I woke up this morning finally feeling the cold of autumn, if you can call 64 degrees the “cold of autumn” in perpetually sunny Los Angeles. Still in bed, I groaned thinking about my day, then smiled. No use to start the day grumpy, I was going to get loads done. I was going to have guests this weekend, and I wasn’t going to let their visit take over my precious two days a week I get to myself. I was going to be productive, I was going to have some fun, and I was going to be on my own.
On a Thursday.
Rewind to eight years ago. 2007. When I studied abroad in Paris, my professors made a point to introduce to us the finer aspects of their daily lives. Not only were we going to learn how to conjugate verbs and talk about ourselves in French, we were going to learn the French ways. The aimless strolls in their many beautiful and well manicured parks and gardens. The three hour meals at their favorite bistro. Living frugally and minimally. They indulged some days (wine, desserts, a new pair of shoes), and were like paupers on others (light lunches, a well loved coat that’s been repaired and re-lined every other winter). And they hinted, some more pointedly than others, that if it was nice outside, they’d rather be picnicking than being stuck in a stuffy classroom teaching.
And when, one day, us students stared at the clock, 20 minutes past nine with no professor in sight and a beautiful sunny, cloudless day outside the window, we understood. Our professor ditched her students to enjoy this lovely day.
And why not? With so much of our lives spent working, wasn’t it worth it, once in a while, to ditch class or call in sick, to take advantage of a lovely day? Even before the French professors, I remember I had learned this long ago. In a movie my parents disliked for obvious parental reasons: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
What they didn’t seem to notice was that it wasn’t like they ditched to party or do drugs or do anything kids weren’t supposed to do. They had fun. Remember fun? They ate at a nice restaurant, went for a joyride in a convertible, caught a foul ball at a baseball game, went to an art museum, then relaxed in a jacuzzi. Nevermind, one of them had a nervous breakdown and destroyed their dad’s car, it is a movie after all. I think we need those kinds of days, now and then, to break the monotony of work or school. To enjoy this nice, crisp autumn day.