Breakdown of a Family Outing

Vacation 8Family outings can be a lot of fun and (at the very least) they leave lasting memories that you can look back on fondly in your old age. Of course, in the present moment (as you live them) family outings can seem like nothing more than insanely hectic attempts at making it ¨there and back again¨ alive. For those who have somehow managed to live their lives without ever experiencing this, here is a breakdown of the typical family outing from a guy’s perspective:

Beginning of the end

Vacation 2You’ve come up with a flawless plan for your outing. Everything lines up chronologically from the moment you step out the door to the moment you leave the Christmas dinner, wedding reception or whatever family friendly event you’ve  chosen to attend. You actually believe in your plan; you believe it will all play out as it should and things will work out. Your innocent mind may even conceive a few extra activities you will “surely” be able to squeeze in without missing a beat. Alas, if only fate were so kind.

The wait

Vacation 6Here you are, sitting in limbo on the couch as other family members ready themselves. The wife and kids are skipping from room to room like hot potatoes and you’re somehow the only person who’s ready to go. You aren’t too worried yet though as it’s only 9am; there´s plenty of time for everyone to finish prepping and pile into the family car. Keep dreaming…

The wait continues…

Vacation 31Seeing little advancement in your family’s preparations while simultaneously watching the minute hand of the wall clock complete a full rotation has forced you to mobilize yourself. You are now sitting alone in the car, waiting for someone to emerge from the house and “persuade” you to leave the rest behind. However, all hope is not lost, you have a good two hours left to shuffle everyone in and reach your destination.

The loopback procedure

Vacation 1Eventually, your family manages to find their way out of the house and into the car. Now, amidst the incessant howling of unhappy children and the merciless nagging from your wife, you find yourself cruising smoothly down the road. You’ve made it about a quarter of the way before IT happens. IT is loathed by all men worldwide, IT is the bane of your very existence, and IT is the accursed “Loopback Procedure.”

This infuriating procedure is unfortunately inevitable and it tends to occur at the very moment your wife quits prodding you to stop for directions long enough to search through her things and realize that (surprise, surprise) something’s missing. There is no practical remedy to this problem other than returning or looping back to your home to find the item in question, thus shaving precious minutes off the clock.

Bat out of hell

Vacation 7After looping back and finding the lost item to be nothing more than your wife’s pocket mirror, you initiate plan “B” (maniacal driving) to stay on time for whatever it is you were trying to make it to. Cars and pedestrians whiz by your windows like clouds around a jet fighter and your life flashes before your eyes, but you have no other choice if you want to arrive within the twenty minutes you have left.

You make it

Vacation 4Despite fate’s best efforts at thwarting your plans, you’ve somehow reached your destination, screeching to a harrowing stop on the sidewalk. Congratulations! With any luck, you’ll actually enjoy whatever event you arrived at. However, chances are you won’t.

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