There’s a light in the distance, you’re safe or so you think. You can just make out the villages of Saturday and Sunday in the distance as you emerge from the heavily wooded and dangerous Weekday Woods – but you’re not clear yet. You still have to make it through Friday.
We’ve all seen it in every horror film that just when our heroes believe they have made it Jason appears, Michael Myers sits up and Carrie grabs our legs – it ain’t over until the fat hand hits five. This is the final hurdle, you take your eye off the ball and think you can begin to wind down. Until the urgent email arrives or the phone call you least expect – something that does one of two things: stops you in your tracks and you have to power up your brain to get going again and you’ll probably have to meet everyone else in the pub nearer half past five because this HAS to be done for a client – or – the evil hobgoblin of work will now live in your brain all weekend.
The latter is worse of course because at least you can draw a line under the week. That message or call is usually something from your manager about a meeting or an appraisal or a complaint. I’m sure when these sadistic managers are promoted they are put on courses to ensure maximum impact on you as workers. The meeting or “chat” (even worse) will not be anything serious or problematic but it’s a power thing where they want you to be thinking about it all weekend and ruin your two days of relaxing – or spending with your family. The two are separate.
You spend Friday night worrying about anything you’ve said and done that week – what could it be that they want to talk to me about? You wake up on the Saturday and it has drifted from your mind until someone mentions work again and that’s you until you are back at work on Monday. Your weekend is ruined. Again.
Even if you escape the grasps of the Friday afternoon blip – there are still pitfalls. The boss that doesn’t let you leave even a minute early – even though they are probably already sitting at home with their feet up as they had a “meeting” at 3pm. The younger members of staff are only too keen to remind you of the pathetic sadness of your social life as they reel off all their upcoming adventures over the next three nights – that will be replayed in graphic detail for you on Monday morning even though you don’t know the people they’re talking about and after the stories never want to.
Then there’s the hobby person who has a busy weekend ahead with the dogs/horses/sports/groups that again you’ll hear about Monday. You sit there as they ask you what you’re up to. You could lie but then you’d have to construct a good story for Monday or be honest – “I’m not doing anything this weekend” or “Nothing Planned”. They look at you with a strange kind of pity as if you are the mad one who needs to get a life when sitting in a cosy house that you work all week to pay for, with the family you hardly see and catch up on the stories and TV you’ve missed. Is it me?
The clock that has haunted you since waking on Monday finally grinds to a halt as you leave the office and get into your car. Silence. No ticking interrupting the empty quiet around you. It’s the weekend. And a new clock begins ticking. The one that gets louder until you lift the duvet and get out of bed on Monday.