Prepare to tackle the hassle of holiday season

Arizona Daily Wildcat


Finals are quickly approaching and the holiday season has just begun. As we attempt to cram the last bits of information into our brains, we look forward to another joyous break. We see the light at the end of the tunnel, beckoning us toward our eventual vacation plans. Some will hit the slopes and some will hit the trees near the slopes. Still others will hit the beach in some tropical paradise. No matter what your plans are, you want to avoid my experience this past weekend.

Thanksgiving was fun. The turkey cooked up well, the mashed potatoes were nice and lumpy and the biscuits melted in my mouth. My travel experience was a bitter reminder, however, that getting there is certainly not half the fun.

It started at the Southwest ticket counter at the airport. I arrived almost an hour and a half before the scheduled departure time of my flight, and I was greeted by 100 of my closest friends standing in what appeared to be the line for a free ticket to H eaven. Of course, it was just the line for the flight to Los Angeles, which doesn't quite approach Heaven in its attractiveness.

After muddling through the line and receiving my cheap plastic boarding pass, I was taunted by all of those who had received better numbers than I. Yep, they got a closer spot in the next line and they rubbed my face in it. Then, I had to follow the same people down the jet way to wait behind them in the line to grab a seat. As we fought for overhead bin space, I realized how inane this process truly is. I guess this airline makes up for the cheap fares by offering an apocalyptic boarding process.

I suppose, though, that this is what I get for flying on the eve of a major holiday on the day that the university lets us go. That was not a good idea. Nor is this an idea that any of you should entertain. If you can get out early for the holidays, do so . Don't get caught in a scene from "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles." It's much funnier when it happens to Steve Martin than when it happens to you.

This is not the only danger of which you should beware. Shopping can be dangerous, too. If you don't believe me, ask anyone else who rose before the sun to catch those bargains on Friday. It is supposed to be the most hectic shopping day of the year and I was intrigued by all of the attention that one day of shopping had received in the news. It lived up to its billing.

Elbows flew. Kids were stepped on. Wheelchairs were toppled. Old ladies were crushed. It was chaos and I was there. I shoved my way into stores, hacked my way through the jungle of twisted carnage and I wound up with some great bargains. But was it worth it?

That is the question I want everyone to consider this holiday season. Before you jump on that plane, before you hop in that car, ask yourself if you know what you're getting yourself into. Are Mama, Papa, Sis and Bro, worth the effort of spending countles s hours in line to catch a plane? Are they really worth spending hours in a car with the murky stench of foot/body odor emanating from Buddy? Is it worth moshing your way through the crowds at the mall just to cash in on the really great deal you got on t he "Tickle Me" Elmo? I think not.

I encourage everyone to stay right here over the holidays. Relax. Don't bother with travel and shopping; you can watch all of the other guys fighting it out on television while eating your ham from Boston Market, conveniently located near campus. Who need s the aggravation of leaving campus when you can stay right here and avoid all the hassle?

Sure, you may have a loving family and great holiday plans, but are you willing to sacrifice that much for a warm fireplace and homemade food?

Jamie Kanter is a junior majoring in psychology and Spanish.