Here in D.C., the landscape is finally in bloom, lobbyists have thrown out the traditional first bribe of spring, and the gyrocopters are buzzing the Capitol. So once again, it is time for Americans far and wide to avoid taking their vacations.
You think I’m kidding, but in recent years that has been very much the case. As much as we say we like taking time off, you couldn’t drag most of us off of the hamster wheel with hot tongs.
A survey last year (no doubt by overworked pollsters) found that most of us take only about half the time off we are owed.
Seems like, for all the talk of a recovered economy, people still fear losing hours, being passed over for promotions or being welcomed back with a sticky note — “Chuck, please stop by HR.”
Heaven knows I’m doing my part. Already, I have not scheduled a trip to Hawaii, a getaway weekend to the Keys and a camping trip to the Smokies.
Not one of them is happening, and if I can get the right price on my flights, I might even not go to Paris!
Admittedly, vacations restore my vitality, spur my imagination and send me back to work with renewed vigor even if I do show up wearing a T-shirt that says “Wasting Away in Margaritaville.” Almost certainly, the cost of people not taking time off is higher than the cost of letting folks cool out in their Chacos a bit.
I make this case every spring, but what do I know? The trend lines are running against me, so I’ll knuckle down and keep unscheduling my vacation days just like everyone else. It’s not always easy. The other night, my wife said, “If no one else is taking time off, it seems like that should make it easier for you to get away for a while.”
“I can’t deny your logic,” I said.
“So why don’t you take a break?”
“Ha! Good one!” I replied. Personally, I think one of us has been working too hard.
Tom Foreman is a CNN correspondent and author of the upcoming book “My Year of Running Dangerously: A dad, a daughter, and a ridiculous plan.”