Joy in Increments

Via Chris Gray at Vagablogging, this article in the NY Times about how Americans are taking fewer and fewer of those classic 50s-style vacations. You know, where you load up the car and drive out of cell phone range to an awe-inspiring canyon somewhere. Walter Kirn, the author of the article, spells out several reasons commonly used to explain this: we don't feel that we can risk that much time off work either out of competitiveness or out of our desire to have more, more, more money; or because the family is disintegrating and dad just doesn't feel like going to Jellystone Park with us anymore; or something else about American culture that's no good.

His own guess is a lot more interesting (and a lot less tendentious): Americans can recharge in all kinds of ways now that we couldn't back in the day. Now we can take yoga classes any and every day if we want to, if we're into that. There's a lot more leisure in our lives these days, spread out over nights and weekends rather than stored up for a few weeks in August. I suspect also that many more people take vacations by flying to some large foreign city for a few days rather than by driving across the whole country and back with a camping trip in between.

I'm sure snobby Europhiles can find a way to spin even this against American culture, but we're still ok to my satisfaction.

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