This morning I returned to work after a week off (well nine days if you count the weekends) and I found things hadn't changed much, other than that one of my email accounts had 240 messages.
In actuality it was a relief to come back to that circumstance if you understand my past experiences with vacations. You see, I used to work for this guy who always fired people when they were on vacation. I remember one woman left the office on a Friday to go on a three day cruise and when she returned on Tuesday all her stuff was sitting by the front door in brown grocery bags.
I think it was his way of keeping the rest of us from taking time off. So when I decided to leave that wonderful environment, I took all my vacation and then before I returned I called him and told him I had found another job and to please put all my stuff by the front door, just as he had done with everyone else. He was not a happy camper.
Alas, here I am seated at my computer; no one fired me while I was gone from this job; all the stuff on my desk was just as it was before I left.
Unfortunately my vacation was only slightly more interesting than that cluttered surface. I spent the first three days of my time off digging up a sewer line and fixing it and then two days in St. George helping my mother-in-law put some order to her new house. I returned on Thursday (at least my dogs were very glad to see me) to do hard labor around "Slave Acres."
It was basically a stay at home vacation, with the exception of the small jaunt to southwestern Utah. I can't say it wasn't fun, but then it wasn't a barrell of laughts either. It was a good change however.
The point is that I think I will be taking more and more of these kinds of vacations. The reason? Well there are two. First I never get everything done that I need to do at home during the regular days I have off. Consequently things pile up until something has to give. Secondly, I am a stick in the mud about paying $2 plus per gallon for gas to travel. Unfortunately, I think there are a whole lot more people like me. When I fill up a tank that used to cost me $12 a few months ago and now it costs me well over $20, that is hard for me to handle.
I do however worry about all those other people. Our economy in this area depends a great deal on tourism, and I fear that many people who visit small towns like ours and spend money here will stay away as well.
Some of what I read says that gas prices, adjusted for inflation, are not as high as they have been in the past. But when I saw $2.40 per gallon on signs in my travels between here and Utah's Dixie, it scared me as much as it would have when I was making $1.75 per hour washing windows at a service station in Midvale while I was going to college at age 19. A buck is still a buck as far as I am concerned.
People try to explain it by saying "everything is relative" referring to our much higher wages these days. But the only relatives I can see in the whole thing are those wondering why Grandpa Rick didn't leave more of an estate to them when he went away to that great big dog kennel in the sky.
This summer is predicted to be hot and dry, just like the last few have been. I think we can also predict that a shower of greenbacks from those coming through town will not be what we would like it to be, nor may it even equal years past.
It could be a lean year for both those that benefit financially from vacationers and those who want to take them.