Tuesday, March 06, 2007

I"m on Vacation

As a kid growing up we rarely went on vacation. We were middle-class poor, and I can remember one trip to Chicago to the zoo, one trip to St. Louis to Six Flags, and a couple of trips to see relatives in Indiana and Pennsylvania. Once I hit the middle-school years, that was done and I don't recall that we went anywhere as a family again.
Well, here I am at 42 and finding myslef middle-class poor again. Even though I make probably at least three times what my father was making when I was young. We haven't been on a 'real' vacation, where you pack up the kids and head out to some destination, in years. In forever, really.
So when I'm forced to take vacation from work or lose it, I call it 'burning time'. I'm not really vacationing, just hanging at home, catching up on some honey-do work, and working anyway from home.
Which isn't a vacation at all.
All of the wonderful things we put in place to help our workers be mobile have chained us to the desk, even if it's in a remote way. If I can find internet connectivity, there's really not a whole lot I can't do from my laptop that I could do in the office. This is a great thing in one respect, a horrible thing in another.
Yes, I can solve problems that crop up in the middle of the night without leaving my house - without leaving my bed if I choose. But I also can't get away : email and web on the phone, wireless Internet everywhere. I'm so tied to these things every day that I find it hard to put them away when I should.
I know what having a 'CrackBerry" truly feels like.
The other day one of the morning shows had an editor that they talked into living without 'modern' conveniences: no cell phone, no internet, no email. He ended up literally breaking down into tears when he realized he was going on the road and there was no way for his daughter to get in touch with him until he was back at the hotel. What if something happened? What if she just wanted to say "Hi"? Or "I love you"? He couldn't take it.
Neither could I.
So I sit here, paying the price for being well-connected, and technologically adept. Working on vacation.
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