7/05/2011

By a Crystal Blue Italian Stream



A long weekend is never quite enough. It leaves one hanging. The extra day is more a distraction than an opportunity to recharge. That unassigned Monday is always taken up with other obligations, family gatherings, public observances and that accumulating list of things that stay undone during the work week. We all find ourselves on the clock come Tuesday but just a bit out of place, shifted just far enough in time that the minutes don't add up the way we feel they should.

The better part of it is the four day week that follows, though that does as much to break the rhythm and make the following week seem disproportionately longer.

I'm lucky, in a sense. Though my workdays are half again longer than those of my friends in cubicle-farms, the freelance lifestyle means that I usually end up with several weeks off work each year. Granted, they're unpaid weeks, but they're weeks off nonetheless. That's when the batteries get recharged. That's when I get to be lazy and also when I get to take care of all those wouldn't-it-be-nice-if-I-could-only-find-the-time things. I realize that most people don't get that.

Two weeks' annual vacation isn't enough either. Bereft of free time, we try and legislate every moment of these clots of free days with cruises, road-trips, family outings or projects better left to professionals.

I think we should scrap the holidays, at least that collection of bank holidays that have been divorced from their intent, the holidays that most of America observes only through beer and bratwurst: Columbus Day, Presidents' Day, Memorial Day and Labor Day. Let's take all four of those and any others that I've forgotten, combine them all together, tack them onto the back side of Thanksgiving and let the whole country take a week and a half off at the end of November. Let's just shut it all down for seven business days, and I mean everything, all non-essential businesses and institutions, because retail workers, call center techs and bartenders deserve some time off as well. Without mandating a single additional bank holiday, lets just take a week away from the business of business. Let's take a week and all say, "Hey, we all get a little time to ourselves."

I think it would be much better for us than a stray barbecue Monday every few months.