Thursday, April 16, 2009

Unwittingly Supporting a Neologism

Neologism: ne·ol·o·gism (\nē-ˈä-lə-ˌji-zəm\) n. 1. a new word, usage, or expression. 2. a meaningless word coined by a psychotic. [French: néologisme, from ne- + log- + -isme -ism, 1803] -- ne·ol·o·gis·tic \-ˌä-lə-ˈjis-tik\ adj.

If you've been reading some of my entries, you'll know that my kids on Spring Break, and we certainly are not in Cabo or Daytona Beach. No, we are home. They are home building forts out of couch cushions, having i-Pod dance parties, playing far too much Nintendo DS, biking outside, wrestling on my bed, and inventing new and destructive games usually involving some combination of a ball, swords, Darth Vader helmets, superhero capes and "blasters" constructed out of large toddler Legos. I am home feeding them and feeding them and checking my e-mail far more than is necessary and looking at the clock and wondering in what creative fun way I will feed them again tonight.

See, I had a fledgling idea to go to San Diego for a long weekend, a mere eight hours by car in good traffic. "A road trip!" I said to husband, "load the car with lots of snacks, drinks, DVDs for the kids, trash magazines for the passenger, and just drive at our own pace! No security check, no flight attendants, no smelling like an airplane and praying you won't lose your luggage. We can stop whenever we want! Eat every two hours if it suits us! And after all, the kids will be strapped in the whole time! Come on, let's take to the open road!" He looked askance at me, pursed his lips in a skeptical half-grin and said "You and your road trips." (He is anti, so we've never taken one, despite frequent lobbying by yours truly.)

But when I reminded him we have friends we could stop in with in L.A. for a night, splitting up the trip into just two four-hour driving stints, and then upped the ante by offering to drive THE WHOLE WAY, I could tell I just about had him. "Hmm" he said, with that important upward intonation, "May-be."

And then the accountant called to tell me I could pick up our taxes. Yee-owch. Reality. We have very complex taxes this year, since we just moved back to the U.S. from overseas and own a house we're renting out in another state. Because they don't withhold overseas for U.S. taxes (understandably) we knew we'd owe some, but it still hurt a bit more than expected, especially since California state taxes are high.

So here I am, and while excessively checking my e-mail this week I have stumbled upon a neologism not once but twice from different sources: "staycation." It appears that this is the new term for what I am doing: spending my vacation at home instead for economic reasons. You know it's getting established when Wikipedia has an entry for it, to wit: Staycation.

Yuck. I am a linguistic curmudgeon, and furthermore am anti-trend, linguistic or behavioral. Additionally, staycation seems a particularly inelegant new construct. It reminds me of "stagnation." I am not enjoying "staycating" and I certainly didn't ask to be a part of a tacky neologistic and economic trend. Boo hoo. Take me to San Diego!

I'm checking last night's lottery drawing numbers now. Come on, mama needs a vacation!


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