It’s not that I’m not a fan of the couples holiday, it’s more that I’d rather grab the proposer by the nipples and ask them what they’ve been paying attention to for the whole of their adult life.
I’ve done this particular trip before. With Finbar. It worked because, mostly, he had ideas that I hadn’t been bothered to have, and so the few places that we had to make decisions were ones where we had exactly the same amount of skin in the game.
I stopped going to Glastonbury because my perfect festival companion would, through no fault of his own, no longer be able to share in this kind of exchange:
Me: shall be go and see the Master Musicians of Jujuka?
Him: I’d rather offer my eyes to wasps. I’m off to see Jimmy Cliff
No end of folks had said to me, when they heard that we were doing a non-specific trip down the west coast of the US, that they would love to do just that, and moreover, they’d love to join us. I have no qualms whatsoever in telling those people that i would rather pay for them to go on a holiday not with us than entertain the idea that they could ever share a road trip with me.
Rather than explain my reasoning, I give you today as the perfect case in point. We got up at 7.
Shall we run? Consensus: no.
Shall we head straight for SF or mess about?: let’s drive the Avenue of the Giants (it’s a road of big trees)
Shall we stop and look at this other big tree?: yeah let’s (until, ‘no, they’re just another tree just like the ones we’ve seen‘). (But here’s Mrs T hugging a tree she particularly liked)
Shall we head to SF or Dick about on the coast road?: up to you (yeah, it’s kind of the reason I’ve signed up to this trip).
Shall we carry on Route 1 or cut inland and head to SF?: yeah, the coast has been amazing but let’s just get to the hotel and grab a beer, even if we miss some dancing whales as a result (phew that’s a relief because I’m not sure I could handle another three hours of lock-to-lock driving to keep us out of the sea).
Blimey, $24 is a lot for two halves; shall we just stay put?: nope I’ve found a sleazy bar in Mission that does proper beer at proper prices but it does involve a walk through what may, on the surface, look like a ghetto; let’s go.
Shall we just run in the morning?: yeah, let’s do that.
See. It would be impossible to do that as a three, let alone a four. I’m not saying you couldn’t do it to a functional level; just that you aren’t going to get three happy people. It’s too much compromise.
There are, I’d suggest, spectacular exceptions. My big brother had done some hardcore research before we met briefly in NYC last year. When a man says: “I’ve been wanting to eat at this Vietnamese pho brunch place for ages”, it’s not a whim. Go with it, or get out of Dodge. (Breakfast whisky resulted: here’s where I levelled up at life!)
Democracy is very much overrated in social settings of more than two.
- As a band, I now sit out of set list creation: we’ll never make all five of us happy so better to have one decision-maker (Sparky) and four vetoes, just in case he does something actually barbarous.
- Our work Christmas party is now done on the nod of our most Christmassy employee, rather than poll the pool of heterogeneity that passes for our crew.
So, my suggestion: never do a trip that’s unplanned with anyone other than someone who you love enough to trust not to be a dictator.
And, yeah, if you’ve read this and remember all the holidays that you’ve enjoyed with more than just you and your significant other: I’m saying that there are folks who consider you a bully and that they’re quietly planning their next break whilst you’re busy.
Incidentally, we saw amazing scenery, paddled in a ridiculously picturesque bay that we had to ourselves, drove another 300 miles of stunning twisty roads (some next to sheer drops) and had the first of three evenings in SF that promise to be delightful. Alcatraz tomorrow, in the hands of a tour guide who can be as autocratic as he or she wishes.