Spring break 2023 is over, Tampa Bay. Reality is back.
Tampa a top 50 place in the world? Trump getting arrested? It’s time to catch up.
Welcome back! Did you miss them?
Welcome back! Did you miss them? [ MIAMI HERALD FILE PHOTOS | Miami Herald ]
Published March 21|Updated March 22

As you may have heard, the entire Tampa Bay region was on spring break at the same time last week, including yours truly. Many locals got the frap out of town because we know better than to spend three hours in traffic to get in a knife fight over parking on Clearwater Beach. Others pulled down the drapes and locked the door like a struggling patient in a pharmaceutical commercial.

If you’re like me, you are an Olympic-level expert at compartmentalizing. On vacation, there is no such thing as politics, nor chores, nor the hard work of building a rich interior life. There is only the gentle ding of an aluminum can popping and a heart song which goes, “dur dur dur dun dun dur dun.”

This approach is restorative and effective until that cruel first day back to life. Your mileage may vary, but here’s a rough blueprint for reentering society after a week away:

Wake to an alarm, a violent sound. Disoriented, thrash around the bedroom like a monster who is misunderstood by the townspeople.

Inspect home for any children who need to attend school. Do not overlook crevices where children may have fallen in. See that the children are wearing garments and that they board a long, yellow community vehicle.

Open the internet. On a single homepage, absorb four marginally different photos of Gov. Ron DeSantis at a podium making shruggy arms alongside more headlines about state control that he claims will lead to unprecedented freedom.

Read the words “hush money to a porn star,” “toxic red tide,” “failure of two U.S. banks” and “burning of fossil fuels accelerating climate change.” Catch up on how Donald Trump, who was president and wants to be president again, may be arrested. Consider how that would have been a major deal in, what? The 1980s? Consider a 9 a.m. margarita.

No, no! Sign up for a new fitness app, because after nine straight days of spicy cream sauces and gin-based beverages, things have to change around here. Consider consulting the Tampa man who did 3,264 pushups in an hour.

Learn that, while you were in the sweet embrace of the Pringles aisle, Tampa made Time’s list of best places … not in Florida. Not in the U.S. In the WORLD. Alongside Barcelona, Yosemite National Park and the Red Sea. Tampa! Decide it’s fantastic that the authors finally discovered The Hub.

Close laptop.

Stagger off to the bathroom making incomprehensible mouth sounds. Remember you have forgotten to take your new blood pressure medication. Briefly fall into bed and wonder how it might feel to be an elderly cat.

Lean against the bathroom sink and open TikTok. It is four solid hours of Taylor Swift Eras Tour spoilers. Get interrupted by a news alert that DeSantis is being passive-aggressive toward Trump, which all the Ultimate Fighting Championship fans have been waiting for.

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See that Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard, who literally had an office clock counting down to the end of his term, resigned on the spot Monday. Relatable! Pull a hoodie over your hair, which you have not brushed in days. Look through the tiny hole in the hoodie and wonder if the mayor is doing the same thing.

Open email. Scream.

Close email.

Open Slack. See an alert from a colleague who wants something. Do not open the message just yet because you can still technically say, “I didn’t see it.”

Read a two-part Reddit investigation offering incontrovertible proof that B.J. Novak is the father of Mindy Kaling’s children, allegedly.

Finally reply to that Slack message with, “Sorry, been getting caught up after vacation! Gah, crazy! You know how it is! This week is really not going to be good for me, but I’ll be up for air soon!!!”

Read about how a combination of Ozempic and jaw fillers is turning celebrities into “handsome Squidward.”

Check upcoming summer travel dates.

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