Free vacation

I want to go on a free vacation. I want to get a phone call or an email from a total stranger saying, “Pack up those bags, Rob, you’re going on a free trip!” Where? It doesn’t matter where. I’ll go anywhere. As long as the flight is first class, I’m in. As long I’m not sitting in the very first row, it’s a done deal. Because you can’t really extend your feet all the way in the first row, there’s a wall.

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“Hold on there stranger,” I’ll make sure before I accept, “Is this a direct flight?” Because I forgot to add, I’m only going if it’s a direct flight. There’s no way I’m going to spend who knows how many precious vacation hours trapped at a different airport. That’s how they get you, they don’t make you wait by your house, because you’ll just eventually give up and go home. But what are you going to do in Memphis? Or Tulsa?

Did I mention no cruises? I’m not going on a cruise. Actually, it’s funny, half of the phone calls I get are prerecorded messages from this guy, there’s a boat horn sound, and then the guy goes, “Are you ready for your free cruise?” and so I’m wise to that scheme, OK, I want a free vacation, but I want a free vacation that doesn’t involve me getting stuck on some boat, “Don’t worry sir, everything’s all included!” except for drinks, and the casino, and tips.

No, I’ll take a free vacation to a hotel. Or a safari. That would be a cool free trip. Do they do direct first class flights to South Africa? Because I’m not going back on what I said, it has to be one shot across. But man, if it’s a safari, I want it to be like a real safari, not some over glorified zoo. I want to actually befriend a group of rhinos. What do you call that, a herd? A pack? I’ll never guess it, I think each species has its own name. And they’ll accept me, I’ll help them scare off this gaggle of hyenas that’s been making all of these of threatening whooping sounds from beyond the brush.

Or a ski trip in the Alps, that would be one hell of a free trip. I’d come back from Switzerland or wherever the Alps are and everyone at work would be like, “Wow! Rob, you went skiing over in Europe? That’s awesome! Was it expensive? That must have been super expensive.” And I’ll be torn, because obviously I’ll want to brag about my good fortune, “Look at me everybody! Free vacation!” but I really do like this image I’m crafting in my head, me, on a casual European jet-set jaunt. I wonder if you have pay extra to bring your skis on the plane. If there’s a surcharge, I’m really expecting it to be part of the whole package. Because I’m not going to trek all the way over to Europe just to ski the Alpine slopes in a pair of crappy rentals.

You remember how they used to let you into the cockpit of the plane and the captain would give you a pair of pin-on wings? If it’s going to be like a prize vacation, I’d really love it if this could happen. Do you think they’d let me steer for a little bit? Just for like five minutes, tops. And yes, the copilot can still hold his side of the controls, as a backup or whatever. But I’ve got to insist, this a non-negotiable. Just, look, you’re setting up this whole vacation for me, just talk to the airline, wait until we’re over international waters if you’re worried about breaking any laws or anything.

But that’s about it, just, I’d really love a free vacation. The other night I was thinking about it, and I was kind of falling asleep, but I wasn’t quite there yet. I was just starting to have this dream where I got the call, I picked up the phone and on the other end, they were like, “Is this Rob?” and I just knew it was going to be my free vacation. But then I woke up, and my phone actually was ringing, I answered it all excited, “Hello?” but it wasn’t about any trip, it was one of my old friends from college, he was kind of confused too, I guess he must have hit my contact number by mistake, and it was really kind of awkward, I haven’t talked to this guy in years. I’m sure he deleted me after that. I must’ve deleted his a while ago, because the number just showed up as something from out of the area.

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