On the merits of booking, breaking and Briony

By Christy MacGillivray

Pre-Fall break, I sat admiring my friends’ vacation luggage. Boot bags signed for Austin, packs headed up North, suits strung out for the East, and as always, a few duffels headed home for some West coast love. Scrunched up in my white puggled up-down comforter, I realized I had an apparent lack of plans. At the beginning of the week, on roughly Monday’s count, lost in a tempest of tests and tempers, I followed my initial instinct and just relied on the fact that somehow, through some serendipitous good-will of Fate, things would pull through and Fall break would prove to be seriptiosouly splendid and without flaw-as is my normal tendency in all things school and life-related. And, as always, it did-with a few foibles and wrong turns.

Wednesday night, as I watched the bags fly away, excited hands clutching their luggage, I furiously realized that I needed a destination. Pursuing the pages of Travelocity (your friendly vacation companion) I set my sights on San Fran-home of Berkley, the Bushman, A3 Annie Borton, and other good things brought to you by the letter B and the number 420.

$161 dollars? No way? That’s cheap! And such a good deal! Sign me up! I’m in! Just off to brunch to grab a bite to eat and then aprŠs-la, I will tra-la-la my way through Travelocity and into the land of unending sun. Ha, Ha! I’m in.

Three pancakes and two soggy sausages later, I returned to buy mon billet (that’s French for incredibly cool fall vacation destination in sunny-side California). When…

$298? Que? What is Sun-Country trying to do? I thought they were supposed to be my friendly companions in the sky?

Betrayed, bemused and befuddled, I realized day-of fairs tend to be volatile. Calling my best bud in Berkley and intended housemate in all things vacation-related, Rosario, I told her the disappointing news.

“Argh! But I already bought the good thing that starts with B!” she said in protest.

“You mean bananimals?!” I said excitedly.

“No the other good thing.”

“Oh. This sucks.”

Chagrinned, I apologized for the inconvenience, conveyed my disappointment at missing out on the fun, and I mused as to how to occupy myself for the next four days of what could prove to be potential solitude and personal meditation. Good for a Buddhist Monk, bad for a rabid socialiser.

I could get a job–No, Silly. I could read ahead for my classes–Let’s not pretend you thought of that… I could do other good things that begin with the letter B.

But before I could go any further, my good friend and recently graduated Macalester alumna, called up.

“Christy, I’m in town, come pick me up.”

Briony, who not six months ago I recall was perched on a keg, throwing back a beer, and doing the can-can at times deemed inappropriate by normal social standards, was now responsible for the health and well-being of exactly thirty-six less than anxious students in Miami, Fla., under the Teach for America Program-of national note. It was tough picturing my formerly flagrant friend, reprimanding kids for talking back, cutting slack and spouting smack when she herself had until just recently been on the opposing side of this decorum. So I asked her what it was actually like.

“It’s probably the most rewarding thing I have ever done-It’s tough, it’s trying, and its certainly lacks the safety-net feeling of being hankered down at home, but its well worth it. You should try it out someday.”

I sat back, thought, and decided that maybe I ought.

And perhaps maybe not (kids and I always don’t see eye to eye and I mean that in the metaphorical not literal sense)

But like kids or not, Briony had bought her ticket out of college, and I-well I, had hesitated, rendering my journey too expensive. May may seem to be a long ways away, but the longer the wait, the harder it is to jump on the ticket train-even if the destination involves an annoying lay-over in that trippy drug tunnel in the Detriot airport with the neon lights and the bad European techno and the invasive searches…eugh.

Don’t get me wrong, I had a great break, kicking back with Briony, but I hope, in the future, when my miles run up and I go on a potentially permanent vacation from school, I will have learned from this Fall break experience, booked before brunch and forewent those soggy sausages because at the end of the day, there are a lot of cool things to be, but without that courage to click, you can end up doing something significantly less sexy-brought to you be the letter B.

B as in just bumming around.

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