I’m looking for a sun day. Yes, I know. Every seven days we get a Sunday. Heck, the week even hands us a Saturday. But I’m not talking about the obligatory weekend that, for those on a traditional work schedule, provide a respite from the commute, the tech breakdowns, the water cooler chitchat and the coworkers who believe all items in the refrigerator are communal with or without a name label.
Instead, consider a sun day. Two words. Lower case. Improper noun. Referencing a state of weather rather than a heavenly day of rest and responding to a state of mind.
When the sun is out, nobody wants to go to work. Nobody wants to go to school. They want to photosynthesize a little. They want to be on the other side of the office window, enjoying the world instead of peering longingly out at it. They want to squish their toes in the grass at the park. They want to find an outdoor lunch spot with a solid drink list, tackle the overgrown backyard neglected through months of quasi-cold and quasi-rain, they want to do anything and everything but push papers, answer emails, ignore phone calls and kick themselves for not faking a sudden case of the 24-hour Martian death flu.
“I’m sorry. I can’t come in to work today. I’ve come down with something. Might be something I ate. No maybe it’s the flu. Have you heard how deadly it is this year, that H1N1 swine thingy. You really don’t want me to describe the symptoms. Not quite sure what it is.”
Maybe a few coughs or groans for good measure. Somebody once told me to always hang your head over the bed to sound particularly afflicted. Not sure how they figured that one out.
But such a phone call to the workplace powers that be is a lie. You know exactly what the problem is — a distinct desire to enjoy a day of beautiful weather. And you know the common symptoms. Reaching for the short-sleeved shirts and cotton rather than grabbing a scarf and piling on the wool is a first sign. Standing an extra few minutes in the sun when fetching the newspaper or letting the dog out. Knowing before you even hit the office that the goal of the day is to do as little as possible and get out as soon as you can before the temperature and sun drops. You’ve got a case of the sun and it is nothing two aspirin and calling in the morning is going to help.
So why isn’t it acceptable to lay everything on the table and call in well rather than sick? Call in sunny, if you will.
Kids in colder climates get to play hooky when the sky turns dark and wet. But snow days don’t offer the same opportunity for enjoying the unexpected time off. There’s no going to the beach or taking the pups to the park. Snowed-in roads mean not hitting the movie theater or mall.
Sun days would be so much better appreciated and enjoyed.
“I’m sorry. I can’t come to work today. I’ve come down with something. Might be the weather. Actually, it is the weather.”
The coughing would be optional.
Most workplaces allow for personal days which is great but those are often planned in advance, lacking the spontaneity and specialness of a true sun day. Something tells me, though, that employers aren’t going to take too kindly to the idea of work grinding to a halt every time the mercury soars and the sun rays burn.
Then again, maybe I just have a jaundiced point of view.
Michelle Durand’s column “Off the Beat” runs every Tuesday and Thursday. She can be reached by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone (650) 344-5200 ext. 102. What do you think of this column? Send a letter to the editor: email@example.com.