“Oh Jesus,” said a friend of mine last Sunday, “Tomorrow I have to go to THAT place with THOSE people”.
Sundays are a bit shit. Like a teenager learning to play the guitar, it’s a sure thing that the arse-end of the weekend will be rather trying. Officially, it’s a school night and not as some silly article occasionally tries to convince us, the ‘new Friday’. Sunday will never be the new Friday. It’s a Sunday, when the haunting spectre of another god-awful week at work trembles heavily overhead, like a massive duvet about to smother you the very moment Satan chooses to guff into your mewling, terrified face.
I have approximately one thousand, one hundred and ninety-five of these Dutch Oven Sundays* to look forward to. The UK Government recently decreed that I must work until I am 67 years old before I can claim my pension. This is because we are all living longer. Well, I smoke fags and drink booze. How about you knock a few years off the retirement age for me, Mr. Government? In the States the retirement age is also 67, but you can retire at 62 with reduced benefits. Clearly I have no idea how the sums work out and even if it’s been considered in the UK, but is it worth a punt? Think of the thousands of Tesco customers, twenty years from now, whose lives would be immeasurably happier if they never had to witness my scowling, wrinkled face as I stand in the shop entrance, shivering from malnutrition and bile, to welcome them in. If not them, think of the kiddies. A mishandled shopping trolley can do a lot of damage.
Along with the threat of a Made-In-Hades suffocation special, and the fantasies about an unexpected bear attack on every annoying arsehole on the train the next morning, Sundays mean having to cope with that feeling deep inside that you initially think is a Sunday roast protest but is actually millions of tiny, beaver-like teeth viciously scraping your conscience as you realise you’ve still got that report to finish because you gaily, blithely, stupidly promised your colleague on Friday as you exited the building that you’d sort it over the weekend. You can’t be blamed for that. Hell, I’m so happy when I leave work at the end of the week that in my giddy, euphoric state I’d promise to blow a tramp in the street.
The trick here is remain in a state of elective mutism for at least half an hour before home time. Do that hands-free thing with your mobile phone that you so despise other people for, and nod a lot, like you’re on the phone to your Grandma and can’t get a word in edgeways. Hand signals will add some drama:
- Both palms up: ‘God, she does go on, silly Grandma!‘
- One hand held vertically in front of the chest: ‘Yep, hold on, I might be done in a bit’
- Tapping your watch: ‘She knows I’m off out tonight, what’s she like!’
- Hand waving in the air: ‘Yep, yep, almost done’
- Index finger pointing heavenwards: ‘It’s just a matter of time, she’s getting on a bit’.
Then scamper out that door quicker than Alec Baldwin can get thrown off a plane.
Happily, I haven’t needed to use that trick here yet. I actually like my Sundays in DC. I have the New York Times, the Smithsonian, quite a lot of sunshine, and a dishwasher. I don’t have the painful Monday morning commute to fear. And I have a whole slew of wingnut politicians to mock: my favourite new word of the week from The Campaign to Occupy Michele Bachman’s Brain is ‘meteorotic‘. I don’t know what it means but I like the sound of it. Frankly, I’m lucky to have a job. So many people don’t. Their Sundays are on a whole different level of shit.
And I have the wonderful city of DC to play in. This utterly magical time-lapse short film from @TheVoder says it far better than I could. Watch it in full screen.
*a Dutch oven is funny in the UK (Google it). You can buy them here in Macy’s. They’re non-stick too, which is helpful.