The out-of-office message hit me like the latest nor’easter slamming our coast.
There I was, stuck at home last Wednesday, with 10 inches of snow outside and a 3-year-old and 1-year-old inside, trying to work when this e-mail popped onto my screen:
“The rumor is true. I’m currently soaking up the sun in Aruba.”
Really, only two words apply here: cruel and unusual.
Just about now, as Old Man Winter has us in his vise grip, we New Englanders get sick of it all. The shoveling, school cancellations, salt-splattered cars, bundling up, chapped lips. Some people manage to escape to somewhere warm, and increasingly, I’ve noticed they like to rub it in, dropping not-so-subtle hints in meetings, posting play-by-plays on Facebook, or — the very worst — coming back tan and relaxed.
So Jayne Seward, newly returned from Aruba, what do you have to say about your evil out-of- office reply?
“It’s playful,” asserted the 24-year-old account manager at Boston public relations firm Kel & Partners.
While I was trying to get information from her and working frantically on deadline, Seward was probably on the beach taking in happy hour. In fact, that’s exactly what she was doing.
In her defense, the Aruba trip with 7 other friends had been a year in the planning, hatched after last February’s nasty storm named Nemo. They vowed they would be somewhere warm and wonderful on Nemo’s one-year anniversary. And they were: It was 86 and sunny on the Caribbean island.
It was Seward’s first big vacation since her promotion, so maybe I’ll give her a pass for being so in-your-face about it.
But what my Globe colleague Katie Johnston did was just about un-for-give-able. She covers travel and tourism, and when I asked her if she had noticed an increase in gloating about winter vacations, she replied with what appeared to be a little jig in the newsroom, performed to these words: “Did I mention I am going to Aruba next week?”
Other winter escape artists, like Bob Sanborn, aren’t so eager to kick hot sand in our cold faces. He has some rules about sharing the details of tropical exploits when everyone else is trapped in a polar vortex.
Sanborn owns the Prince Albert Guest House, a B&B in Provincetown, and he winters in Palm Springs, Fla. I caught up with him Monday on his cellphone as he lounged poolside, in between Mai Tais, at the luxurious pink palace known as the Royal Hawaiian Hotel on Waikiki Beach. It was 82 degrees, and not a cloud in the sky. In case you were wondering.
His number one rule: “Full disclosure with sensitivity. Timing is everything. I try not gloat or post too much during the height of the storm.”
Ed Goode is guilty of oversharing about his recent winter getaways. Fortunately, karma caught up with him.
Goode spent Super Bowl weekend at the Ritz-Carlton in St. Thomas, gleefully uploading to Facebook several dozen photos of the blue-green ocean, white sand, and palm trees. But please don’t confuse those shots with his jaunt to the Bahamas over Christmas. Same ocean — different sand and palm trees.
Well, Mother Nature pulled a good one on Goode, 52, a media buyer at Boston advertising agency Connelly Partners. An East Coast snowstorm wreaked havoc on his connecting flights home from the Caribbean. He realized he had it coming this time.
“I gloated too much,” said Goode.
Thursday’s forecast calls for more snow, rain, a wintry mix — to be followed by a flurry of more beach photos from Facebook friends.