Breaks and Mistakes by Evan Barragate

Whether it is in spring, summer, autumn, or winter, or if it lasts three months or only a week, I always appreciate breaks from school. After months of being strained for five days a week with a two-day weekend, much of which I spend working anyway, there becomes nothing to look forward to until I am reminded of an upcoming break. As with the weekends, I do not take this time off for granted, and it is miraculous how quickly I loosen up. However, this is not because I resent school, as many students do. I instead resent the consistency of the school year and the lack of freedom I face. So, I rejoice when I finally reach these scarce, seasonal breaks. Despite the joy it brings me, this freedom’s most prominent effect is its tendency to lead me to do things that I’m not supposed to do.

Despite being an angel, I almost always get in trouble or do something embarrassing on breaks. But this doesn’t happen because of any rebellious motive I harbor throughout the year that appears over holiday breaks, like Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. And it’s not intentional the majority of the time; it just happens, and the events are memorable. In regards to a break, I may be quick to forget the food I ate, the sights I saw, the people I met, or even where I vacationed, but I always enjoy reminiscing on the embarrassing mistakes I have made over break. I would also assume that others would be more interested in hearing these stories as well. If I explain my nearly annual trips to the magnificent New York City and describe the eminent sights I see, I wouldn’t expect anyone else to be interested because this is only significant for me. Similarly, I wouldn’t be interested in hearing about other people’s vacations.

So, to celebrate the finish line of the autumn portion of the school year being so near, as Thanksgiving break is in a week, I have decided to look back on these instances of my foolish faults that have taken place during any break.

The first example that comes to mind is my hot tub confusion in Turks and Caicos while vacationing over spring break with my family. For context, this was a beautiful location with one of my favorite hotels. The pool was incredibly long and stretched from our hotel to the white, sandy beach. So, it only made sense for there to be a hot tub as well. And then I saw it: a circular, smaller pool with jets letting water majestically flow until they crashed into the surface below. My discovery overjoyed me, and I immediately leaped to grab a raft and make my way into the hot tub. For an unknown reason, the water wasn’t nearly as warm as I had anticipated, but I still felt complete bliss. After a couple of minutes floating on my raft in the hot tub, a hotel employee (who didn’t know how to mind his own business) had the nerve to yell at me, claiming that I was in the hotel’s fountain. This was an incredibly embarrassing moment for me, so thankfully, I can say that I was only in fifth grade – even though I could see this happening now.

The second experience in mind was actually during the same trip, which I’m sure you could assume was an entertaining one for my family. A day or two following my hot tub incident, I decided to go paddle boarding. Excited by the endless turquoise water below me and clear skies above, I easily got the hang of rowing and felt I could continue paddling forever, which I subconsciously seemed to be doing. However, all vacationers are familiar with the long ropes attached to floating bobs that enclose the designated area of the ocean for a resort. These ropes always frustrate me because why should I be prevented from the rest of the ocean? It’s a body of water; it doesn’t belong to anyone. Am I going to be arrested by the ocean police for paddling beyond this flimsy rope? So, I ignored this border and continued paddling into the distance. Also, I didn’t truly paddle this direction because I was set on doing so, but mostly because I didn’t know how to steer. This caused the beach safety patrolman to “rescue” me by boating out to my location. I shamefully had to travel back to my family and the crowd of beachgoers on the back of this boat – my day of paddling being cut short.

My third tale of embarrassment did not take place while vacationing with my family, but while on a short trip with my friends at a summer camp to a kayaking service on a river. As usual, I failed to pay attention when the instructors explained where our stopping point would be. But I figured that I would be fine. After these instructions and beginning our trip down the river, I became displeased with friends’ rowing speed and impressed by my own, inspiring me to leave them behind. I possessed some competitive attitude that seems to have disappeared by now, and I internally made the leisurely activity out to be a race. I felt accomplished after passing everyone I was with – beating them in a race they didn’t know they were in. Nothing could stop me, but that was my problem. I didn’t know where to stop, and I didn’t know where I was going. So, rather than logically deciding to put down my paddle and wait for the others, I continued at my intense rate with no clear intention. After what felt like hours, I observed my surroundings shift, and I felt as if I had kayaked out of the country. Finally, I gave in and decided to paddle back towards where I came, which I knew would take far longer as I would have to travel against the river’s current. After an eternity of kayaking, a diving unit discovered me, asking if I was alright and preparing to take me back. They acted as if I was drowning and like they had to rescue me, causing me to roll my eyes the whole way back.

I believe that the freedom brought by vacation goes to my head, which results in these embarrassing events. Does that mean that I think I should restrain myself while on break to prevent these mistakes? No, I believe the opposite. I regret none of these experiences because everyone deserves to do what they want when they get a break after a period of hard work, regardless of whether or not it is allowed. Hopefully, I will be able to laugh at another one of these mistakes this Thanksgiving break.

3 thoughts on “Breaks and Mistakes by Evan Barragate

  1. Evan,
    This was hilarious and enjoyable to read! I hope you will experience some memorable events during this upcoming break, which oddly all seem to involve water activities…

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