January 6, 2011 —
The faces are tan and smiling. A beautiful beach stretches out behind them. The moon is reflected in the waves that crash against the shore. The young faces are lit by the blue green light of a pool. They are smiling, laughing. It’s New Years Day, 2011, just after midnight.
The moment is frozen in time. A group portrait.
To go from working all the time to being on vacation is a strange thing. It’s a shift that is so drastic it shakes my core and makes me feel like a completely different person. My work self and my vacation self are two sides that never meet.
The movie that I raced to edit is finished, for now. And I am no longer spending every waking hour with Sean, the director. We are no longer hashing out ideas and squeezing creativity out of our over-tired bodies. Where there was once too much to cram into each day, now there is slow motion, with time for reading and playing games. Time for talking, eating, drinking and hanging out.
It was a lucky thing to have gotten out of New York City before the dreadful snowstorm hit last week. I was one of the last flights up into the skies before they opened up and dumped out heaps of white snow. As the plane lifted up, I breathed a massive sigh of relief having been on the other side of this equation more than once. I take a moment to be thankful not to have had my vacation plans ruined by the weather.
Now I am in Saint Martin, a small island in the Caribbean—half French and half Dutch. My girlfriend Emily has organized a massive trip. (She calls it “Camp Emily.”) She is a fantastic and generous host. She cooks amazing food, which keeps everyone well fed. It is no small task, for we are 21 people. Everyone chips in, shares and helps.
Eventually we fill three houses on the beach. Each is unbelievably beautiful, and we have fun; it’s the first group vacation of this size I’ve ever been on. It is amazing how quickly we turn into a small community and fall into a routine. We play hearts and Risk. Drink blended cocktails in the pool. We rent scooters and drive around the island.
I spend most of my days lounging around and relaxing, but a few excursions have kept me active enough (Zipline, Go Karts, Casino), at least for vacation standards.
I’m still responsible for some things on the movie so a few days are spent video chatting with my assistant editor to try to solve a problem at Technicolor. The work e-mails that I get from people accentuate the fact that they are operating at an entirely different intensity level than I am.
I dread going back to New York and think about how long it will take to re-acclimate to my life there. The worst part of a vacation is coming home. Did someone famous say that once?
My upcoming schedule is pretty crazy and January will take me up to Woodstock for a week for a sound mix and to Park City, Utah and Sundance for our premiere. (Goodbye warm weather!)
I wonder what it will be like to look back on that group portrait, a moment frozen in time, those young smiling faces, tanned in the warmth of the sun. I can imagine that at first it will make me miss the beach, this amazing house, the lack of responsibility and the camaraderie of having almost all of my friends on vacation with me.
But later, much later, I expect to look back at this photo with envy, jealous for a time and place when we were all young and carefree. For time, vacation or not, passes so quickly these days.