Friday, March 28, 2008

Tahoe Vacation

I spent New Year’s Eve in Lake Tahoe, along with most of the population of Danville and perhaps the rest of Northern California. If you’ve ever been up there during the holidays, you know how crowded it gets. And how cold. And how far, far away from home it is. For me, these are all issues I had to deal with, since I have a touch of Enochlophobia (fear of crowds), Frigophobia (fear of cold), and Agoraphobia (fear of leaving a safe place).

It seemed like a good idea at the time—that being after a couple of glasses of wine. We felt lucky to book a “rustic cottage” along the north shore, practically the only accommodations available during the New Year’s weekend rush hour. We should have known that the “cottage” would be smaller than a walk-in closet and more “rustic” than the homemade playhouse in our backyard. That was also an issue for me, since I also have a touch of Claustrophobia (fear of small spaces) and Ataxophobia (fear of rustic places). At that point, all I needed were a couple of clowns, (Coulrophobia), a big fat spider (Arachnophobia) and a dead squirrel (Necrophobia), and I’d have had to relocate to the nearby hospital (which also would have been an issue since I have a touch of Nosocomephobia.)

While I may be exaggerating a little about the phobias, I’m not exaggerating about the size of the cottage. The double bed filled the room, leaving little space for the shower stall, which was the size of a cupboard. It could only fit either a human being or a bottle of shampoo—not both. Didn’t matter. I couldn’t raise my arms above my shoulders to wash my hair in the tight space. The thermostat offered two settings: freezing or roasting.

As for the rustic amenities, there was one overhead light with 10-watt bulb, one bedside lamp with a five-watt bulb for reading, and a TV that mostly featured reruns of “Law and Order: Year One” and “The Pelican Brief” in Spanish. The self-labeled “resort” promised Internet service, but the connection kept shutting off in the middle of my search for various phobia spellings.

While most people were in Tahoe to ski, snowboard, and snowmobile, we came to celebrate a relative’s milestone birthday and watch our grandson’s first experience in real snow. However, like his grandmother, Bradley seemed to have Chionophobia (fear of snow). He didn’t care for all that white, cold stuff. Nor did he didn’t care for the snow boots, mittens, or padded snowsuits. And he especially didn’t want to slide on a slippery saucer. Maybe he got a heads up when I did the splits in my pink Uggs the first time I stepped on the snow.

My mini-vacation to the snow went downhill, so to speak, from there. Finally we packed up our suitcases, checked the “Beat the traffic” site for the best route home, set the GPS to “Danville,” and took off, leaving friends, relatives, and Northern California’s most beautiful natural resource behind.

Still, I was glad to come home, even to burst solar panels, a flooded backyard, and a raccoon break-in (they ate all my Christmas chocolates!) Best of all, my phobias are cured! Except for Oeno-rusti-cotta-chiono-phobia (fear of drinking wine and then booking a rustic cottage in the snow), of course.

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