Happy Victoria Day

How old am I? Old enough to forget about long weekends, that’s how.

Long weekends–especially summer long weekends–hold a special place in our culture and, dare I say it, psyche. Having three whole-days-in-a-row off work is a stupendous, momentous, not-possible-to-miss event. Especially in the early decades of my employment, I could never understand how some people never seemed to know when a long weekend was coming. How could they miss it?

Well, maybe they were tied to different work patterns than the Monday to Friday grind.

Maybe they worked rotating shifts in 24/7 operations where the days-on/days-off schedule was designed without any regard for weekends, much less the long ones.

Maybe they routinely worked their share of weekends in operations that offered service to the public six or seven days a week.

Maybe Saturday or Sunday was their one non-negotiable day-of-work, like clergy.

Maybe they worked on deadline-driven projects where regular weekends were just another two days to spend at the office, but in a blessed quiet. Oh, wait, that was me.

And maybe they were no longer tied to any work pattern, so that weekends no longer loomed large: They loomed small, I guess. Oh, wait, that’s me now, too.

Indeed, I find that Victoria Day (this year occurring on May 22, not May 24) snuck up on me this year. I could feel like an idiot, but I think instead I’m just going to feel like this.

A long weekend?
What a nice surprise.
What do I do with it?

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12 Responses to Happy Victoria Day

  1. Jim Taylor says:

    When we moved from Toronto to the Okanagan, thirty years ago now, I was surprised to find that nobody here knew what a “two-four” was. In Ontario, it was taken for granted that the Victoria Day weekend consisted of buying a 24-pack of beer and going somewhere to get sozzled on it.

    Jim T

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Jim T – I can’t remember when I first learned two-four in this context. It might have been when I started hanging out with Ontarians. I didn’t drink beer as a teenager in Alberta (& still don’t, wherever I’m living) so maybe that accounts for it, but I certainly knew people who did.

  2. barbara carlson says:

    For John and I, EVERY three days is a long weekend, as one of the perks of being self-employed. Except being self-employed meant we worked just as hard on three-day weekends as any other days. Eventually, we learned to (sorta) “take off” on calendar holidays like everybody else. John’s one day a week off is Friday. Being retired, my days’ off are every day — unless I want to work at something which is usually every day.

    So, long weekends? I shrug my shoulders.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Barbara – I know retirees who crafted a weekly rhythm to replace the work week. One advantage is that we can do “weekend things” (whether recreational or errand-based) through the week when at least some of those venues are quieter. But it’s nice to have some sort of rhythm, I think.

  3. The Canadian principle of providing a holiday in every pleasant-weather month seems to me to be an excellent idea, especially for those tied to rigid employment schemes. The plan is enviable to many Americans, I know. Like you, I have lost track of May 24th; it usually arrives before I have noticed which weekend it’s attached to this year. However, its historical significance has faded to the point that it needs a facelift.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Laurna – I expect that by today’s standards, Victoria is beyond facelift or redemption. I can’t imagine the hoo-haw it would be to select someone else to honour/remember this weekend, but I hear you that it’s a faded glory, at best. I just got stuck in an extra 20+ minutes of traffic, driving through/back-through the downtown on the last Sunday of the Tulip Festival, so some folks are taking the long weekend seriously as family/outdoor time at least, and good for them. As for American holidays, I have trouble remembering the ones that coincide and the ones that don’t, or (worse) don’t quite. One year I was surprised by interminable ferry queues on a usually sleep route in the Pacific NW – Memorial Day, I think. I hadn’t had a clue.

  4. Marion Neiman says:

    I’m currently in the UK where I was surprised to find that they don’t celebrate Victoria Day weekend! Locals we spoke to today in Penzance were surprised that we did. Go figure.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Marion – LOL – That’s funny. I’d have been surprised, too – some things I just assume are Commonwealth-wide. (Enjoy your trip.)

  5. Tom Watson says:

    My Manitoba relatives refer to the Victoria Day holiday weekly weekend as “May-long.”

  6. Mary Gibson says:

    Or, like the Dowager Duchess of Downton Abbey….”what’s a weekend?”.

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