Lifestyle & Culture

What to Do on Leap Day?

February 28, 2016

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THIS IS YOUR EXTRA DAY, a gift-with-purchase, if you will. If you live the average 85 years (oh, that Social Security Life Expectancy Calculator is a bunch of laughs), you’ll get no more than 21 or 22 of these. So let’s consider what to do with this February 29th.

LittleBird Janet says maybe it’s a day to make nice with Republican friends. Or Democratic ones. I’m not sure, but I know it should be special.

Give the dog an extra walk? Nah.

Finally at least look at the cartoons in those New Yorkers stacked over there in the corner?

Keep to your diet, for once? Start a diet with a day of respect for your avoirdupois?

Going in the opposite direction, LeapYear1webKrispy Kreme Doughnuts is offering us an extra dozen of the original dangerously glazed delights for $2.29 when we buy a dozen doughnuts of any variety—but only on Monday, February 29.

Urban Outfitters has been offering items for $29 or less in the runup to this special day.

Legal Sea FoodsLeapYear2web is offering a two-fer at its restaurants (not the airport locations, though), with its “An Extra Day, An Extra Lobster” promotion. So that’s two one-pound steamed lobsters and a choice of two side dishes for $29, essentially half-price. The chain is expecting a run on its large marine crustaceans and urges lobster lovers to make reservations fast.

Writing on, senior columnist Chuck Jaffe wants us to take care of long-term financial chores . . . and he means chores! Having spent a good part of the weekend wrestling with my 1099s and K-1s, I say . . . ugh. (No offense, Chuck: I know you’re right.)

I don’t know what I will do with the day, but my friends certainly had some ideas.

Alison offered this tale:

“Lately, every day feels like an extra day. Though we talk often, it’s been years since I’ve seen my sister, who doesn’t want to be seen—by me or anybody else. I finally said screw that, booked a flight next month, called her and said, ‘Ready or not, here I come.’ She seems nearly happy, almost relieved. That’s my extra day (except it’s going to last a week, so I guess I’m taking the last third of my lifetime allotment).”
One her “bonus day,” Mary Lou would “go through 60-plus years of family photos and decide what merits scanning and keeping (though that is definitely MORE than a one-day task, which is why I never seem to get to it).”
One thing she wouldn’t do: floss!
While Leslie has a hard time seeing Leap Day as a gift for anyone but our employers, who get an extra day’s work out of us, she nonetheless came up with possible scenarios—a trip to New York for a show, or showing up at a friend’s workplace and kidnapping them for a day to play hooky (“a fancy lunch over lots of wine?”).
“Whatever I did,” she continued, “I’d try to unplug—turn off the TV, smart phone, laptop, desktop, iPad, and turn away from all print media, too. A respite from the presidential campaign circus would be oh so nice!”
Jacqui’s and Judy’s fantasy plans were quite detailed.
Jacqui: “I’d get an early morning flight out to San Francisco, where my 23-year-old son works as a software engineer. I would get a late breakfast of grits and cheese at the Cowgirl Creamery in the Ferry building before walking up the Filbert Street steps to Coit Tower to catch the view of the Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. Then I would walk miles and miles around the rest of San Francisco, before ending up on Market Street where my son works. We would have dinner at one of the organic, treat-the-cows-kindly burger joints downtown that he loves and enjoy a skim latte at the best coffee place in the country—Sightglass Coffee on 7th Street. Then I would catch the red eye back to D.C. and arrive at my job suitably exhausted but happy.”
Judy offered: “I would hope for good weather, go for a long walk along the canal, a 4 o’clock movie, a simple dinner NOT COOKED BY ME,  and a second movie at 8.  If I had more time, I would get on the train to Philadelphia, go to the Philadelphia Art Museum, see the exhibition on King Midas, go to early dinner at Osteria, read on the quiet car home.”

Ginny’s heartfelt answer suggests that she feels she has already had an extra day, many in fact:  “I’ve had two nights this century when the next day was in doubt. Found myself at prayer-said peace, woke up at dawn, knew I had improved. Spoke to family and a couple of friends, sought company from those ranks for days afterward.”

She hastened to add that she was not in much pain at the time and could still breathe (with oxygen). “An increase in the former and decrease in the latter might have changed the whole picture…”

At any rate, it’s your day (and ours): Make something special of it.

—Nancy McKeon


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