I have an AppleCare specialist in Austin, Texas who’s become my phone pal because we talk so often (I had one of the old iMacs with the boot-legged capacitors that melted).
He actually picks up instead of letting my call bounce to voice-mail when he sees my area code light up in call display because he likes talking with Canadians. Apparently we don’t yell like his other clients.
Anyway, we got to talking about the holidays. I teased him because he was away for two weeks right before Christmas.
“You Americans are so lucky, you have one big holiday from American Thanksgiving through to Christmas,” I said.
The years I lived in the States it seemed it was a whole month of festive bingeing that started with a turkey-fest the third week of November and went through to the penultimate turkey-fest Christmas Day. Mucho socializing, consumption and other excesses that seemed like a good idea at the time went on in between. I don’t know how we got any work done. In fact, now that I think of it, we didn’t.
“Yeah, but you guys have Boxing Day and Family Day,” he lamented.
I assured him that Albertans were the only Canadians lucky enough or smart enough to get Family Day in February. This mid-winter holiday helps break up the bleak prospect of virtually no holidays between New Year’s and Easter, a period of nearly four months without so much as a single long weekend to interrupt the endless spectre of the quotidian. But they — no, make that we — have to suffer the scourge of the tar sands to pay for it.
Apparently a new one-day national holiday costs the Canadian economy something like $30 gazillion in lost productivity. I say the heck with that. In the spirit of Ad Buster’s Buy Nothing Day, we should institute a new holiday right at the end of grim January and call it Do Nothing Day. In fact we should work in a Do Nothing Day in every month that doesn’t have a long weekend.
In China, people were outraged a few years back when government officials proposed doing away with the three Golden Week holidays, or at least cutting way back on them so they were more like Golden Day holidays (last month they were finally chopped).
Earlier, the national government had instituted a whole week for holidays around Chinese New Year, another week May 1 for Labour Day, and yet another week off for National Day in October.