Saturday, 20 October 2007

What a Difference a Day Makes

This week I did a really naughty thing. I pulled a sickie. Played hooky. Went AWOL. In my defence, it wasn't premeditated, it just sort of happened. It started off like any other day. I woke up, had a shower, did my hair and make-up, dressed, packed up my diet lunch, got in the car and drove to work. Nothing unusual there. It was a lovely, lovely day - crisp, autumnal, sunny; the sort of day when you ought to be out, walking your dog in the park, kicking up the leaves, just happy to be alive. The sort of day that, if you had one, you should to be hammering down country lanes in your open topped sportscar, enjoying the autumn sunshine, catching a whiff of woodsmoke as you wend your way through pretty villages in search of the perfect pub for lunch. The sort of day that you shouldn't spend caged up in an office, staring at your computer screen like some sad little budgie gazing into its mirror, wondering if this is all there is to life.

So there I was, waiting at the traffic lights, and suddenly a renegade idea came into my head. Bugger it, I thought, I really don't want to go into the office. So I didn't. I pulled into the carpark, did a swift U turn and drove straight back out again, stopped the car half a mile away and phoned in sick. I can't believe I actually did it, and to be honest, I'm still slightly shocked at myself. I don't usually do things like that, but I've rationalised it now - they owe me so much time I could take the rest of the year off and still have change, and my colleagues, who suspected that "things were getting on top of me" were OK with it. And somehow I just needed it. So it was a done deal. I was taking what is known in some countries as a "mental health day" or, to put it in Brummie vernacular, I was skiving a day off.

My next phone call was to my husband who was supposed to be working at home.

"Fancy going out to lunch with me, in the country?" I already knew the answer to that one. He's always been easy to lead astray.

"Have you got the sack?" he asks, shocked that I am not already in the office.

"Not yet, but I'm working on it" says I, tossing the phone in my bag and heading for home.

After a brief pit-stop to pick up husband and get changed into my casual gear, off we went, heading out into the Staffordshire countryside. Apparently, the autumn colours in the UK this year are even more spectacular than the trees in New England, and driving down those country lanes I can quite believe it. What a fabulous sight. The sun shone through the golden leaves as they drifted down to the ground, the roadside red berries looked vibrant, the creeper covered walls positively glowed, there was a nip in the air which brought the colour to our cheeks. We found a wonderful pub, sat in the stone-flagged bar in front of a crackling log fire, husband ate game pie, which he said was delicious, and I enjoyed venison sausages and tried not to think of Bambi. After a nice cup of coffee and a walk around the village, we took another picturesque drive home. An entirely fabulous day, a totally unexpected but necessary soul-restoring treat.

And did I feel guilty? Yes, a bit. Did I regret it? No, not at all. Are my batteries fully recharged? Yes, yes and yes.

Life, as someone once said, is too short to stuff a mushroom. Or let glorious autumn days slip by unappreciated.

26 comments:

laurie said...

DAMN i wish i had the courage to do this.

good for you!!!!

Swearing Mother said...

Hi Laurie,

Think I was possessed by an alien spirit, just for the day. And I'm usually the one with the work ethic!

belle said...

Fantastic! What a great way to spend the day. Next time detour through Sutton Coldfield and pick me up - I'll only need a moment to stuff the children in a cupboard ;o)

laurie said...

the times i've called in sick when it's been kinda marginal i have always paid the price by truly getting sick about three days later. is it guilt? is it premonition? am i just stupid? who knows. but i love that it all worked out so beautifully for you.

Kaycie said...

What a great day you had!

If I ever called in sick when I wasn't sick enough to stay home, I was always afraid to leave my house and be seen by someone who could tattle on me.

Manic Mother Of Five said...

Hmmm methinks this is a culmination of a few different factors ..... Driving to work in that sporty little number must make the temptation to just keep driving very, very hard to resist. Then you have been musing the work/life balance question plus you have to work with the fuck-wit you were telling us about recently. All adds up to a gloriously illicit duvet day. You go girl. xxx

Manic Mother Of Five said...

Hi again Swearing Mother. Got tagged with a MEME by Self Employed Mum so to keep this going I am tagging you. Check out my blog to get the gist of it all.

XXXX

knifepainter said...

If you carry on like that you'll be self employed like me !!

Good for you SM, I have spent some wonderful days skiving over the years. The best pleasures are the ones we steal !

merry weather said...

Good for you. A Mental Health Day - ha! perfect description... sorry to hear things are getting on top of you but it does sound as if you're getting your priorities right.

Autumn seems a strange time to me this year, let's hope it leads into a good winter. We can hope!

Swearing Mother said...

Hiya Belle, ooooh you're posh, Sutton Coldfield eh? Will they let me through the passport control should I take another duvet day and try and rope you in? Only kidding. But to be on the safe side, just rattle your jewellery so I know it's you. :o)

Laurie, I know just what you mean. Usually I go into work come what may, but on the few occasions I've gone off when possibly I could have dragged myself in, I've have always had scrofula or dengue fever delivered upon me as retribution. This time I felt semi-righteous as I was definitely feeling the strain, and am a much better person for it now. For the moment.

