Friday, February 16, 2007

Vacation Week

Serving the vacationing public is like having a dump truck containing 80 percent sand and gravel, 15 percent shit and five percent gold nuggets emptied over you. You shovel desperately to keep from being buried in the sand, clamp your lips and nostrils shut against the shit and hope like hell you get some of the gold nuggets.

The avalanche of Vacation Week begins before sunrise on the Saturday of Presidents' Day weekend. It tapers off a little for Tuesday through Friday, before another big clump breaks loose for the closing weekend.

Any tourist attraction has its ebb and flow. The ritual of winter vacation in New England has a particular urgency, however. The whole region becomes the theme park for winter activities.

The sand represents the vast majority of guests. They inspire neither delight nor disgust, but they have to be shoveled into the next chute so the conveyor belt can carry them out of the way.

The shit represents those guests who make a special effort to inspire a higher level of service by acting like the kind of aristocrats who get rounded up first when the Revolution starts lopping off heads.

The gold nuggets are the monetary returns, but also the special gems among the guests who bring a little slice of their own interesting world into ours.

It all tips tomorrow. Shovels ready?

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