Or at least trying to work. That’s a tough proposition on a sunny spring Friday afternoon no matter where in the world you happen to be. But here in Sweden, on the eve of what is for many (but not all) a four-day weekend, I’m beginning to suspect it’s downright impossible.
I just got the “bum’s rush” from a colleague in IT who was on his way out the door at 3:30 p.m. I mean, had it been my boss or one of the other Big Cheeses on the management team, I wouldn’t have thought a thing about it. But an ALPHA Geek from IT? Come on! Those guys live for their strings of code and binary fractions and all that other mind-numbling boring technical crap that makes of our lives infinitely more productive. Are they even allowed to have lives outside this building?
Evidently so, because the IT Department is abandoning this ship just as quickly as everybody else. Next Tuesday is Sweden’s National Day, and virtually eveyone who has the vacation days or comp-time to spare is taking Monday of as well … a practice so common here that they have a special name for the days that fall between weekends and holidays: Klämdagen…literally “squeeze day” in English.
After almost four years of living here I have yet to go so native (my recently acquired Swedish citizenship notwithstanding) as to take advantage of the Squeeze Day phenomenon. It just doesn’t occur to me. And even if it did, I rarely have the vacation days to spare since I take a couple weeks off each year for a trip to see my family in the U.S.
So I guess I’m a bit envious of all the folks who heading for a long, relaxing weekend because mine will be neither. My brother arrives next Wednesday, meaning this is the last weekend we have to get The Penthouse – Nordic shipshape for extended overnight company, as well as to plan and coordinate the many adventures and activities we want to share with him while he’s here.
Which is why it’s really not the best time for my Mother-in-Law to come down for a five-day visit, but then again she’s a native Swede and has no qualms at all about taking the Squeeze Day.