returning to reality

The saddest part of a vacation is the long journey home. Whenever I return from Japan, my spirit carries the generally good-natured and respectful vibe of the Japanese people and their fanatically polite customer service. Usually, this vibe is sledgehammered to bits as soon as I step onto the grounds of Newark Airport. Ahh, Newark. Brick City. Reality can't hit you harder anywhere else. Nothing tells you more concretely that you aint in Japan anymore than hearing a mother yelling and hitting their child on the airport shuttle bus while getting in the face of strangers and barking at them to mind their bidness. I can only whisper to myself, "Home sweet home." My wife has made the analogy at these moments that Japan is like a soft circle, while America is like a sharp jagged triangle (or polygon of your choice).

On this Vegas trip, reality's return was not as dramatic. There's no real culture shock in re-entering Jersey - unless you consider the excesses and decadent faux-stylings of an adult playground to be cultural. This time reality was grey, rainy and served at 35 degrees. Even after an arduous sequence of delays, cancellations and switched flights, I was still carrying Vegas with me on my journey home. My skin was still warm from the relentless sunshine of the 90 degree heat. My step still bounced with the fun loving attitude of the Strip. But playtime began to evaporate, as I stepped off the plane and walked through the terminal at O'Hare. A wintry chill jabbed my chest through my suddenly inadequate tshirt. I see people trudging along in thick coats and hats. I try to deny vacation's end, but the dark, rainy skies that surround our landing in Philadelphia only confirm reality's return. Its funny how weather can affect your mood...not to mention the crowds of grey clad business people checking their blackberries. I look down at my insanely colorful sneakers and decide to take one more day off.


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