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What am I doing, where have I been? - Michael Davis

So this is Friday. And what have I done?

Sounds like a John Lennon/Yoko Ono song, doesn't it? Here we are, at the end of something and that's when we start to wonder if it had all been worth it.

Did we make the most of it?

By the time you'll be reading this, I will have been on vacation an entire week. I hope I spent it well. And I come back well-rested, and ready to face the challenges that lay before me.

I don't know if it will have been all it could be, so we'll just have to wait and see.

Time off from work is widely considered a benefit of employment. In many jobs, if you don't take your vacation, you lose it. In some jobs, if you don't take your vacation, you lose your mind.

I was digging around on the Wikipedia the other day and came across a chart that gives the minimal vacation times for many of the world's industrialized, and not-so-industrialized, nations. Argentina? Fourteen calendar days, or two weeks. Chile? Fifteen working days.

Czech Republic? Four weeks. France? Five weeks. In Japan, they now get five weeks off every year, in what is said to be a result of the ”karoshi problem,“ loosely translated as death from over-work.

It seems that year after year, since the end of the Second World War, men were working themselves to death at an early age. Twelve-hour days, six or seven days a week. Year in, year out. Now, afraid of dying an early death for no good reason other than career advancement, Japanese take a little time out for themselves.

So what will I do with all this valuable time off? All of this time that is supposed to refresh, recharge and reinvigorate me? Well, for starters, I plan to do a lot of sleeping. And I don't plan on letting anything interrupt that.

I've also got a couple of Raymond Chandler books to read and some stories of my own to work on.

And before it's all over, who knows, I might get out of town for a couple of days. I drive a Civic, I can afford it, right?

The expense would be in accommodations. But someone in Idaho might have solved that for me.

I read a story on the Internet about a guy in Salmon, Idaho, that has spent the last few years digging holes in the side of a hill. He's a cave-maker. And, like all good American entrepreneurs, he wants to make money off it.

For five bucks a night, you can rent one of his caves and sleep there. Reuters said he had a mattress and a wood stove in each one, and if you wanted to stay a while, it would tap you for $25 for the month. You can even bring your own pick and do a little mining to pass the time.

Or, I can only assume that if you're inclined, you could strap on a deerskin loin cloth and get back in touch with your ”inner caveman.“

What a deal, right? A month in a cave.

Now that's a vacation. Or maybe it's just a month ”off.“

I think I'll stick to close to home, this time.

Michael Davis covers government for the Daily Herald. His column appears on Fridays. He can be reached at (770) 957-9161 or via e-mail at mdavis@henryherald.com .