Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Playing hooky

Last Thursday was an interesting day. It started out like every other day…busy, busy, busy. I had a report due by the end of the day but I was determined to get it done by noon so that I could start on the bigger report that’s due this coming Wednesday.

I worked my ass off all morning and, at 11:30 I finished it, printed it and dropped it on my manager’s desk.

At 11:45 the power went out. Talk about timing.

Ten minutes later we were ordered to evacuate the now dark and quiet building. After milling around for a bit in the park across the street a bunch of us went for lunch, having been given no indication of when there would once again be light. When we returned to the office, we were handed flashlights, told to go upstairs, get our stuff and go home. The emergency lights didn’t work, the phones were down, the servers were down and well it was getting awfully hot in the building because the A/C of course was down too.

Immediately, people started stressing. Because not only could things no longer get finished from the office, but taking work home wouldn’t help either because with the servers down – webmail and remote access were down too. Heck, the phone lines didn’t even work so we couldn’t leave or receive voice mails either. In other words, nothing worked and nothing could be accessed for God knows how long.

But suddenly I had a thought. Remember when you were a kid – say in elementary school – and something like this happened (and I have a vague memory of this happening to me). Either the power would go out, or a snow storm would be making a beeline for the city, or there might even have been a small fire. Whatever the case, the school board would decide to call the buses, call the parents, call whomever, and all the kids would be sent home early.

Heck, remember Ferris Bueller's Day Off?

It was like a getting a free day. Kids would be yelling and screaming with joy, because suddenly that lesson that just wouldn’t end was over, and instead of three more hours of school, the day was done and there was nothing left to do but play outside (or watch TV, or whatever).

So why is it that we can be so overjoyed at the idea of a ‘free day’ when we’re kids, but so stressed about the same idea as an adult? The work will still be there tomorrow, and if files can’t be accessed, they can’t be accessed. We all need to learn to enjoy ourselves from time to time – not stress over everything. Goodness knows I need to be reminded of that lesson more often than not.

With that in mind, I called my sister-in-law, who at that very moment happened to be at the CNE with Austin and my father-in-law. A little over half an hour later, I was feasting on Tiny Tom donuts while walking with the three of them around the Ex.

A free day is a free day and I decided I wasn’t going to miss out on it – and by extension on the opportunity to spend it with my kid. And shocker of shocker, the work was still waiting to be done when the power came back on.

And it still got finished on time, even after playing hooky for an afternoon.

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