Remember when you were a kid and you couldn’t wait for vacation week to roll in? Maybe you single people still feel that special thrill creep in through your toes and coarse through you as you delegate your various responsibilities amongst your co-workers with barely concealed spiteful glee. Yes, you’ve earned your week or two weeks off. Now it’s time to do absolutely nothing! Well, enjoy it while you can, young-uns, because once you start breeding, you can kiss that brand of freedom goodbye. No longer will you jet down to Sandals and blow your drink tokens on some dental hygenist from Omaha in the hope that she’ll return the favor and blow you. Sky diving, hang gliding? No and no. Camping and hiking? Sure – with a toddler on your back while keeping an eye on the five year old so he doesn’t eat the white berries.
Honestly, it’s not the major vacations that suck. It’s the little vacations like “spring vacation”. You’ve got a week to…well, both you and your spouse could take the week off and do something fun (AKA, something the kids won’t hate). But that takes a week away from the two weeks allotted for “not working”.
So, since I’m Mr. Work From Home Dad, it falls to me to figure out
1) How to avoid my clients for a week while
2) Finding activities for the kids that allow me to get home quickly if a client calls with an emergency and
3) Not get resentful that the kids are home when, by rights, I should have the house to myself.
All in all, day one of Vacation Week went smoothly. They watched a movie while I got a few things done. Lunch. Errands (new soccer cleats, Ben Frank’s, the libarary, Home Depot) and the park. Still when my wife breezed through the door from her glorious day at the office, I gratefully embraced her.
“Do you wanna go out for a half hour, hun,” she mercifully asked.
Normally, I hate Starbucks. I refuse to drink their coffee which, as Sam Walters rightly points out, tastes like burnt ass. Still, on a bright and glorious spring evening, there’s nothing better than sitting outside with a cold beverage and the only place close by is a Starbucks. So I slumped down to Planet Perfect where they mist the air with Eau du Joni Mitchell every fifteen minutes and give Bono the benefit of the doubt.
I was weary. I wanted no real human contact. I wanted to grunt and be grunted at and then sit in the sunshine by myself.
“Hi, sir!! Welcome to Starbucks!! What can I get for you today!!”
Some people are just too fucking excited to be working at Starbucks. And before me stood the prime example. Tall and slender in her khakies, black shirt and tan apron, she reminded me of a girl I dated twenty odd years ago. Shortish blond hair in tight curls and her sweet face framed with rimless glasses, she was adorable and had she not been so damn perky, the weight of the day would have melted off my shoulders into a puddle at my feet.
“Yeah,” I grunted, “a small Vanilla Bean shake thing.”
My first rule of Starbucks – never order correctly. Use small, medium and large. Call frapacinos “shake” or even “coolatas”, if you must. “With cream and sugar” works, too. Most Starbuckians blink or try to correct you. Stella Starbucks just smiled even wider, the bitch. I handed her my money.
“And what’s your name, sir!!?”
Huh? My name? Was this part of the whole we-want-to-be-seen-as-an-extension-of-the-community-instead-of-the-corporate-kudzu-we-really-are thing? Why the HELL do you need to know my name? I don’t want to have a personal relationship with you. I want my fucking coolata. Are you hitting on me?
“Ok! One vente Vanilla Bean Frapacino for Paul, please!”, she chirpped to the sullen girl who I would have preferred to deal with. “And,” she said sounding much like Candide, “How are you enjoying this beautiful day!!”
“Obviously, not as much as you,” I grunted.
“Oh,” she demurred, “it just comes naturally.”
Oh, I wanted to say, fuck off.