Everyone goes all nuts for holidays. “Wahoo, a day off!” they crow, to my annoyance. Holidays are the bane of my existence. I wish they didn’t even exist. Why? Because, as a self-employed person, they do nothing for me. When you’re self-employed, you don’t get holidays off or paid vacations, but you do get freedom to do what you want, when you want it. As long as it’s not a holiday, that is.

Holidays are when all the people come out of the woodwork to run, bike, walk, lurk, loiter, and aimlessly wander the places that I usually have all to myself on the weekdays. I get up early, do my work, then have the rest of the blissfully people-free day to enjoy the outdoors. On holidays, though, they get invaded. Holidays are also when people travel, so I have to plan my travels around them. Trips are for getting away from the crowds, not traveling with them. The only good thing about holidays is that sometimes most of Anchorage leaves town for long weekends, leaving things rather nice and quiet. Mostly, though, holidays are annoying as hell because people aren’t on their usual schedules so I can’t avoid them by going out to play while they are at work.

You might be wanting to choke me right now and saying that you wish you had my freedom. Well, if you can give up things like paid vacation days, paid sick days, free professional development, a regular paycheck, and health insurance, you, too can have this kind of freedom. It’s all a trade-off. Me, I like the freedom and the ability to enjoy the outdoors without the crowds. I forget sometimes how many people there are on the planet because most of them are at work while I’m out doing stuff. Every now and then I make a mistake though, like I did today.

Today I ventured out despite the holiday (Presidents Day – what is it for? Yeah, I could look it up, but if they make a whole holiday for it then maybe it should be important enough that we already know?) and I regret it. My usual afternoon solitude was invaded by the following:

  • A dude in the parking lot dropping serious trou right in front of my truck. And I mean right in front. I know how intimate this guy is with his razor, let’s put it that way. After waving his ass (and sack) around for a few minutes, he turned around and apologized. “Oh sorry about that, I didn’t see you there,” he said. Oh sure. The giant four-door truck that pulled up next to you didn’t clue you in to the presence of another human, I get it.
  • The two fat-tire bikers who, despite insisting upon going in front of running-shoe clad me at an intersection, couldn’t bike at a pace faster than a slow jog. Not that big a deal, I just ran along behind them. That’s what you get when you’re a slowpoke – someone breathing down your neck. Maybe pull over so I can pass you? Just an idea.
  • Mr. Ass again, coming up behind me on his fat tire bike (seriously, it’s time to administer personality tests before letting someone buy those things), screaming obscenities at my dog who was following at my heels. One might think that Mr. Ass just doesn’t like dogs, but Mr. Ass of course has his own dog which evidently is immune to whatever Mr. Ass objects to about dogs. I was so surprised that I just stared at him while he made some excuse about how many times his dog has gotten its ass kicked by other dogs, so he’s all alarmist now. I can’t help but think shrieking like a banshee in angry terror might possibly be contributing to his dog’s mindset. In any case, some people shouldn’t ever leave their homes, holiday or no, and Mr. Ass is one of them.
  • The trail version of the climbing gym’s Absent Parent who managed not to notice my presence until every single one of her kids and their dog were blocking the trail right in front of me. She said nothing as I sorted through the milling crowd of kids. I was disentangled and moving on down the trail when Absent Parent decided to start yelling at her kids and dog to get out of the way. Passive aggressiveness? Slow reflexes? Sheer ignorance? I’ll never know.
  • Woman with three Beagles on leashes who, after jumping and screaming in fright when I came around a corner, took at least thirty seconds to sort out her dogs so that I could pass. Two of her dogs, see, were aggressive and she had to kneel on one and choke the other (I’m not kidding, here) to keep them from going after us as we passed. Does it make sense to bring three leashed dogs onto a singletrack snow trail anyway? No. It does not.

Not one of these people were any happier to see me than I was to see them. They clearly didn’t want the inconvenience of other humans around, but what did they expect? They had broken the sacred code, the one that keeps cube dwellers apart from people who spend their work days answering emails in their pajamas. I guess I broke the code, too, by venturing from my cave home office on a holiday. To think that all those people were getting paid to ruin my outing…. I wave the white flag now! No more holiday adventures for me. I’ll wait ’til they all go back to work.