Vacation: Two weeks on the sunny sands — and the rest of the year on the financial rocks. [Sam Ewing]
For a whole lot of our listeners – maybe for you – tomorrow kicks off March Break. Maybe you're finding yourself taking time off with your children and heading to warmer weather; maybe you are staying home and working, just hoping day camps or a helpful neighbour will keep the kids occupied. I'll tell you today why March Break never meant time away, and why the one time we broke that streak we lived to regret it hugely.
The general rule of radio ratings is this: if you're sick, bring a bucket; if you're dead, bring a note. You never miss ratings and March is the time when they used to be taken. Now they're taken on a weekly basis throughout the year. But it was because of the spring ratings that I was never allowed to take vacation during March Break, so if Lauren went anywhere, she took a road trip with her dad or just stayed home. She wasn't raised with the expectation that March Break meant “getaway” and neither were her parents; I can only remember one or two schoolmates in Trenton whose families were well off enough to take them to Disney World. Now it seems the rule rather than the exception. Huh.
Back in 2004 when I had some time off the radio, Rob and I decided we'd go away with Lauren for March Break and make it really memorable: we met up with my parents in Vancouver and headed west for Hawaii. We had a great week in a rented condo (although Lauren spent a good part of that week in the lobby on the Internet with her teenaged friends) and all went well until the flight home.
The airline had oversold the plane. So we all had to wait about an hour for passengers to agree to get off – and for workers to find and extricate their luggage from the belly of the plane – since they just didn't have room for everyone. That infuriating delay snowballed into a much larger problem when we landed in Vancouver, only to learn that our connection to Toronto had left without us about fifteen minutes earlier. We sat on the floor of the terminal watching travellers with superior rankings in the passenger hierarchy get the last seats on flight after flight. The frustration and fatigue of it all were enough to make you whimper. It was on that long layover that we made a pact never, ever to travel on March Break (at least through an airport) again. And we've held to that promise.
If you're on your way, enjoy the warmth, and make some memories. Be sure to load up on patience and ear plugs before you head off to the airport and come home to us safe and sound with maybe just a little more vitamin D in your system than you had before you left.
As for us? We'll just be here – you know, giving away money and trips and trying to have fun without you. Don't worry about us.... (Did I guilt you there?) Kidding. Have fun. After being smacked with the cold, frozen hand of Mother Nature for the past three months, you sure deserve it. And if you bring back double digit temperatures with you, I'm sure no one will complain.