July 4, 2012 happens to fall on a Wednesday, which of course is the worst possible day to celebrate a holiday. Tuesdays and Thursdays are awkward enough because you don't really want to work on Monday or Friday - and that means tacking on a vacation day to the actual holiday. But what do you do with a Wednesday? Take the entire week off? Turn it into a five-day weekend? The Auto Club expects more than 3 million locals getting out of town for at least a portion of next week, a 5.2 percent increase from a year earlier. From press release:
"With the Fourth of July holiday falling in the middle of the week this year, we are finding that more travelers are taking longer trips than they would on a typical three-day holiday weekend period, which is partly why air travel is up this year," said Filomena Andre, the Auto Club's vice president for travel products and services.
The last time the Fourth of July fell on a Wednesday was 2007 (boy, that seems like a long time ago). The NYT surveyed business owners that year about the scheduling hassles:
"People are trying to get everything done before Wednesday," said Michael Keating, 43, of Keating & Walker, a downtown legal support service. "A small business owner, you very rarely get to take time off. The only benefit to me is if everyone else is off Thursday and Friday, it'll be quieter, and I can get some work done." But three days was one too many for [NY accountant] John Cifichiello to allow his employees at his office of 22 workers to count as an automatic holiday. And, he said, he regularly gives two days off for a Tuesday or Thursday holiday, like Thanksgiving. "It's a morale booster," he said. But a Wednesday holiday tries even the most generous spirit. "Anybody on my staff who wants to take two days off can do so with their own days off," he said, "but we're not going to give two days off."
Lower gas prices provide another inducement to take a few days off this year. An average gallon of regular in the San Diego area, a popular destination, has fallen nearly 50 cents over the past month, to $3.805. Meantime, it's June 26 and L.A. already seems to be in slow-down mode. Looking out my window on Westwood Boulevard, rush-hour traffic doesn't seem all that bad - even with the Rampture.