Monday, February 16, 2015

The Family Day

"The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another’s desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together." 
~Erma Bombeck

Fourth glorious morning of sleeping in.  I could get used to that very quickly.  

Today we are celebrating a Family Day.  Well, I don't know how much celebrating is actually going on but some people do have a day off.

Interestingly enough, not everybody is free to stay home today because Family Day is not a national statutory holiday.  It is observed only in Ontario, Manitoba, British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan and even in these provinces not everyone gets a day off.  Since it is not a federal holiday, all federal employees including office workers and public servants have to report to work.  Post office workers included. The irony in all of this is that Family Day was originally created to provide people with an extra day off between New Year and Easter as well as to give people time to spend with their families.  Hence, the name Family Day.

Isn't it kind of cruel to call it that when you know good chunk of the population won't get a day off?

Who ever invented Family Day must have had a good laugh. 

For our family, the Family Day is not anything special but rather just another day off.  We don't have any grand plans or activities scheduled especially for this day, we simply carry on doing things that we would normally do on the weekend.  Sometimes we spend it together and sometimes everyone is in their own world.  And that is okay.  There are no expectations and no hurt feelings.

The real Family Day, in my opinion, was taken away from all of us a long time ago, a true Family Day that happened every week.  It was called Sunday.  I still remember those good old times when Sunday was the day of rest, all the stores were closed and everyone (or most everyone) had a day off. At the time, being young and stupid, I thought it was an inconvenience that I couldn't go to the mall or grocery shopping on Sunday but my perspective has changed over the years. Today I think it was great. Everyone was able to count on this day off every week without the worry about overzealous managers forcing them to work on their loved one's birthday and getting in trouble if they refused.  If our family ever wanted to get together, the Sunday was the day to do it.  

Sadly, this is no more and hasn't been for a long time.  In Canada, since 1990 if I remember correctly.

Today, organizing a family get together is painful as people are scrambling to get either Saturday or Sunday off, sometimes getting in trouble for doing so.  Some people work regular 9-5, Monday to Friday jobs and they have no problem, but others are not as lucky and sometimes it's not as easy as booking it off in advance.  We live in such inhumane times.

Indeed we live in times of a Great Western Machine that never stops spinning. The consumerist engine is so well oiled and its cogs so well fitting that it never comes to a halt. To have a day, once a week, when all the businesses are closed and people are allowed to be human and not bunch of androids programmed to shop or work, seems like an unattainable dream, a ship that has sailed to never return.

And that is a shame.  A real shame.

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