COLUMN: How about ‘sun days’ for working folk

Here’s the scenario: summer finally has arrived.

There’s glorious sun, long evenings, and the world seems to have gone on vacation.

Parks are packed with people, morning, noon, and into those long evenings I was talking about. The beaches are probably just as packed with sun soakers, fun seekers.

The world is resplendent with carefree, fill-your-boots fun.

The dilemma: You’re not having it; you’re at work.

The patsy, the chump, the sucker.

That’s not me being mean, that’s just how you feel. And I’m here too, aren’t I? Foolish for not having become a teacher. Or a “consultant.”

Maybe your holidays aren’t booked until the end of August. Or worse, October. Used them up already? Don’t get any? Yikes! I feel your pain.

You can weep in your Corn Flakes. Rail against the gods. But it will do little to get you some desperately needed Vitamin D, sporting shorts, tanks and flip-flops. So what is a person to do?

One approach was summed up well in a great old Kids in the Hall skit in which a savvy construction foreman introduces his work-weary labourer to the on-the-job slip-ups that can book you some R&R with the Goddess of Compensation.

“I thought I recognized that look,” says the foreman to his grumpy employee.

“What look?”

“The look of a guy who’s daydreaming of a disabling but a non-crippling injury.”

And later, the foreman elaborates: “There is a way for a guy to get what’s coming to him. It’s called compensation.”

“Compensation?”

“It comes from a Latin word, meaning ‘free money.’”

It’s true that, during weeks like this, some people suddenly develop carpal tunnel after 20 years at the keyboard, just for July-August, or they catch a rash of summer colds, and use up their sick time.

Meantime, for those responsible folks out there – and yes, boss, that’s me, I swear – there’s got to be a better way. How to inject a little fun, while still getting the (bloody) job done?

Here are a few suggestions I gleaned from colleagues, online and up there in my noggin while I was staring out the window, yearning to be on the other side of the glass:

• Get outside. On your lunch break, walk with a colleague, meet a friend for lunch, find a park and read a book in the sunshine. Got a meeting? Have it in the park. Bring a box of ice cream sandwiches. To break up the summer, set up a work picnic or softball game.

• Buy iced cappuccinos for the afternoon break.

• Sometimes your attire can influence your state of mind. Why not wear flip-flops and shorts to work? Crazy Hawaiian shirts. Put a little zinc on your nose. Silly, but better than a nervous breakdown. A colleague of mine suggests women try sparkly shoes and perfume that smells like the beach.

Sometimes it just comes down to making the after-work stuff more “summery” and breaking out of the usual September to June routine. Some ideas:

• Have a picnic dinner after work, at the beach, the park, your deck or in the yard.

• Treat the weeknights like weekends. Go for drinks. See a movie. Hook up with friends. Go to an outdoor pool, lounge on the deck.

In the end, sadly, there’s no perfect way to alleviate the rather-be-having-fun-in-the-sun-instead-of-nosing-the-grindstone affliction. Work, after all, is called thus for a reason.

So perhaps we should start a petition based upon the suggestion of Sheila Keenan, who on Twitter posited that because colder places in Canada get snow days, we should have something similar here.

“Vancouver should get two or three sun days this summer. On really gorgeous days, everyone gets the day off.”

I’m with you, Sheila.

Chris Bryan is editor of the NewsLeader, a sister paper to The Surrey Leader.

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