I always think it’s funny when people say to me, “Have a nice long weekend.” Isn’t every weekend a long-weekend for me if I want it to be? I don’t have a Monday-Friday job to wake up early in the morning to get ready for and rush out the door to catch the subway somewhere other than here. When I first came to Toronto, I missed not having a work place where I had to go. Sure, I was in a graduate program but not one that I felt enthusiastic about pursuing. Everything was strange and crazy those first years in Toronto. But the most foreign was not having a job and, even more important, not having a pay cheque. I felt like I had lost my anchor that defined who I was and allowed me the financial independence to be that person.
And, that’s about the time when three-day weekends became a strange oddity in my life. What did I need another day for? Had I earned it by my slaving all of those other days? No, I could have that day almost anytime I wanted it making it not special at all. It is sort of like people who have a lot of money who can buy what they want anytime they want it. Doesn’t that take away some of the specialness out of the experience? Three-day weekends for me became a time when the city became eerily quiet and I had to remember when the grocery store was going to be open.
I remember when I lived in DC and was working every day, I relished having those three-day weekends so much that I gave myself a day off evert week, I declared Sundays my day of rest. I vowed not to do any work. No cleaning the house, no grocery shopping, no laundry. Sundays, after reading the Washington Post and having a slow breakfast, I would go down the hill to the Mall and pick a different museum to visit every or go off to a movie or just stay home and watch videos — yes VCRs not DVDs — in the afternoon when things “should” have been done. I felt like I deserved that day of rest having put up with lawyers for the rest of the week. But now? Does just getting through the craziness of these days with a Trump in the White House and a Ford in Queens Park make living itself work and worthy of a Labour Day vacation?
I thought so. So, today my friend Judith and I took the bus down to Niagara-on-the-Lake and sat for a delightful couple of hours listening to George Bernard Shaw’s words being acted out in front of us. But the best part was being away from Toronto, just like we were on holiday. That, and sitting on the bus belly laughing at things that only two old friends would find funny — or, at least, that funny.
Everyone should celebrate Labour Day. We all work in our own ways — even those of us who are retired (whatever that means these days). Sometimes being retired is our hardest job yet because we have to create our lives all by ourselves without someone else telling us where to be and at what time and what to do. But, alas, it’s too bad that this “job” of living doesn’t have a weekly pay cheque and paid holidays.