Sunday, June 5, 2016

Downhill Sunday

Poor Sunday. It’s a perfectly good day of the week. It has a sunrise and a sunset like all the others. It is one-half of your precious, precious weekend, yet it’s abused and misunderstood. You only remember this on a 3-day weekend when Sunday becomes the meat in a tasty, carefree holiday-weekend sandwich. On 3-dayers, the late afternoon sun does not taunt or remind you, “Your freedom is slipping away. You’re almost out of time, sucker.”


You can actually enjoy Sunday, even watch 60 Minutes without hearing the ticking stopwatch as a harbinger of workweek doom, filing your with the dread and terror Dorothy felt as she watched the hourglass countdown her life.


When did this start? Think about it. As an infant, you had no need for time, no hopes and dream for Sunday to smash. It was another day of eating, sleeping and filling your diaper. Peace. Then, along comes school. A new and baffling routine that is both exhilarating and exhausting. Rules are imposed and you meet, for the first time, your dark master -- The Clock. It tells you when and for how long: recess -- 10 minutes, lunch -- 30 minutes, the clock calls all the shots and is, in a way, the enforcer for Days.


As you grow older and find your rhythm, make friends, play tetherball, learn which days to buy lunch, the weekend has a distinct feel -- the haggard relief of Friday evening, the buoyant, celebratory arm-swinging freedom of Saturday, then Sunday.  Mornings are OK, there’s still reason to believe, the trust. Then you learn to recognize the quality of light that only a Sunday afternoon can deliver. It’s light tinged with sorrow and discarded party hats, of fatigue and an empty room once occupied by cheerful people. You resist at first, rightly so, struggle against the ties that are cinching even tighter. Night falls and you’d better think about bed, you’d better think about what you’ll wear tomorrow, you’d better set your alarm. The Clock has spoken. It’s over. The plush, luxurious hours of the weekend are gone.


But don’t worry, child, don’t you worry. You’ll have another 50 years to get used to it, if you’re lucky.