Take a break from fishing, waiting on tables, washing dishes, nursing, doctoring and fighting fires, and listen up, Betsteroids. According to an analysis by WalletHub, Alaskans are the hardest working people in the country. The study examined metrics like average workweek, percentage of households where no adults work, percentage of workers who don’t take all their vacation time, commute time and other factors. We work the longest average number of hours in a week — 42 — compared to Utah, the lowest at 37. We also have the lowest employment rate and the lowest average leisure time spent per day.
Quel surprise, eh?
As they say on the Spit, “You can sleep in the winter.” When we work, we work, full-throttle, pedal to the metal. Like the volume control on a rock ‘n’ roll band, Alaskan workers have two positions, on and off. Maybe it’s the long daylight hours. Maybe it’s that for some of us we have to cram a whole year of work into one summer. Maybe it can be so hard to find a job sometimes that when you do get steady employment, you work that much harder.
When you live on the frontier and half your time gets spent fighting nature, slackerdom is not an option. Alaska Natives have an expression for this: “always getting ready.” You spend all summer fishing and growing gardens, spend the fall chopping firewood and putting up food, and then when spring rolls around you spend your time getting your gear together to do all those summer tasks. Meanwhile there’s shoveling snow, splitting firewood and keeping the wood stove going.
Well, to all you hard working Alaskans, Monday is your day. We don’t celebrate workers in May like people in those socialistic heckholes. Nope, we’re Americans, and we celebrate Labor Day the first Monday in September. On the Spit, that can mean popping champagne bottles as the tourist season comes to a close, although with the early holiday some will probably hang on until the last cruise ship docks.
Rejoice in your hard work. Honor the working stiffs who keep this town running. Take time to enjoy what looks like a fabulous sunny weekend, maybe with these Best Bets:
BEST IT’S A WRAP BET: Parents, you know you want to try this — wrapping your kids in plastic wrap and packing tape. Social workers frown at such extreme parenting, but for the sake of art, you can learn how to make life-size human-mold sculptures exactly this way in a Tape Sculpture Workshop with Sharlene Cline. The class runs 3:30-5:30 p.m. today at the Homer Council on the Arts. There’s a $50 fee; the class is for ages 10 and older.
BEST WELCOME TO THE HOOD BET: Here’s something worth celebrating: a scrappy little business takes a risk, buys an old building, spiffs it up and creates a permanent home in downtown Homer. That’s what Cycle Logical owners Derek and Catriona Reynolds have done with a vacant building at 302 East Pioneer Avenue. Join them for their formal grand opening with a ribbon cutting at 3:30 p.m. Friday followed by door prizes, soup and festivities.
BEST BIRD-BY-BIRD BET: Deep in darkest Cuba there are rumors that the rare ivory billed woodpecker might still exist. Who knows? But Cuba does have amazing biodiversity and some cool birds not seen on the mainland. Learn about the birds of Cuba when Cuban bird biologist Ernesto Reyes does a talk at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center.
BEST TOUGH AS TIMBERS BET: The venerable tradition of wooden boats thrives in Homer, and what better way to honor it than with the annual Kachemak Bay Wooden Boat Festival? The fest starts today with a talk on boating safety at 7 p.m. today at the Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center, continues at 7 p.m. Friday with sea chanteys, sea stories and poetry at the Salty Dawg, and goes 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon campground with boat displays, marine skills demonstrations and the kids boat building. Don’t miss the sing-along with Anchorage Celtic pub band Rogues and Wenches at 1:30 p.m. Saturday and at the big bash at 8 p.m. Sunday at Alice’s Champagne Palace.