The new hands-free driving law that went into effect in Massachusetts this past weekend seems to represent one of those things that perhaps we can all agree on: Distracted driving is bad for everyone. Sure, the maple syrup lines, the roadside egg stands and the beautiful country roads of the Berkshires are distracting enough, not to mention the large coyote taking a leisurely stroll onto the Mass Pike as I was getting off Exit 2 Friday night. But so many motor vehicle accidents are preventable, especially the kind that result from tweeting while trucking.
If you’re like me, you also find Leap Day somewhat distracting, but in a good way. Post-New Year’s Day, pre-Daylight Saving Time, Leap Day is always a unique opportunity to plan for some seriously overdue self care.
This was especially true for me in 2008 because the year before had been such an annus horribilis. Bad breakups do that. Fortunately, Leap Day fell on a Friday that year and lent itself to starting over, or at least ushering in a great weekend.
The Leap Year ball I threw for myself and a bunch of my dearest friends 12 years ago took place at a now-defunct seafood restaurant outside of Boston. My mom came, my future girlfriend was there, and lots of co-workers turned out for the festivities. By then, the aforementioned peeps had all performed way more emotional labor than any familial, professional, platonic or romantic relationship should ever require — period. I think they all came to take the proverbial leap with me — or throw me off a cliff. What mattered most was that I was taking care of myself.
And here, astute observers will recall, leap day was once known as “Ladies’ Day” or “Ladies Privilege,” when women would propose to men. Folklore traces this tradition back to ancient Scottish law or Irish legend. Being half Irish, I am here to pitch one small step to one small man.
That’s right: I’m proposing to the man whom Michelle Obama will not name that he plan “executive time” all day this Saturday — the whole 24 hours — without tweeting once. As in, he puts the phone down and stops typing at midnight Friday, giving us all a well-deserved and much-needed break on this Leap Day Saturday. Some of us will no doubt get to sleep in, while others might be able to go on a drug holiday from anti-anxiety meds. In addition to national and global security, the real winner will be the man who Michelle Obama will not name. The black hole of his gray matter will also catch a big cleansing break from its hypomanic state and compulsive baseline.
The current issue of New York Magazine is terrifying because the cover story imagines four more anni horribiles of the nameless guy’s “presidency.” All he really presides over is a Twitter feed. And this has obviously proven to be a great burden for the whole world.
Those of us who, long ago, gave up deciphering “covfefe” and cannot un-see the cry-for-help Rocky meme let loose last Thanksgiving when the “Commander-in-Tweets” traveled to Afghanistan; well, we are the drained majority. Truly, the swamp is flooded, but the majority of Americans are absolutely drained.
So please accept this very modest Leap Day proposal and give it a rest already. No tweeting for 24 hours. Maybe use Leap Day to complete the next portion of your “annual physical.” Or go to the gym. Or read a book. Or watch “Gone with the Wind” again. But no tweeting, no re-tweeting, just a one-day digital detox. As Melania would “say” about your tiny-handed, small-minded, micro-blogging blather, “I REALLY DON’T CARE DO U?”
Happy Leap Day, Individual 1.