Bernie Madoff should feel guilt. AIG should feel guilt and so should Chris Cox and Dick Fuld and all those other bandits. But should I feel guilty for being on vacation? After almost two weeks in South Beach, my brain cells have hunkered down and gone into hiding and even with CNBC on as background music, nothing seems to matter anymore. Let's put it this way: I'm on a grown up version of Spring Break.
In my family, vacations border on sinful, motivated as we are by a highly overrated work ethic. So when my mother called the other day asking if I felt "guilty" about my two weeks of sloth in Miami where even a trip to Walgreens is an effort, I had to think about it.
Guilty because I'm missing something in New York? Doubtful unless you love misery, cold weather and scowling faces on the streets. Am I missing work? Nope, I brought it with me virtually and instead of feeling stuck in my apartment in sweats and sweaters, here I wear my recently purchased Target matching $26 aqua blue work out shorts and sports bra.
Every morning I trot one block to the park and meet Victoria's Secret trainer-to-the-models, Julian Machuca, and for one hour in the gorgeous weather, he makes me sweat like a little piglet as I run up and down the stadium stairs and do dips and squats, while we focus totally on me, my body and my attitude. Yes, this is seriously painful and though I'll never be on a runway, my brain is not worrying about my next project and I'm outside in the sunshine. Should I feel guilty about getting into good shape instead of sitting in my bed eating boxes of Dots and Raisinets?
I spend hours in the park with Frito and Minnie talking to other dog owners about Pedro and Max and Ozzie and Petunia; their names and issues are now more important to me than whether Tim and Ben are dealing with sub prime mortgages. Not my problem and you're the ones getting paid the big bucks to figure it out.
While a morning trip to the Aventura Mall was depressing for the lack of shoppers, I focused on the elderly couples happily jitterbugging at 11 a.m. to the live piano music. This could never happen in New York but in Florida where the sun breaks down your resistance and you become born again as a relaxed person, this is what you do shortly before you're transported "Cocoon" style to another galaxy.
For the first few days I tried to justify my decision to stay for two weeks without visiting one museum (are there any in South Beach?) or even finishing "Team of Rivals." My DNA hard-wired worry genes and I argued about it but we made it happen and I have had no schedule, no lunch dates, no conference calls, no worry lines, no morning clenched jaw or sinus headaches.
Should I feel guilt about achieving this blissful state of mind? How could I — but just don't ask me something that requires an intelligent answer until I detox with a dose of anxiety followed by Xanax and Ambien upon re-entry next week. In the meantime, I'm the tanned one in the bikini on the beach reading People magazine. For now it's all about me, my body and watching CNBC currently on mute.
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