“Reading is everything. Reading makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something, learned something, become a better person. Reading makes me smarter. Reading gives me something to talk about later on. Reading is the unbelievably healthy way my attention deficit disorder medicates itself. Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it’s a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it’s a way of making contact with someone else’s imagination after a day that’s all too real. Reading is grist. Reading is bliss.” — Nora Ephron, I Feel Bad About My Neck
I am so so so sad about Nora Ephron’s death.
But what does this have to do with getaways, you ask? Well, it’s twofold. Stick with me here, and I’ll explain.
On my most favorite getaways, I get as far as the couch. And my favorite couch vacations come in two forms.
1) Reading. As Nora says in the quote above, from her essay collection I Feel Bad About My Neck, reading is the ultimate getaway. I love this idea that reading is “a way of making contact with someone else’s imagination after a day that’s all too real.” Because a getaway isn’t about leaving one physical space for another. I can be just as stressed out in Cape Cod as I am in Chicago. A getaway is a mental break. It means taking a timeout from deadlines and responsibilities and errands and pressing the reset button. For me, that often comes from escaping into someone else’s story. I just read Jesmyn Ward’s Salvage the Bones, and I cherished losing myself in a world so different from my own, even if it was not a world in which I would necessarily want to live. (In this case, rural Mississippi circa Hurricane Katrina…) Over this coming holiday weekend, I’ll be reading Gone Girl, a thriller that has become the book of the summer, and I plan on getting completely lost in the story. The ultimate getaway.
2) Movies. I’m not a film buff the way I am a TV junkie, but I love my tried-and-true go-to movies. On the days I just need to take a load off, movies it is. When Harry Met Sally is the ultimate. I’ve been watching a lot of You’ve Got Mail lately, too. I cuddle into the familiar dialogue like I do my favorite blanket. It’s a perfect easy getaway from the stressors of, you know, living in the world. There’s something so comforting about knowing what’s to come in the next scene, but also that it’s going to be as good as the last 42 times you watched it.
Take this, the best scene ever, and tell me you don’t escape into Harry and Sally’s world in the first 5 seconds.
Do you ever feel your best getaway days include very little travel? Is there any escape better than a good book or movie?