Where’s My Union Rep?

Women corset workers on strike walk down the s...

Women corset workers on strike walk down the street wearing undergarments (Photo credit: Kheel Center, Cornell University)

I’m going to join the ladies in the photo above and go on strike. Mrs Fringe needs a day off! I’m also going to digress for a moment.

In looking for an old photo of women on strike, I noticed something interesting. The women are smiling in these photos. Not so in photos of men on strike. Why?  Is it so ingrained in women to smile and be polite, even when making a political statement and fighting for a living wage? Or did the photographers give women an alert and admonission, “Smile pretty for the camera!” that wasn’t offered to men? I can see it now, “Oh yeah, this is important, we’re gonna to a big story on you, front page. What’s that you say, your sister lost three fingers in the industrial sewing machine cause she worked 27 days in a row? C’mon girls, you have to smile, nobody’s gonna look at a photo of a bunch of sourpusses.” Then again, I have a vivid imagination, and my observation could mean nothing more than smiling women are the photos that caught my eye.

I like my coffee analogue, like my photography

I like my coffee analogue, like my photography (Photo credit: futurowoman)

But mostly, my imagination has been taking me back to my youth, when a day off meant a day of nothing. Not a day of less, but a day where I could stay in my pjs, lie in bed and read all day, my biggest energy expenditure when I got up to make coffee. It isn’t a mystery why I can’t do this anymore. I live in the city with two dogs, they need to be walked three times a day.  I have people, little and big, brought to life and brought into my life by choice, who depend on me for household supplies, clean laundry, meds, food, chaperoning, homework help, and a clean toilet.

Fatigue and I went out for Friday Night Madness this week. Due to life, we had missed the past few Fridays.  He has arranged his finances so he’ll be able to take a few months off from his day job, beginning next month. This will mean tightening his already tight budget to a stranglehold. But I get it; he’s going to rest, regroup, and use the time to work on his art.  I’m almost envious. Almost, because even my vivid imagination can’t quite imagine being in a position to do this.

One of the “tells” in writing as to whether or not a piece was written by a man or woman has to do with qualifiers. Women tend to write the way they speak; lots of almosts, quites, somewhats, sort-ofs, tend-tos,in-my-opinions. Many of us live that way, too.  Almost a day off, not quite a day off, somewhat of a day off, sort of keeping it a light day.

Sunday, not a day off, not a day of rest, but I’m going to try to keep this to a day of less. How about you? Do you get days that are truly off?

11 comments

  1. This past spring, the Empress was sick and/or in the hospital and/or on home bound schooling for ohhhh, 7mo out of the school yr and therefore I felt like I was on house arrest for about 7mo out of the school yr. One day vividly stands out in memory. I had 3 appointments and I was actually able to get rid of I mean pawn off I mean arrange for her to have other care from *8am till I got home…. and there was actually hope at least some children would be in bed by then.*

    The day.felt.glorious. The kicker? My first appt of the day was at 9am. I had to get the Empress up at 7:00 and be, of all places, at my obgyn for 9am. In a past life that would have been an AWFUL way to start my day. But 12 hrs of freedom in any form after months of kidskidskidskidsnochancetobreathe in any form was a wonderful “day off”.

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    1. Oh, do I relate to your description of that day. I have a dr’s appt tomorrow. I think the reason I didn’t cancel has more to do with time out of the immediate neighborhood to myself than any health concerns.

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  2. I’ve seen two types of approach nowadays to a strike. There are those that want you to sympathize with their cause/plight. And then there are those that really don’t care about winning you over, but want you good and pissed at the powers that be. Same basic objective of course, but there is a difference in approach.

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  3. You have been in my head again haven’t you? Looking through my fantasy section..My favorite is the one where Dan and I have a whole week to ourselves someplace glorious, like the Maldives or Venice It’s so good I can’t stand to dwell on it too long. But there are lots of lay ins, long breakfasts and strolling arm in arm. One day maybe, when we are old and just want to grunt at each other, and *not* in a good way.

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    1. LOL, too many of us have similar fantasies. Though honestly, at this point, I’m not fantasizing about time with Husband (sorry Husband, maybe I shouldn’t admit that), just time for me. 😀

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