When we were young and free and drunk, weekends were just weekends. Back then, when we weren’t working, ‘lost weekends’ were gladly and gleefully given away. So that was nice. But now we are grown-up and spread thin, weekends are not just weekends. They are precious; resonant with the possibility of… less.
Sure, sometimes they are intricately plotted; sometimes they are packed with joyous frolics but, more and more often, they represent much needed space and time. Air. So when a weekend gets hijacked it feels like a disaster. An insult. And we experience real grief for the weekend that could have been.
Let’s say a work email or text comes in at 7am on a Saturday – not just someone being a jobsworth loon, but something with a genuine sense of urgency. Even though nothing can truly be done about it until 8.30am on Monday. The more people looped in, the more sacrificial weekends burnt at the stake.
Or perhaps people have come to stay for the weekend. Not joyful additions, but duty calls. There they are, in all their leaden energy-sucking glory from Friday night till Sunday afternoon, vacuuming up your mental space and leaving you with nothing but cold resentment. Or a row will do it. Nothing epic, just a niggly little contretemps that robs you of your serenity all weekend because – and here lies the rub – because you let it. And then you hate yourself.
Yes, weekends are precious, and that preciousness can feel pressurised. Why is life so delicate, so nuanced, so easily shunted off balance? (And don’t even get us started on the science of holidays…)
Everyone said that eyebrows frame your face so you thought you’d try a thread and tint. Except now you look like Groucho Marx in anaphylactic shock. Or maybe you had a lunchtime peel… Except you are still peeling and your nose has turned into a strawberry. Or was it just some subtle Botox, which has bruised the hell out of you and everyone will know. Darkened room time. All weekend.
It is not OK to be ill on your own time. Work time, yes. Other people’s time. Fine. But not your time. Special time. Sofa time. Sunshine walk and pub time. Flirting time. This is not right or just. Why couldn’t I have had strep throat for the offsite strategy day? Why me? Why now? Oh God... thrush.
Everything was fine all week. You were coping – content, even. But then, on Friday, you got triggered by something, anything, and you melted into your own personal emotional civil war, which got more and more violent and bloody until Sunday night when, shattered from secretly crying in the loo, you took a sleeping pill and woke up normal. So that was fun.
Restaurant booked, internet-bought dresses practically flying through the air towards your front door, mani-pedi-cut’n’colour scheduled. And then you get one of those texts. About your overdraft. Which puts every weekend plan on hold in favour of stale toast, cooking brandy and trying to eBay your stained old clothes…
Speaking of which, you can’t leave the house because you hate your clothes/body so much. But you must. But you can’t. So maybe you don’t. Or maybe you do but you feel squirmy and sad the whole time and avoid mirrors in lifts and bathrooms. Your bastard wardrobe has sucked the joy out of your weekend.
Summer fete with local fare for worthy cause? Damn and blast and hellfire and misery… Sign me up to (wo)man the tombola. I need all the karma I can get.
‘Cancel me, cancel me, cancel me harder!’ is your customary inner pant. And yet, oddly, you were properly looking forward to this thing. You had mentally rehearsed some anecdotes, so that people would say what marvellous form you were on. And suddenly, well, it’s off. And the cat is not so impressed by that hilarious tale about the Amazon man and the dustbuster. Perhaps you had to be there. The thing is, the cat was there.