Winnipeg winters are, to say the least, harsh.
And to add insult to windburn, last winter’s particularly cruel “polar vortex” left us cowering and whimpering in the corner like a puppy hit with a newspaper for being on the couch.
This winter, perhaps as a result, it strikes me that even more Winnipeggers in my circle are escaping the deep freeze with warm weather destination vacations than usual.
Christmas in the Caribbean, New Years in the Dominican Republic, any time between December and March in any country below the 30th parallel…and also Phoenix for some reason.
And who wouldn’t, given the opportunity? We all crave a break from non-starting cars, and the looming threat of skin death. Hot trips are a heavenly re-set button to see you through the rest of winter with renewed optimism and replenished vitamin D reserves.
BUT! The pure joy that comes from that confirmation e-mail and the anticipation of sand, sun, and sweet, sweet relief has created a loathsome monster:
The Warm Weather Vacation Bragger.
They’re in the lunchroom, telling co-workers about their upcoming trip to “Meh-HEEEE-co” and doing a little dance.
Their response to a friend’s exasperation about the cold becomes “It’s going to be plus 30 in Cuba next week,”…and then they do a little dance.
And possibly the worst offender, the person who updates their social media every day with a countdown to their departure date: “Ten more sleeps ‘til THE MAYAN RIVIERA!!!”…and there’s an emoticon of a guy dancing.
Let me say first that being excited about an adventure abroad isn’t wrong.
But the sin that the Warm Weather Vacation Bragger commits is forgetting who their audience is.
These aren’t average Canadians - you could probably get away with such boasting in Toronto or even Calgary - these are WINNIPEGGERS. People who have been through the winter wringer of frozen pipes, three strains of the flu and four minor car accidents. People whom, for whatever reason - lack of funds, lack of vacation days, legs no longer able to bend - cannot access any temporary tropical relief.
To those of us left behind, saying “Hawaii” like Oprah giving away a car (“Hah WAAAAAA EEEEEEEE!”) is a special kind of torture akin to talking about your big fat raise to someone who just lost his job. Like making out with your boyfriend in front of your single friend.
You’re eating a decadent ten-course meal in front of a group of starving, Dickensian orphans.
And if you keep it up, you’re going to get yourself punched, blacklisted, or at the very least, raked over the coals behind your back.
So, Warm Weather Vacation Braggers, just tone it down a wee bit.
I’m officially assigning you seven-day snowbirds a bragging limit.
You get three genuine I’m-really-looking-forward-tos and we’ll truly be happy for you…on a certain level.
After that, we cannot be held responsible for our actions.
Enjoy your break, but remember those you’re leaving behind. Also, if you’re going to Mexico, bring me back a bottle of vanilla, dammit.
Jane Testar is a writer and performer with the Winnipeg sketch comedy troupe, Hot Thespian Action, an improviser with local improv troupe, Outside Joke, and the host of the CBC Comedy Factory Podcast.
Published in Volume 69, Number 17 of The Uniter (January 21, 2015)