Traditional scientific models suggests that time is divided into 'centuries' and 'years' and 'months' and 'weeks' and 'days' and 'hours' and 'minutes' and 'seconds'. But traditional scientific models have been proven to be wrong, for, as we all know, time largely consists of 'those bits where we're doing stuff and it passes really quickly', 'those bits where we're not doing anything and time doesn't seem to pass at all', and 'the bits that fall in between'.
For this essay, we are concerned with that particular part of the space-time nexus known as 'holiday time'. Holiday time, as you know, has several peculiarities: when you are off it, you want to be on it, and when you are on it, you spend all the time wondering how long you have left before you will be off it again.
But anyway, what is the best type of holiday time? Some people are particularly fond of 'long weekend holiday time', others of 'two or three weeks overseas holiday time'. Some people have a lot to say for 'day off holiday time', which doesn't have many people left over for that piece of holiday time known as 'the weekend'.
Well, I say the weekend is definitely the best. Like the rest of Australia, I've taken off the Friday following Australia Day, and spent half of that time mooching around the house wondering what to do with myself. During the Christmas holidays I was even worse, getting under everybody's feet, and by the time it was half over I had no idea what day it was, and whether I should be back at work by tomorrow or whether I still had two weeks to go, which is pretty nerve-wracking, for you are not sure whether you should worry about not going back to a job that you should have already gone back to, or worrying about when you are going to have to start worrying about that. A two or three weeks overseas holiday is nearly the worst of all, because you spend most of that time wondering how much of it you've got left, and a good deal of it anxious that you don't miss your next flight. And if you have any time left over from that, you spend it fretting about the flight you just missed and now how the hell you're going to spend your time.
Not that I mean to suggest that work time is any better. My goodness, no. If you spend a lot of a normal holiday wondering what to do with yourself, you spend a lot of work knowing exactly what to do with yourself, and wanting intensely to do something different anyway.
No, I put it to you that nothing could be more special than a weekend, that time when you have nothing special to do. What could be better than 'nothing special'? And what could be more suitable for nothing special than the weekend, when you have time to potter around, doing all the usual things you ordinarily do, in an exceedingly everyday manner? The weekend is the best time, I say. There ought to be more of them. (Now, if scientists could only figure out how to do that, life would be sweet.)
Then again, we could adopt an alternative philosophy, as expressed by poet W B Yeats:
THROUGH winter-time we call on spring,Hope you're having a cheerful time, cheerful people!
And through the spring on summer call,
And when abounding hedges ring
Declare that winter's best of all;
And after that there s nothing good
Because the spring-time has not come -
Nor know that what disturbs our blood
Is but its longing for the tomb.