High Society's Revenge
I enjoyed a Spring Break last week even though I never left my desk.
Like thousands of other Houstonians who actually work through the week that grinds the city's social scene to a halt (CultureMap's own Shelby Hodge might have actually enjoyed a night at home last week), I can vouch that there is nothing like the break that's provided by everyone else high tailing it out of town. Especially if you commute into downtown.
For one magical week, you're the king of the roadways, able to zoom to wherever you please. One day last week, I made it from Tomball to Kirby Drive in a half hour at the heart of the morning rush hour, a trip that would normally take an hour and 15 minutes on a good day if you left after 7 a.m. A few days into everyone else's spring break, your commuting habits completely change. You start sleeping in. You practically sneer at the snooze button. You call up friends and bug them to meet you for breakfast. You envision following old Beach Boy Mike Love's lead and joining a Haute Yoga class.
And the ride home is almost as good. You see dads who never make it showing up early for T-ball practice.
"It's like you're living a completely different life for a week," Spring's Ryan Jones said.
Then, Monday morning of this week hits — and everyone's back and driving worse than ever. Does a week in Aspen take away one's ability to merge?
Suddenly, a drive that takes 75 minutes turns into an hour and 40 minute slog, even though there's perfect sunshine beating down the whole way. If this is high society's revenge, I want a recount. This phenomenon is largely a uniquely Houston one too. Having lived in the shadow of New York City, outside of Chicago, in Scottsdale, in Las Vegas, there is no equivalent one week where those cities' traffic completely changes for one glorious stretch.
Maybe people in those other locales don't love their kids as much — or at least don't love taking their kids on exotic vacations all at the same time — but you don't get this elsewhere.
It's all too fleeting though. By now, the high of the spring break commute is long gone. You start to wonder if it even really happened. If it's not just something from your personal episode of Lost. You can't think about it anymore. To do so would render you incapable of facing Tuesday morning's traffic.
Till next year ...
And hopefully a future where Houston's schools adopt a more European-view of the calendar. Is two weeks too much to ask?