It’s entirely possible I was the last person to realize Monday was Columbus Day.
Around 8:30 a.m. I looked outside and noticed something strange was going on. The streets around the downtown Union office of The Missourian were not lined with cars.
If you’re not aware, parking near the Old Courthouse is pretty cutthroat Monday through Friday. Union is a busy town and the square is full of people coming and going and also sticking around to work.
As someone who is, to put it lightly, not the best parallel parker, I’ve found the solution to the crowded parking rather simple — I just show up early.
I’m chronically early for most things. I have this irrational fear of being late and constantly do this brain math that makes me super early.
If it takes me 15 minutes to get someplace, I’ll tack on an extra five “just in case” (in case of what, I don’t know). After I do that, I’ll start getting anxious and leave a full 30 minutes early.
When the trip takes, sure enough, 15 minutes, I’m there 15 minutes early.
The thing is, I don’t mind being early. I’ll just stay in my car and listen to music, read stuff on my phone or walk around. With work, it’s even easier.
Since I started here in April, I noticed that there’s a window where I have my pick of the parking spots, or where I have very limited options. To get into that window, I just have to know I’ll be getting to work before anyone else.
So this Monday I pulled into my spot at a little after 7:30 a.m. No one was around, but that was pretty normal. I headed into the office and started to get ready for the week.
I read some news online, started planning out the paper and mostly just eased myself into the workday in the quiet solitude.
It wasn’t until I’d been at work almost an hour when I emerged from my office cave to look outside at the sun. I noticed a shockingly empty street.
Everywhere I looked was an empty spot. I could have showed up to work at that exact moment and still gotten my pick of spots.
At that moment I realized it was Columbus Day — a not real holiday.
I knew Columbus Day was coming up when I saw a sign posted on the Franklin County Government Center this weekend while heading to Wingfest. I filed it into my mind with useless facts.
To me there are real holidays and sham ones. The real ones are the ones you know and love — Thanksgiving, Christmas, Fourth of July.
A real holiday means school is closed, and so is everything else. If I get off work, well then, that’s a real holiday.
A sham holiday is like Valentine’s Day.
The real offender in the holiday game is days like Columbus Day. Banks are closed and the county takes off, but for some reason school is still in session.
And that doesn’t even get into the issues surrounding Columbus Day. It’s pretty weird to have a holiday honoring a dude who never even set foot in these United States and has a history littered with monstrous allegations.
Columbus Day never made sense to me as a kid and makes even less so as an adult. How can something be a holiday for some people and just another day for everyone else?
The only positive, for me at least, is finally Columbus Day means something for me. I know that next year I can sleep in a little bit longer and still get the best parking spot.