There is a great debate that has been raging for years: does the week start on a Sunday or a Monday? The more traditional, it would seem, prefer to say that it is Sunday, God’s day, you begin in supplication at church and therefore you may end the week in Sabbath. The modern man (or woman) often thinks that the week begins with work, and therefore, the final day is in defiance of that normalized obligation of Monday to Friday, from the hours of nine to five.
Mondays, for me, are the beginning, not because I am defiant to work, but because I begin and end with my work. And technically, most Mondays for me start on Sunday night, because my day starts with Hong Kong, and at the hour of nine in the evening in New York, that is the beginning of the day in my Far East.
As we have sorted out that the week begins with Monday and there is the mad scramble in the office for recognition that there is a slog that must be gotten through, it is only on Tuesdays that we get productive. We hold our important meetings, we discuss our important budgets, and decide our important things.
On Tuesdays we all drink too much coffee, we reach for it one time too many, and remain jittery and anxious through the evenings, even as we sit across from each other with too much wine for a weekday and eat too much food and fling ourselves far too hard at the objects of affection.
If there is a definition for Tuesday it is “too much” – always too much, too hard, too high, too much, too much, too much.
If there were a camel, he would be braying “hump day.” But we are not camels and despite the aptly named hump day (for it is the middle, from the slow start of Monday, the rising too much of Tuesdays, and now we sit at the apex of the modern work week), very little actually gets done.
On Wednesdays, too tired from our upper/downer combinations, we debate the decisions of Tuesdays, reverse them, dither too long at the water cooler, and only in frantic desperation to make arbitrarily assigned “numbers” does the afternoon turn into a madcap volley of rush-rush-rush-get it done that rarely ever completes and never, ever matters.
Wednesdays suck. And nobody is humping by the end of them.
If it’s not thirsty, it’s not a Thursday, and that means if you are working late, you had better be headed to the bar after, and if you’re not working late, then you had better be in the bar for happy hour. I find Thursday the most amusing day of the office, the pretensions towards Protestant work ethic with the underlying seething towards Sodom and Gomorrhic debauchery. There is no place more ripped with conflicted tension than the standard, corporate office in a standard, high-class US city on a Thursday afternoon.
Bosses eye far-too young interns and first-years with barely hidden delight; admins plot mayhem via instant message; surprisingly, everyone always has their birthday on a Thursday!; and those who are in the know but not of it turn up their noses with the disdain of the desperately wanting but too starched to be included.
Bartenders ready their stock. They take their shipments, check off that everything is topped off, and gird their loins: the workers are coming and they will be thirsty, thirsty, thirsty sailors given a shore pass for only eight hours.
Why does anyone even show up? The bathrooms are clogged with the alcohol shits. The closets are a disarray of unlaundered jackets and hastily discarded heels. The chairs slowly rotate in recognition of hard hangovers and the air is dank with grime, sweat, and sticky-sweet toothpaste that can’t mask mouth-caught bile.
Oh. And there is work to be done. The repeat of Wednesday but with far less enthusiasm and far more understanding that the numbers won’t be met, the metrics won’t be captured, and everyone will leave at a reasonably late enough hour not to inspire the wrath from up high, but reasonably early enough that they can get home, nap, and enter into the weekend’s forgetful debauchery in hopes of pretending that they will not be doing this again come Monday.
And is that not the truth of Friday? That it is finally all over and we all must pretend that we don’t come back, that this is it, that we will find our true selves and callings over the weekend, and not be shackled, once again, on Monday to this unhappy life, to this bland desk, to this meaningless existence?
Is that not why we drink? Is that not why we flee? Is that not why we put up with an existence we hate?