There’s a reason I haven’t taken a holiday since 1986. Amid all the hubbub of getting a passport, finding suitcases, finding stuff to put into suitcases, and psyching myself up to actually climb aboard a plane, there’s that physiological item called stress. Preparation, for me, is a bear.

Preparation is getting in the way of life. I have a split personality. On one hand I like to do things impulsively. When there’s planning to do, I’m like Indiana Jones. I make things up as I go along. On the other hand, I have meticulously choreographed and scrupulously rehearsed every fitness class I have ever taught. I don’t want my attendance numbers to drop because of bad instruction.

Preparing for a major adventure to a ghetto in Montego Bay requires painstaking planning. My significant other is there since Friday, and already she witnessed three robberies, and a group of white American tourists made overtures to rape her. As a result, she remains at her sister’s place under self-imposed house arrest until I get there. To prepare, my fitness class participants have been getting extra frisky classes. That way, when I get raped by a squad of white American tourists, at least I’ll look good.

I have also incorporated some shadow boxing maneuvers in my classes. One thing they tell you before you enter bear country is to make yourself look big and mean. That way, the bears are less likely to attack. I plan to show off a little fancy footwork to keep those would-be rapists and robbers at bay. A fat lot of good that is going to be against a .38-toting robber/rapist, but at least the thought counts.

She gave some other warnings: Don’t take cabs because the driver may not be a real hacker. Don’t carry all your money in one place because pick pockets will rob and rape you. Don’t try to be friendly with customs officers because they’ll strip search you, rape you, and rob your money. I’m beginning to think that Montego Bay is Golden Gate Park.

I don’t care how many robbers and rapists there are, or whether they’re getting grants from the Jamaican Department of Tourism, we are going to leave her sister’s house. There’s no way I’m paying all that money for a first vacation since 1986 to sit around in a cement house with a galvanized iron roof – not when the Carribean is a stone’s throw away. We’re not staying home at night either. Along with bauxite and gypsum, I know Jamaica cornered the market on ginger beer. I tried to make ginger beer once. I added tartar sauce instead of cream of tartar. When the brew ripened, it blew a closet door off its hinges. In Montego Bay I can go for the real thing.

Since I decided to join the sweetie on her southern sojourn, I found myself fretting over nothing. A big stressor was the Passport Office. I heard dozens of horror stories about the wait. I heard of people turning into walking skeletons waiting their turns to have a clerk check the documents, signatures, and whether they spelled their names right on the application. Guess how long I waited. . . . Eight minutes.

I hope that, like my passport office experience, the threat of being robbed, raped, or both, is blown out of proportion. I don’t wish to show off all my boxing skills if I don’t need to. I wish I had more time to concentrate on my real phobia – flying.

Mike Broderick is an Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he finds employment for people with physical disabilities. Part of this work means affiliation with the Vancouver Board of Trade where he is a member of the Ambassador Club, the Burnaby Board of Trade where he is a member of the Labour Task Force, the Tri Cities Chamber of Commerce where he is an active member of the 10X10 initiative, and the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce. He does some work as a field Archaeologist and is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to alive magazine in Port Coquitlam. You can reach him at home at or at looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates

When he is not doing all this he lives in Port Coquitlam with his partner Cecelia.

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2 Responses to “PRE VACATION ANGST”

  1. Joanie Says:

    Mike, I was given great advice when I had to fly, alone, from MN to CA. I didn’t know a soul at the conference. When I mentioned my fear, the presenter just told me, “Just show up!” I’m glad I did.

  2. Sharon Says:

    Funny – and scary at the same time. Hope your vaca turns out to be “fun, fun, fun until her daddy takes her t-bird away.”

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