How was everyone’s Labor Day weekend? I spent the weekend in Saratoga, NY with my parents. Whoever said three’s a crowd, must have stayed at the same Comfort Inn we did.
Since we went to bed at 11 most nights and my mom is prematurely deaf, I had a lot of time to ponder the meaning of this holiday weekend by myself. I had never really given Labor Day much thought. I actually could have sworn it was in May. Turns out, this day marks more than just the end of white pants. After reading a few articles online, I was surprised to discover Labor Day was first introduced in 1882 in NY to honor American workers and labor unions.
I feel like a fraud. As an unemployed recent graduate, I had about just as much of a right celebrating this holiday as Lady Gaga had dressing up as a man to hand B. Spears her lifetime achievement award. And no offense America, I am not the only guilty one here. Labor Day is the victim of serious holiday neglect.
Labor Day is supposed to be a day of rest for Americans who work long hours to support themselves, their families and our country. Sadly, most workers don’t get the time off. Looking back on my weekend, I realize I took for granted all of the people working at groceries stores, restaurants, coffee shops and so on and so on. I probably shouldn’t have gotten so mad at the Greyhound bus driver for being late and maybe I should have tipped the waiter a little more today as he served me fruity cocktails. I wonder when the last time they got a day off from work….
I’m usually not the sentimental type but the guilt of this superficial holiday continues to build as the minutes slowly pass on this bus ride back to nyc. Boarding the bus, I handed the bus driver my ticket, saying “Is this all you need?”. “All I need?”, she laughed. “I’ll start with a vacation.”
I hate to say it but I doubt her, or the majority of American workers, will ever really get the appreciation and gratitude they deserve. I guess my post is somewhat inconclusive seeing as I have no almighty solution to the labor problems. I have no answer to the crazy unemployment rates. I don’t have a thought-out health care initiative plan. And I certainly can’t afford to buy the bus driver a vacation.
I can only think that the real solution starts at the human level in our everyday interactions with one another. No matter what your job, work is work and we can all think of things we would rather be doing. Rather than taking frustration out on our fellow workers, maybe we could find some unity and comfort in one another.
Basically, I am just asking that from now on, when the Dunkin Donuts worker refuses to put 5 splendas in your small coffee, you promise you won’t curse at him. You won’t tell him that he’s not doing his job and should mind his own business. You’ll even stop badmouthing that Dunkin Donuts to all your friends and neighbors and admit you may have made some false allegations about the workers and/or franchise itself. Instead, you’ll thank him for being concerned about your health and a potential artifical sweetener overdose. Wait….that does happen to you guys too right?