Sunday, February 27, 2011

It's Sunday: You Have The Right To Be A Slug

It’s Sunday. One of the precious two days out of every seven that we don’t have to work. We’re supposed to make the most of those two days. We’re supposed to be with friends and family and celebrate just being alive. Today, however, I invoke my right to be a slug.

I think everyone has been damn brave this winter. We've all kept on a normal schedule and tried to continue on with life as if we weren't in the middle of a spirit-crushing ice age. Oh, sure, there were school cancellations and people were advised to stay home from work, but really, was that a vacation? No, absolutely not. They were days filled with shoveling back-breaking amounts of heavy, wet snow, the dangerous cleaning off of rooftops, slipping on icy steps and walkways, and digging out our buried, and in many cases, broken mailboxes. There were electrical outages, bursting frozen pipes, and downed trees. Not to mention the worry and fear over the mammoth ice dams that formed on everyone’s rain gutters, and the constant stress of paying for rising heat costs and unavoidable plowing services. Not exactly a party.

I live in New England. I know that the whole country got its ass kicked this winter, and although here in the northeast we’re supposed to be Spartans… for Christ’s sake there’s only so much battle anyone can take before they just can’t take anymore. Now, the week before last we were blessed with a reprieve; two days of temperatures above 55 degrees Fahrenheit and actual bright sunshine that you could feel. Not just that “ineffectual” crap we usually get in the winter. REAL sunshine. The kind that you need sunglasses for. The kind that creates a greenhouse effect in your parked car. It was glorious. GLORIOUS, I SAY!!! Some of the ten foot high snow banks were melted virtually in half, and I was actually able to take a walk in the outdoors for the first time since Thanksgiving week. It was as close as I’d been to heaven in a long time. I was infinitely thankful for those two days, and I remain so.

I knew, at the time, however, as did everyone else that it was only a “thaw,” and that winter wasn’t over yet. Still, I hoped upon hope that the snow was done … that the biting cold temps were done… that perhaps, just perhaps, we could see an early spring and be released from the bonds of this hell of a winter. Naturally thus far that has not been the case. Why should it be? February isn’t even gone yet which only serves to remind us all that we’re not out of the woods by a long shot. I, for one, am exhausted. I woke up this morning feeling like I just couldn’t even get out of bed. I’m not sick; it’s just that I plain can’t take anymore. Yet that nagging voice in my head told me to get up and carry on as though it’s “like any other day.”

Well, excuse me but SCREW THAT. As the first storm or two set in on us in January, people recalled (as they always do) the blizzard of 1978 and said “We haven’t had one this bad since then.” But then, more blizzards came. No January thaw… just more blizzards and below zero temperatures. We scratched our heads. What happened to global warming? Suddenly the blizzard of 1978 was child’s play. THIS is the winter to be reckoned with. But still we pressed on. We dug out, we salted, and we wrote the necessary checks. We bundled up, we headed out… we kept on working, going to school, keeping our social engagements. We continued to live.

Personally, this winter has been a special kind of hell for me. For one thing, I have arthritis in my back, neck, hips, and one of my shoulders. Cold temperatures cause me to shiver uncontrollably, clench my muscles, and basically enhance the pain. I’m not someone who ever liked snow. Not even as a child. I never wanted to be involved in winter sports, I never enjoyed making snow angels, or building snow men… cold and snow have always equated pain for me. But I’ve done what I’ve had to do this winter, just like everyone else. I’ve handled the pain. I’ve kept up with my duties and responsibilities… I haven’t cracked. But dammit… I’m tired!

Sunday, in case any of you weren’t aware, is supposed to be “a day of rest.” Because we are so busy, and because of the way jobs are in our society, Sunday is no longer a day of rest for most. It’s a second Saturday. It’s a Carpe Diem Day. It’s had to be. After all, we only get a precious two days out of every seven to ourselves, and time ticks by way too fast. So we make the most of our treasured two days. Many weeks, by the time Monday comes, I’m exhausted and wish I had just one more day to stay home… a day of rest. Well, today I reclaim my Sunday. Granted, I won’t do this every week, but when you stop and listen to the signals your body gives you sometimes you have to heed them and know – today you need a day of rest. So, if you feel like the winter of 2011 has kicked your ass, then rest today and know it’s all right. Don’t feel guilty about it. Sometimes, you need to spend a day just being a slug.

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