The Weekly Two-Day Holiday

Embarking on a new working week seems a bit like entering a railway tunnel. Some weeks you are digging that tunnel, and other weeks you seem to be on a very swift steam train, spewing coarse, granular smoke into the tight, narrow space, obscuring the light at the other end, but still conveying a feeling of rushing movement. Whichever it is, trudging on foot, miner’s lamp in one hand and pick in the other, or sitting in First Class doing the Times crossword, hoping the freshly waxed moustache looks as spiffing as it did in the bathroom mirror that morning and admiring the handiwork of then new servant James, who made one’s boots gleam, does not matter – we are all headed to the promised land: the weekend. (To those who work on the weekend, I’m sorry.)

The weekend is a place for plans and dreams. If a person were to soberly write down all the ideas that had passed through their head only to be met with: “I can do that on the weekend”, and counted up all these tasks and calculated the times involved to do them, then some weekends would need to be about eight days long to get all these things done.

But it is a refuge: something to allow one’s mind to alight upon when all else is desolation. You look around and see an office full of people with their own styles of life and their own take on any given circumstance, and it is tempting to think that they are all the mindless people who actually like being occupied in these pointless administrative ways, because they have inferior imaginations and no goals, while you – you – are the only one who wants out. This is, of course, crap. Once, when a week or two’s leave was coming up for me, I reminded the office I would not be around with an email. I got a reply back from a colleague I didn’t even know so well at the time. He wished me well and implied that life was an empty shell for him but it was a good thing to think of someone else having a pleasant few days outside the cage. I tried to be soothing with my reply. He wrote back that he felt like jumping out the window, but wondered if anyone would notice. This was sad. I felt sorry for him. And it also drove home the point that everyone is unfulfilled. And that also means that everyone wants out, come the end of the day on Friday, to do whatever it is they find sustaining.

So weekends are a site where our minds are playful and creative. But do we do these things? Not really. Hardly ever, it seems. This weekend I intended to fill in a form, answer a questionnaire for a mate, polish and clean my boots, cut my fingernails, read some mail, parts of which are over a month old, write more, sleep more, and go to the art gallery. Now an exhibition I didn’t get to see is over. I’m not really sure what I did. Laetitia (with only minimal input from me) planted out the veggie gardens again, and the dogs proceeded to vandalise one of them when we left the house for about an hour. So that wasn’t the best result. Are weekends meant to tempt but never deliver? I don’t know. But mine seem to be unfulfilled or even frustrating more often than not. At least – and this is a big point – I’m not at work. Your time, even if squandered, is your time.

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Published in: on May 3, 2010 at 7:38 pm  Leave a Comment  
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