How good is it to get through a rather ordinary and dragging Monday only to discover that tomorrow is a legitimate day off work and that you can have a glass or two of something delicious, kick back and know that tomorrow is possibly the most pathetic excuse for a public holiday that ever existed?
For non-Canberrans, let me explain. Victorians, you'll already know about this.
There's a little horse race that happens on the first Tuesday in November called the Melbourne Cup. It's been taking place forever and, rightfully so, the good people of Melbourne and the surrounding state of Victoria get the day off to go to the races, get happy in back yards or do whatever their hearts desire.
The rest of us have long had to be happy with going into the office (or equivalent place of employment), working until around 2pm then standing around sipping cheap beverages and picking at stringy chicken. Other delights to endure on the day included platters of dodgy, supermarket sourced cheese cubes and meat products of dubious content. Maybe you got a limp salad. Invariably, there was a hat competition, which the same 'zany' people entered every year, having stuck some foam fruit or streamers to a cheap hat no one would ordinarily be seen dead in.
If we were lucky we did well in the sweeps and won $20 at the conclusion of the race. Once I won $5. Then we went back to our desks, a bit tipsy, and got on with the rest of the day, surfing the net while looking like we were working (obviously, only once the internet was invented. I imagine in the old days people just talked to each other until home time.)
So really, a public holiday in lieu of this (not so fine but now upheld) Aussie workplace tradition is a good thing. Last year, Canberrans got to have the day off for the first time. I'm not even sure why. Something to do with the Howard Government not being keen on what was formerly known in Canberra as the Union Family Day, or something, which was never a public holiday but something you had to take actual leave to access, back in the day.
Now we get it for nothing. And I suspect the rest of the country is laughing at us, if my sister's reaction when I told her today was anything to go by. I think she called us a bunch of losers, because in Sydney, everyone else has to go to work. I bet she wouldn't be saying that if the New South Wales Government had thought of it first.
Me, I'm lapping up the happy feeling. No work on a Tuesday, but instead lunch with friends who've got, as we jokingly say now, a manor house in the country. We'll eat their much nicer chicken, drink much nicer beverages and I'll knit and not have to go back to my desk. There's nothing vaguely like a bad workplace tradition about that, is there? So the fact that there's talk of scrapping this (admittedly dodgy) public holiday in the next couple of years is upsetting. I hope someone starts a rally. I'd protest against that.
Oh and here's some knitting.