As the sun cast its last rays through pulled curtains, we face each other, a square table delineating our space. Dealing completed, each person’s stack waits untouched. Hands flat to either side of our stacks, we sit silently.
I grab the first brochure from my pile. Primary colors blast ‘Children’s Museum’. No way! I slap the brochure on the top of my teenage daughter’s pile to my right as my husband pitches a brochure onto my pile. I grab his discarded brochure, hoping to get through my pile fastest. This one is pastels with logos of brand names stores at a local outlet. Not interested. Discard to the right, grab the next. “Daytime and Dinner Cruises” floats across the blue-gray water on a catamaran. Oh yea, that’s mine. It’s a keeper so I pull it close and reach for the next.
It is the first night of vacation in a city we had never visited. The brochures fly around the circle. Each of us keeps brochures we like and discard activities that hold no interest. When a brochure returns a second time, then we know no one is interested and it gets tossed in the “not gonna do it” bowl. In less than two minutes every brochure has a home and it is time to show our hands.
We set the ‘not gonna do it’ discard bowl to the side, and I throw the catamaran onto the center of the table. Then it’s my daughter’s turn. She studies the catamaran, discards a dinner cruise on a ‘real pirate ship’, and then tops my catamaran with a Busch Gardens brochure. With furrowed brow, my daughter’s friend discards yet another cruise and a card advertising an alligator museum. Then she ups the ante with the Museum of Science and Industry brochure. My husband tosses a manatee-adorned aquarium pamphlet on the pile and the remainder of his stack gets discarded.
Within 30 minutes, amidst silliness and laughter and with everybody’s input, we had planned our vacation activities. We have had vacations when we planned each day in advance; other vacations we planned nothing and each day slipped away quietly. But this spontaneously planned vacation was one of the best we ever had.