Tag Archives: Holidays

Just making sure we’re all on the same page

I think we can all agree, o learned readers, that diversity is a good thing. The world would be a terrible place if we all looked the same or acted the same. The fact that each one of us likes different flavour crispschips, different football teams or different music is categorically ‘a good thing’. And much as I will defend my natural right to watch Flash Gordon at least twice a year, I have to admit that if the rest of the globe’s population revelled in the line “I love you Flash, but we only have 14 hours to save the Earth” as much as I do, then life would be pretty dull.

But I’ve just remembered that you can take diversity too far. Sometimes we just need to be exactly the same as each other, the world over. Lay aside our individuality, and remind ourselves of all the good that can come when we all act the same way. Particularly when it appears that everybody else in the world has a long weekend, and I’ll just be having the normal, run-of-the-mill two dayer.

The problem with not having a proper long Easter weekend is not so much the fact that I don’t get four days off work. I think I got used to that last year. Instead, it’s that fact that this age of social media and instant communication means that I am constantly having it rubbed in my face that I’m still slaving away while everybody else is enjoying themselves. If over the next few days I’m forced to read that Person X is currently drinking beer by the river, or Person Y is still in bed at 3pm, I swear I will not be responsible for my actions.

To be fair, no one is quite as mean as She Who Was Born To Worry. Given that in a normal week she will call me at 2pm on a Friday in New York to let me know that her weekend has already begun, you can imagine her glee going into a four day weekend that her first born won’t be having.

Oh, and just for clarity, when it comes to July 4 or Thanksgiving, I’ll be all in favour of diversity again. Any Brit mocking me over the next four days should leave their phone number here and expect a call in late November.

Good Friday. Or ‘Friday’, as I now call it.

I could never claim to be the most religious person on this planet. Don’t get me wrong, I think there’s plenty to be said for the sense of community that churches, synagogues or mosques can provide. And I think if it works for you, then more power to you. But personally, I find it difficult enough to believe that a football team leading the league by five points with seven games to go is actually going to win the Premiership, so what chance do I have of believing in an omnipotent and omniscient presence?

That said, I’m more than happy to take advantage of the fringe benefits of religious belief. I’ve been in (more or less) gainful employment for the last thirteen years, and in all that time, I’ve been fortunate enough never to have to work on Good Friday. Admittedly I don’t go to take communion, or even walk within a few yards of a church. But it’s always nice to have a day off in the first few months of the year.

Yet all that’s over now, and my first Good Friday in the USA was spent sat at my desk, avoiding calls from anyone in the UK, and at the same time wondering why I hadn’t elected to take the day off like most other people in the office.

The strange thing is that the USA always strikes me as being a vastly more religious country than the UK. It certainly seems to have much more of a presence in people’s day-to-day lives, put it like that. My low-level blasphemy causes me all manner of problems with one particular inhabitant of my office, yet I seem practically incapable of preventing it. Having been tutted at for taking the Lord’s name in vain for the eighty-third time a few weeks ago, I actually responded by saying, “Oh Jesus, I’m really sorry.”

I think the real problem is that Americans are so religious, they have to recognise all religious days – and if they were to make every religious day a holiday then as Morrissey once sang, every day would indeed be like Sunday. Personally I’ve got no problem with that, but America’s gross domestic product is already heading down towards that of Vanuatu as it is, and doesn’t need any further discouragement.

I wouldn’t mind so much, but as I write this, all my friends and family in the UK are no doubt snuggled up in bed wondering what they’re going to do with their Easter Monday bankpublic holiday tomorrow. There’s just no justice.

July 4th seems a long way away right now.