Stranger Days #35: The Busman's Holiday

A chalkboard with scrabble letters that spell out "Stranger Days"
Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Welcome to stranger days--my blog series exploring daily life, challenges in times of the COVID-19 pandemic, and just sharing insights or thoughts about how to make it through these days.  

I can barely remember what the conversation was but I remember my father one day--sometime in my 20s--asking about what I'm doing on a day off and my response was "Oh I'll probably go to Barnes and Noble and read some books and graphic novels."  His response introduced me to the term "busman's holiday."  For those unfamiliar with the term, it's in reference to a bus driver making use of the bus on his day off, thereby partaking in the thing that he does for work (and for now, we're going to ignore the gendered terminology here, but don't think I'm not unaware of it).  

As I mentioned on my Tuesday post, I am in the gap between when one job ends and another begins. I gave myself 6 days off as the transition period.  Not long but distinct enough to get a break and mark the big transition.  Since we are largely not going anywhere, my break is a staycation that is also part busman's holiday.  In fact, I know that in many of the breaks that I have taken over the years, have been in some parts, Busman's holidays.  

What makes them such?  Well, so much that is part of my work is thinking about learning, reading, and writing.  So much of what I am likely to be doing as a part of every holiday is to be learning something new, reading, or writing.  It might be different in terms of the content of learning, reading, and writing, but they are inevitably there.  They are not just things that I'm drawn to but things I enjoy immensely.  

For instance, today, I took about 1.5 hours to finish a book I had started a few weeks ago.  Utterly delightful to fully saturate myself in the book and feel the full final arc of it all at once.  I also took a few hours to read a few graphic novels as I've been missing reading those now that the library is closed.  Yes, I got them online from the library, but I try to save my library reserves for audiobooks.  And of course, I'm doing plenty of writing during this time.  I'm writing these entries, I'm writing parts of my dissertation, and writing some other creative pieces.  

Of course, I'm doing other things with this time (such as a replay of Final Fantasy VII), but these are the things that I smile about as I recall that conversation and when I sit down to do, I inevitably think, "Lance is a busman's holiday".  

I also know that both to have this break and to spend it doing things that are both fun and that ultimately, I get paid to do in my day job are immense representations of privilege.  In writing this post, it's not so much an intention to flaunt it but to raise the question about how some of us find ourselves or direct ourselves to opportunities in life that reinforce the things that we already appreciate or enjoy.  It's clearly something that I do a lot of but I'm curious who else finds themselves in this space regularly. 

Take care. Be careful. Be care-filled.  Welcome to stranger days.

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