a plan for anyone. I told them that there are far stupider lyrics on the radio every single day, but they didn't seem to agree. It became a family joke--hey, Mom, don't forget. Seattle's got a plan for you.

Well, I hope so. I'm going to Seattle tomorrow morning, and I haven't got a plan of my own.

I like to plan. My husband, also, likes to plan. As a result we often plan our vacations so stringently that we carry written itineraries with us. We don't really do vacations at the beach. I can lay on a beach chair with a stack of books and an umbrella drink brought to my by Juan the pool boy quite happily. So can my husband. For half an hour. Per year, tops. We explore on our vacations. We see stuff and do things.

One year we forced ourselves to take an "unplanned" vacation. We got into our car and drove, and other than 2 nights with reservations in Manhattan and tickets to a Broadway play (Mary Poppins) and a Yankees game (last season in the old stadium) we winged it. It turned out pretty cool. We ended up spending two days in Cooperstown, New York, just because we liked it so much; they had a farming museum and I got to milk a cow. So that was good, but really, it's not how we roll.

Usually I do fairly extensive preplanning. I like to know the history of the place I'm going, and something about the main attractions. If there are tickets to be had I want them ahead of time. (If you think this is crazy, you try showing up in Rome and standing in the line for the Sistine Chapel.) I like to have a few restaurant reservations and a pretty good idea of how I'm going to spend each day. When the children were smaller I prepped them, too. I read them books about the history of Boston, and the most important people involved in the American Revolution. I played Spanish, French, and Italian language tapes in the car while I drove them to school. I gave them internet challenges--questions about our destination that they'd have to look up the answer to. I really think this helped them appreciate our trips. But now--well, I can take them to Egypt, but I can't make them study it beforehand. And since we travel with smartphones, if we don't understand something we look it up on the spot.

And so, Seattle. I have no itinerary. No reservations--well, other than tickets to a Mariners game. I did look it up on a map, which is good since it wasn't quite where I thought it was. I'm feeling zen about this particular trip. I've always known Seattle had a plan for me.