In the first few months of working at a wholesale book distributor, I learned when a "bad time for a vacation" would be. Having only recently relocated to California, I was anxious to make it home for the holidays, and planned accordingly. If I had taken a moment to consider just how busy a book warehouse is during the moments leading up to Christmas, I might have reconsidered. Should have reconsidered. But my boss, being the kind soul that he was, understood my predicament and allowed me to skip off to the mountains of Colorado while everyone else toiled in the flurry of consumerism that built to awesome proportions right up until Christmas Eve. After that, I stayed put during the holidays, and put off my vacation until the summer, after inventory. That's how I ended up getting married in August. It was the calm before the retail storm.
I thought about this a lot over the past week as our President prepared to take off to Martha's Vineyard. He's taking ten days away from the office to collect himself for what will undoubtedly be a busy upcoming year. Hanging out with Carly Simon and Mike Nichols in a rented multi-million dollar estate could be just the thing to soothe those jangled nerves.
Or it could make him look like an insensitive twit, since an ever-growing number of the people he serves are out of work, and those who are lucky enough to have jobs are busy watching their retirement savings disappear at an alarming rate. But there's nothing for him to do in Washington. Most of Congress left town in early August after the debt ceiling was hashed out, and they won't be back until early September. What could sticking around in Washington D.C. do for your average citizen?
Well, maybe a staycation is what the doctor ordered. There are plenty of things to do and see right there on the shores of the Potomac. Maybe a day trip to Mount Vernon, or a stop at the National Zoo? Perhaps a hike in Great Falls Park, or hanging out in the Adams Morgan neighborhood for a little international flavor? He and the family could spend days just visiting the dozens of museums located just a short walk from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Of course, on the scale that is vacations days per president, Obama is no Bill Clinton, who had taken just twenty-three days to Barack's sixty-one up until this point in his first term. Then there's that guy between them who managed to sneak in one hundred and eighty days. That would include the trip to the Crawford ranch back in August 2001 during which he was handed a memo suggesting an imminent terrorist threat, describing al-Qaida's intentions to strike the United States. That vacation ended pretty abruptly on September 11.
Maybe this president took some work along with him so that, in between rounds of golf, he can fix what's wrong with our economy. And end the wars. And figure out a way to unite us as a nation once more.
Or maybe he could use the rest.