It's been more than four years since my last proper vacation. Four. Years. And the last one wasn't even very good. It was a forced trip to Mexico, financed by my ex's family, which sounds good in theory, until you have to spend your free Mexican vacation making endless chitchat with near-inlaws, misogynists and idiots all. God, it was endless. But it was sunny, and that's saying something.

In addition to a bad temper and a tendency to hold a grudge, I inherited from my family the workaholic gene. And hilariously, being a bit of a whiner, I make it worse. I burn myself out and then become resentful as if it wasn't my own fault to begin with.

I am bad at vacations. I worry about money. I worry about how it will look if I take time off. I worry about a lot of stupid crap that keeps me from taking the holidays I need and deserve. But no more! Part of Project Good, which involved me finally refusing to continue doing soul-crushing and morally vacuous professional work (journalistic and otherwise) in addition to many other things I won't get into now, is regular vacations. And Nathan (the man, not the fish) and I are going on one now. Right now.

In less than 24 hours time, we are off to Cuba. We've found a little hotel, right on the beach, designed by a group that specializes in eco-tourism. Nathan is happy because of his Marxist tendencies and because he feels it's relatively ethical to go to Cuba (as opposed to somewhere like the Dominican), and I am happy because I get to read while lying in the sun soaking up the Vitamin D. Life could be worse.
I've been to Cuba before. In May of 2000, nearly 10 years ago, The Boy and I went to an all-inclusive not far from Havana. I took this photo on that trip, back before I had a digital camera. The two men looked so alike. Like the same man, in some sort of time warp. It's one of the few moments from the trip that I remember well.

Sometimes, I try to call up other memories from that time, but most of it has faded, as things tend to. Or I've blocked it out. It's hard to say. I wonder if I will forget this trip too, ten years from now. It feels different, so maybe I won't. That was a desperate attempt to make the best of a thing that had gone bad. Like eating around the edges of something rotten at the core. This is different. Nathan is infectiously happy, bouncing around like a little kid in anticipation. I'm more subdued. Then again, we carry different sorts of weight. A decade's worth of difference.

But in the grand scheme of things, four years isn't such a long time, is it? Even ten can seem to pass in no time at all.