You recall the scene in “City Slickers” where Billy Crystal is being dragged behind a galloping horse holding on to the reins, looking to the camera and shouting, “I’m on vacation!” almost as much to convince himself as to inform the world of his status. We just got back from ours and although we had a wonderfully restful time, we also occasionally had to convince ourselves that we were indeed on vacation.
We don’t get to take a break often enough and nobody was going to take away from our leisure. We’ll do a day trip or a weekend, but to take 10 days off for either of us and then to coordinate schedules for both of us is hard. When we saw we would be able to do it this year we jumped at the chance to do it in a big, relaxing way. Even so, every now and then we had to voice our mantra, “We’re on vacation.”
Neither of We travels much by plane. He of We does a business trip every once in a great while; She of We has averaged one roundtrip per year for the last three years. When it came to packing we were pretty careful to keep our checked bags to one each and thus the checked bag fee equally to one each. Both of We packed our carry ons quite sparingly. He of We used his classic pilot case and a smaller shoulder bag with net-book, e-reader, and some snacks. She of We carried a quite attractive leather tote with her reader, a few pieces of jewelry, and a matching purse. All would easily fit “in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you” as the gate agents announced several times over.
Unfortunately, not everybody obeyed that travel law. While we were at the gate we saw many future plane-mates wheeling quite overstuffed, oversized cases that would no more fit into the overhead bins than those wheeling them. About 5 minutes before boarding began the agents announced to the gate lounge, “We have a full flight today and as the plane fills we will most likely be asking people to check their carry-ons. If you’d like to save some time you can bring your bag to the podium now and we’ll check it through for you to your final destination at no additional charge.” Not only were these wheelers with the not so carryable carry ons breaking the carry on law, they were getting paid for it and payment was the equivalent of what it cost us to check our bags when we first walked into the airport. But that was ok. “We’re on vacation.”
When we got to board, which was sometime after the first class passengers, those needing assistance, the gold members, the platinum members, the plutonium members, the friends of the chairmen, the preferred select group, the regular select group, the airline credit card holders, and those travelling with young children, we noticed there were still those with the monster carry ons that wouldn’t fit into the overhead compartments. We observed one fellow drag his not so mini-suitcase from bin to bin, hoist it to overhead bin level, and attempt to force it into the compartment. Either he didn’t realize that each bin was the same height or he thought his case was losing weight from the jumping jacks it was doing. “We’re on vacation.”
Eventually the flight attendants gathered up all the oversized carry ons and checked them through to their final destinations (at no additional charge) and we made our way to the runway where we were number three to take off. Six hours and one airport later we emerged onto a palm treed, sun drenched some 2,000 miles from home. “We’re on vacation!”
Now, that’s what we think. Really. How ‘bout you?