I am at present sitting in the lobby/bar of the Palmer Hilton, downtown Chicago. This hotel has been operating continuously longer than any other in the country, I am told. I am also told, by means of placard, that the woman to whom this hotel was given as a wedding present was a great fan of the French Impressionists.That explains the ceiling, then.
Meanwhile, I am taking this moment to ponder the meaning of "vacation." I most certainly have vacated my home, physically (though my mind often wanders back to worry about the welfare of the cats). But to what end?
This vacation shall witness me interacting with M's family, with various colleagues at the MLA convention, with my own family, with friends in Austin and Houston, with the city of New Orleans itself, with my sister in Lexington.
The very thought of it makes me tired, and yet awake.
My natural bent is toward misanthropy; I prefer solitude. And so, in a way, this is perfect. Driving through mile after anonymous mile in order to find myself ensnared in and enriched by interpersonal webs that are far more giving than I ever give them credit for is my own most perfect state.