22 January, 2006

Sunday Sunday

It's the footnote of the week - always has been, always will be.

How you feel on a Sunday is entirely determined by how you feel towards what is waiting for you on a Monday. Forever in the shadow of its successor, the day becomes either an exercise in stretching time, eking out the last few precious hours of the weekend for as long as possible, or an all-too drawn out prelude to the main act lurking the other side of the curtain.

I don't think I've ever perceived a Sunday purely on its own terms. I've always approached the day in one of the two states just described, never once taking it on face value. These dual sensations intensify as the day wears on and night approaches, when all possible thoughts cannot help but turn to the unprepossessing obligations and routines a few hours away. As long as Mondays retain their status as a resumption of begrudging rituals, Sundays will always be shaded in grey. Fact.

It's indoctrinated into you at the earliest possible age, when you're conditioned to equate Sundays with bathtimes and "getting to bed early". Next comes the dreaded neverending association between Sunday nights and frantic last minute homework. From there it's either a variation on this courtesy of last minute coursework/revision for a degree, or the last few hours of freedom before the renewed call of the world of work.

Such is its power, though, that even during those periods when I wasn't studying or working, Sundays were still the bleakest day of the week. I could never shake off the legacy of so many nights before the morning after. When I shared a house Sundays were the nadir of the week, with everybody else refusing to get out of bed until early afternoon and time getting stuck somewhere in the middle of, to coin a phrase, the long dark teatime of the soul. Matters hadn't been helped by the previous year I spent in a hall of residence, when breakfast wasn't even served until 10.30am and lunch was missed out altogether. The silence about the place was deafening.

Of course if I did shiftwork or was employed from, say, a Wednesday-Sunday, I'm guessing all the basis for the above would change. Albeit shifting the malaise of a Sunday night to a Tuesday. Still, at least I'd be on my own, and wouldn't be sharing those sensations with the bulk of the rest of the country.

More recently I've tried to introduce structure and order into this otherwise featureless landscape, be it through housework, shopping, setting myself a piece of writing to do, or going out for a long walk somewhere. I've also established a new regular ritual to rival those that kick in on a Monday morning. Every Sunday evening I cook a proper meal, from scratch, taking around an hour or so to work up something that will not only restore some dignity to the weekend but will be large enough to supply food for a couple of nights. It's nothing special - a risotto, a curry, that sort of thing - and often stinks the place out, but it exercises a different part of the brain. And further distracts me from a lifetime's ill-disposition towards blue Mondays.


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