Nina In New York: I’ve Got Spirit, Yes I Do! I’ve Got Spirit! ¿Y Tú?
A young professional’s take on the trials and tribulations of everyday life in New York City.
By Nina Pajak
Well wouldn’t you know it? The last time I took a little break, and a domestic one at that, I missed a story about a drunk girl yelling up a well-educated storm on a Metro North train. Then I go off the grid for a measly week and Rupert Murdoch explodes, taking Scotland Yard with him, the debt crisis threatens to plunge us all into further economic depression, and whatever Carmageddon is. Also, J.Lo and Marc Anthony are getting a divorce? Too much!
Anyway, I’m not going anywhere for quite some time now, so it’s just you and me, New York. I return to you tanned and relaxed. I should clarify. By “tanned,” I mean that I finally achieved an even sunburn which only caused mild sun poisoning and may very well look brown in certain low lighting concepts. And by “relaxed,” I mean that my body is still processing the residual effects of piña colada in the bloodstream and I am feeling some temporary lethargy and brainfog as a result. I’m told it ought to clear up rather soon. Like tomorrow morning, when I board the subway. Perhaps. Just a guess.
Resort vacations are weird, and it took me a while to put my finger on exactly why. Don’t get me wrong, I had a wonderful trip. We ate and drank, we read and swam, we walked on the beach and took a field trip to the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza. We made some very nice new friends with whom we will not keep in touch, played cards and ping pong, played beach volleyball, played darts, went to a bonfire, participated in evening activities, kayaked, joked around with the
counselors…um, I mean hotel entertainment staff. I realized at a certain point that I was basically at an upscale version of sleepaway camp, with private rooms, better food and roughly the same number of mosquitoes.
The nice thing about Mexican all-inclusive resort camp is that you see very few people publicly sobbing because they want to go home. The downside is that they don’t have a crafts hut with different colored lanyards, and I was not offered a single opportunity to batik something. On the other hand, nobody made me play soccer or run a relay race. Aside from that, the two offer incredible parallels. Just exchange “sports bar” for “canteen,” “ice cream social” with “disco time,” and “bug juice” for “frozen margarita,” and the comparison becomes quite striking.
I can see how a person wouldn’t necessarily love all the reasons Mexican all-inclusive resort camp is like summer camp. But as one of those Tri-State area kids who always had to pretend she liked sleepaway camp as much as everyone else genuinely seemed to do, I welcomed the experience. I even started singing old camp cheers while watching my husband play pool volleyball. This was camping the way I was meant to do it! I finally found the perfect place. Who knew? If only I’d realized this earlier in life! If only literature for a Mexican all-inclusive resort had made it into the pile of brochures for Catskills camps my parents presented to me when I was eleven. I would have spared myself summers of avoiding lake activities and attempting to control a desperately nervous stomach during color wars track events.
Ah, well. Live and learn. I’m just glad I discovered the right spot for me, at last. I guess I am a camp girl after all! In your face, bunk twelve.
Dear Readers: While I am rarely at a loss for words, I’m always grateful for column ideas. Please feel free to e-mail me your suggestions.
Nina Pajak is a writer and publishing professional living with her husband on the Upper West Side.
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