Sugar Daddy: Your uncle lives in Spokane, right?
SD: Do you want to visit your uncle this summer?
Mad: I guess. If he’s around.
SD: That’s right, they’re all over the world these days. It’s just that I’m planning our vacation, and this amusement park the kids wanted to go to is in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, which is about an hour from Spokane. I guess we could find some other stuff to do around there.
Mad: White supremacy stuff?
SD: Yeah, I figured we’d visit a couple of camps, hang out with some Tea Party folks.
Mad: Sounds awesome.
Last night our family went to the library, and Girlfriend checked out A Flea Story by Leo Lionni, which is about these two fleas who are hanging out together on this dog–hanging out near the dog’s tail, as it happens, and the one flea decides he wants to move to another part of the dog, but the other flea is happy where he is, but he lets the other flea talk him into going with him. So they both travel to the dog’s head, but that isn’t good enough for the flea with wanderlust; he wants to hop onto a nearby chicken, and although the homebody flea just got comfortable on the dog’s head, he goes with the other flea to the chicken, but then the other flea wants to go someplace else, and so on and so on. //SPOILER ALERT!!!// Eventually the adventurous flea decides to hop onto this bird so he can fly, but the other flea, the one who never wanted to leave his original spot on the dog in the first place, decides that he’s had enough adventure and decides to go back home to the dog. The adventurous flea says he’ll come back someday and tell the other flea all about his journey, but he wonders if words will be enough. Meanwhile, the other flea finds his beloved dog, settles back in comfortably and says that between what he’s seen already and what his flea friend will no doubt tell him all about later, his life will be very full indeed.
When I read this story, I immediately thought that this Flea Story was the story of my marriage. SD is the adventurous flea. He always wants to be doing something. I prefer to stay home, but I let him drag me places because I don’t want to be a fuddy duddy, even though I really am one. I try to fight that part of my nature, but it gets more difficult as I get older. I like to be comfortable. Correction: I like to be very comfortable. Travel isn’t comfortable for me, even though it is enjoyable enough at times while I am doing it, and I appreciate the experience in retrospect. I enjoy having the experience behind me at least as much as I enjoy being amidst the experience, and having the experience before me makes me feel tired. You probably gathered as much from my various pre-Japan-angst posts, but if you didn’t, I’m telling you now.
Leo Lionni is not usually a judgmental author, but the fact remains that in the story, one of the fleas wants adventure and excitement and to experience the unknown, and the other flea is happy hanging out on a dog’s butt. I reiterate: a dog’s butt. It’s hard not to read some judgment into that.
So here’s my poor husband, trying to plan something new and exciting for us to do–someplace new and exciting for us to go–as a family for our vacation, and I haven’t quite recovered enough from my trip to Japan to muster up any enthusiasm for further travel in the near future. Nothing sounds exciting to me–or rather, I guess I just don’t really like excitement. I don’t like fun. I am a fuddy duddy at heart and I always will be.
And now that this book has entered our home, every time my husband tries to talk to me about our vacation and I don’t have any useful contribution to make to the planning thereof, he’s going to say, “Oh, I forgot. You’d rather hang out on a dog’s butt the rest of your life.”
Yes. Yes, I would. And I’m okay with that. For now.