I turn sour around 2pm on Sundays. Bickering and moping around the house, I make note of the week’s leftovers. Stale chores, rotting goals, and long forgotten plans. I berate myself for not using my time more wisely and then spend the last remaining hours of sunlight in the fetal position scrolling through Instagram and Pinterest. We resort to our most primal defenses when confronted with horrors of reality. Namely, the work week. Blissfully lost in social media influencer’s worlds of Saturdays and Sundays, I eat halfhearted supper, squabble a little bit more, and then put myself to bed. This affliction is known as the Sunday blues.
Humans are narrative creatures. We force our messy lives into tiny narrative arcs to creative structure and meaning. In fire-lit caves our ancestors created story and left us with the themes that would shape our lives. Carved into stone walls, we tell ourselves the same stories over and over. Like children, we’re comforted by knowing what will happen next. After all, it’s easier to play the part if you know the lines.
The weekly refrain of man versus time has dominated my days, weeks, years. Fifty-two sour Sundays. Time lost while mourning the earth’s orbit of the sun. At work I keep my eye on the clock to ensure that time is moving forward at a brisk pace towards the most perfect time, 5pm. At 5:01 everything flips, the hourglass spins and suddenly I can’t hold on to a minute let alone an hour. It’s rushing through my fingers and try as I might to pick out an individual grain of sand I cannot. It’s all moving too fast.
It’s a constant push and pull with a lover that doesn’t even know that I exist.
I’ve always been this way. As a teenager I spent my Sunday evenings with Mulder and Scully. Aliens made of black oil did their best to distract me of the upcoming week and a little thing known as High School. Still, I watched with one eye on the TV and the other on the VCR watching the wrong time tick down minute by minute. The flourish of the The Thirteen Production logo heralded the end of Sunday and the beginning of Monday. The end of the weekend and I wasn’t even paying attention to who killed who. Too lost in the past or future to find myself in the present.
I’m not sure what purpose this narrative serves. Except to create a fallacy of control and immortality but, still. Rudimentary logic would seem to indicate the reason to fixate so wholly on MY time would be to cherish it. To relish it. Instead I’m paralyzed by it. I can do anything and yet I can’t do anything. So here I am, sitting in my house staring at other peoples lives on the internet. Lusting over other people’s capacity to make decisions and be content in a world where they’re unable to control time. Other people’s ability cope with the Sunday blues.
All I know is I’m wasting time and it has to stop.
I’ve been going to the beach on Sundays. Trying to make the decision of what to do by giving myself very little to do. I still feel as though these minutes and hours matter more than the rest of the week but I’m trying to give them less power. Less control. On our way out to the beach I go to pick up bagels and accidentally cut the line and have to deal with everyone’s side-eyes. The man next to me grumbles in Spanish something disparaging towards my character. I do my best to stay in the moment. Not get lost in the future or the past. In the moment when I’ve pissed everyone off because it’s Sunday and everyone is in a rush, because everyone is always in a rush, because everyone is just like me. Ready to rush past their whole life so that they don’t miss the next train.
At the beach time is both ever present and nonexistent. Our umbrella is a sundial, constantly being repositioned to protect my ears from getting burnt. The tide rolls in and out, the only job it’s ever known. Some waves are bigger, some are smaller- but they don’t stop. They don’t quit. I’m told that the waves still crash against the shore even on Tuesday afternoons. I swim out till there’s no one in front of me and the entire city of New York at my back. The light is bright and unforgiving and the waves initially far in the distance all make their way to greet me. I can barely grasp the sand with my toes as I bob up and down. I touch the sand for a moment but then it’s gone. Nothing has changed, but there’s still time for me.