Hi Kaycie, the secret is to get as far away from your work place as possible, although this doesn't always work I have to admit. A friend of mine from the Midlands sneaked a day off and went to London and bumped into her boss on the train. Unlucky.

MMOF: It was the only thing to do as I think the next step at work was senseless violence if all else failed. Much calmer now. WTF is a MEME? Will be over to yours ASAP to find out.

Hello Knifepainter, would love to be self employed and would be if I had your talent my friend. As you say, if I'm not careful I may not have a choice very soon. Eeek. Mental note to self: must start behaving better.

Hi Merry: Apparently a "mental health day" is similar to a "duvet day" but with more angst. I'll have to make the time up though as I will only feel guilty, and then I'll get stressed, and then..... etc. You get the gist? I think we all get these times when it gets a bit too much and we need to get off the treadmill for a bit, but I'm ready to get back on now.

Thanks everyone for your comments, appreciate them!

Amy said...

Excellent! I'm giddy for you. It sounds like a wonderful day. Just what the doctor ordered.

I tried to skip out on my work today, but failed. We went to buy pumpkins from a small farm south of here. It's lovely. You wander the fields and pick your own, feed the sheep and cows, dodge chickens. Except this year they were closed. It's been a bad pumpkin year. Looks like we'll be visiting the haywagon down the road instead.

Swearing Mother said...

That's a shame Amy, I bet you were planning on pumkin pie? Or Halloween lantern? Or both? Hope you manage to find some.

Best wishes.

Rainbow said...

Doesn't it make you feel SOOO much better when the pleasure's illicit? Unfortunately normally when I take a duvet day from my full-time job it's because I've got a deadline I can't meet on freelance work or college, so days in the country are few and far between! Working on it though...

advocate said...

Good for you. I am lucky enough to live in a village in the Staffordshire countryside and I can tell you that every night as I leave the office, it's like going on holiday. It's a world away from my dull claustrophobic office where I sit as you so perfectly describe like a caged budgie, staring at the computer screen and wishing I were somewhere else. Like you I hardly ever pull a sickie, but having read your blog, I'm just waiting for the next crisp sunny autumnal day and I'll be off!!

Mopsa said...

Everyone needs a duvet day from time to time, and better still when you're feeling fine and it's glorious weather. Here's to self employment.

belle said...

Yep, that's me. Dead posh I am. So posh that they wouldn't let me live in the posh bit of S/C in case I showed them up ;o)

The Rotten Correspondent said...

Wasn't it Shirley Conran who said life was too short to stuff a mushroom? Of course it was in a book called Superwoman, so what should we expect?

Good for you for having the guts to have your day the way you wanted it. It sounds wonderful. We were all there with you in spirit. I'm more like Kaycie - afraid I'm going to be nailed.

Swearing Mother said...

Hello Rainbow, lovely to read you again! Thanks for visiting. I can thoroughly recommend playing hooky, just for the one day, to recharge the batteries.

Advocate, you lucky thing to have that sort of beautiful countryside on your doorstep. It's lovely this autumn, isn't it?

Hiya Mopsa, I really think nourishing the soul is important, and either countryside or sea is the way I usually do it. Or a little light retail therapy of course, but it was too nice a day to spend a minute more inside.

Why hello Belle, you posh bird. I bet you shop at Waitrose or do you get it delivered? Ha!

RC, you are quite right, it was Shirley Conran who made the comment re mushroom stuffing, and frankly it's a philosophy I've lived with ever since I read her book. My take on this is that I'd eat a stuffed mushroom, but only if someone else stuffed it for me.

I know what you mean about getting caught out - but it was worth the risk.

Tina said...

SM, you did exactly the right thing. Am going to try it, but will miss swearing at my staff. May have to swear at strangers, but it's a risk I'm prepared to take.

Swearing Mother said...

Bloody good show Tina. And if all else fails, you can always wind the car window down and swear at innocent passers by.

It certainly works for me.

belle said...

You're stalking me, aren't you?! And I'll have you know it's Ocado when they deliver, it's only Waitrose if you go to the shop ...!

Swearing Mother said...

Wouldn't know, Belle,I only ever shop at Lidl. Kidding. Obviously.

The Ex said...

God! You've said it so well. Life is entirely too short to stuff mushrooms. Or for that matter EAT mushrooms.

Marla Fauchier Baltes said...

That is too cool. Well deserved too! Everyone should do that at least a few times a year. When I was a kid my parents allowed us one "flunk day" per year where for no reason at all we could take the day off from school. I loved that!

sally in norfolk said...

I find this hard to do even when I am really sick.... there i was at work today full of a cold coughing everywhere...one day i will learn !!

Swearing Mother said...

Hello to the EX: Thanks very much for calling in! Glad you agree re mushroom stuffing, and that it's not just me who thinks that. Lovely to read you.

Maria, your parents were SO clever to do that, my kids used to beg nearly every day to be allowed to play hooky. If I'd only thought of allowing them just the one day per year, maybe they would have been more selective.

Sally, are you some sort of hero or what? It is your DUTY to stay at home when sick, tell yourself you could be spreading your germs round the whole office. You owe it to your workmates to snuggle up under your duvet with a warm lemon drink and watch daytime TV. Honestly.