Just make sure you have a trip buddy

I’m bouncing a bit like a Tigger today, for a couple of very different reasons. First, I believe I’ve finally hit the top of the mountain when it comes to my novel-in-progress. If you look to right, you’ll see that the ever-so-slowly accumulating word count for Famine has finally crested 50,000 words. Of course, that’s about as arbitrary an accomplishment as it comes, seeing as how the thing’s not done and I can’t really tell you how long it will finally end up. Still, since I’m expecting it to fall into the 90-100k word range, at this point I believe I can safely claim to be half way there.

*pauses for cheering and confetti*


*throws confetti on self*

Well, fine, so maybe it’s not exactly a toast-worthy event, but it’s a big deal for me. So, I’m going to be bouncy about it for a day.

That said, the real reason I’m feeling a little springier than usual is because it’s March 16th, and we all know what that means, right? Indeed, tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day. Now, before anyone asks, no, I won’t be quaffing any green beers. Frankly, I have a pretty intense aversion to that kind of thing. I will, however, be doing some celebrating upon the morrow.

Admittedly, I’m not significantly Irish. I think I’m something like a quarter Scotch-Irish, altogether. To me, though, that means there’s enough Celtic ancestry mingled in there somewhere to proceed as planned. And even if that wasn’t the case, I’d still make sure to leave the house with shamrocks on my mind. In fact, I’m tempted to say that St Patrick’s Day comes close to eclipsing my other favorite holiday, Halloween.

Now, I realize that many of you are thinking, “Well, sure; it’s like, The Beer Holiday, so of course it’s your thing.” But, really, that’s not the point. I don’t honestly need a reason to celebrate good beer. Having good beer is reason enough. No, there’s definitely something more to this St. Patrick’s Day business than just a pleasant pint of Guinness.

I think it’s actually about field trips.

As children, we all participated in a field trip or three a year, including visits to the zoo, the science museum, the antique village, what have you. Now, I don’t know about you, but for me, field trip days were right up there with the Christmas and Valentine’s Days parties. The daily routine was broken, you got to see and do cool stuff, usually everyone got a cookie and some fruit punch, and it didn’t, as a rule, matter much if you got too loud, as long as you didn’t scream about Tommy Turnip-pants (which as a put-down, made a little more sense in first grade than it does at the moment). Field Trip days were always something new and different, low-on-stress, and free of homework.

As an adult, though, I find that precious few field trips are penciled-in on my calendar. In fact, as soon as you graduate from college, somebody shackles you to a desk before you realize what’s going on. They also give you a regular pay check, though, and after three years of thinking of Ramen and Pop-Tarts as the apex of haute cuisine, you kind of like it. After that, well, it’s easy to get caught up in all the Shiny! New! Things! a modern life requires, which means that by the time you come to understand that you’ve been duped, you’re strapped to The Man with chains that would make Jacob Marley’s seem positively gossamer.

Sometimes you need to break those chains, along with the everyday rules, and go off on a field trip. St. Patrick’s Day, as it turns out, offers the perfect excuse to do exactly that. I firmly believe that every fun-loving adult, with or without a few drops of Irish blood, should grab a trip-buddy and spend an afternoon watching the animals in their natural habit while calmly enjoying some Irish heritage as the rest of the world follows the rules.

Half a day of vacation is a small price to pay for that kind of entertainment.

Besides, if you try to go on actual field trips as an adult, well, let’s just say that the middle-aged guy by himself at the petting zoo tends to attract the attention of police.