17 Jul DIY Holidays
First published in the NZ Woman’s Weekly 19.7.21
With few options for nipping off to sunnier climes in these Covid Times, we’re using our travel money for things closer to home. People who track consumer spending say we’re out there snapping up new appliances and remodelling our bathrooms instead.
Which is all well and good, but that new washer/dryer combo isn’t going to make you feel like you’ve spent a week drinking cocktails by a pool, and there’s only so many times you can put photos of your matching kettle and toaster on Facebook.
So if you are missing your annual winter getaway to somewhere sunny, I may have come up with a sparkling idea for a DIY holiday. It’s all a bit Number 8 Wire, but we’ve always been the kind of folk who admire just giving something a go.
I suggest that, if we can’t take a tropical holiday, we take our tropical holiday attitude to the office. Not just the attitude, but also the apparel. I dare you to turn up at the office this week in togs and a sarong and ask workmates to smear your back with sunscreen at regular intervals. Of course, you will need to have a chat with HR or whoever is in charge of the thermostat before you take your puffer jacket off, so a touch of forward planning will be required.
Then get your whole team in on the “day at the beach” mood by setting up two lifesaving flags and then insist people work between them. Any colleagues who remain outside the flags can be rescued with an inner tube and have CPR performed on them. Keep HR in the loop by phoning them at regular intervals to ask them what the UV index is on your floor today and when it will be high tide.
If that’s all a bit giddy for your workplace, you can keep it on the downlow. Whip off your shoes, roll up your pants and place a container of sand under your desk. Or, if you’re the kind of person who prefers to “go bush”, then “take bush” to the office. Dress for the walking track and carry scroggin at all times. Engage people in conversation about their pot plants. “Is this a native? When does it bloom? Can you eat these?” Climb on top of your desk and take panoramic photos of the remarkable office vista.
Or go exotic and pretend you’re in Nouvelle Caledonie – communicate with co-workers using only a French phrasebook. Call up Accounts and ask to have your wages deposited in Euros. Then later in the week, pretend you’re on a stop-over in Bali and barter with colleagues for the stuff in their workspace. “I’ll give you 40 baht for that chair. Okay, 45 if you throw in the pants. And how much for the family photos?”
And then bring it all back home near the end of the week with a Kiwi barbie. Wear a novelty apron and shout stuff like, “Hey Bob, how do you like ‘em?” while flipping sausages and chops on the fancy gas burner you bought with the money you didn’t spend on going away. I’m not sure this is “the best of both worlds” but it’s worth a shot when the world is shut. Besides, we’ve never wanted to build our own version of Disneyland – we’re pretty sweet with an annual A&P show featuring wood chopping and a tiny train – so I think this might work for us.