Sunday, 10 August 2014

Tell me why I don't like Sundays

It's Sunday. It's coming up to the Long Dark Teatime of the Soul and I have that familiar feeling. A rock in my stomach. A lump of black in my throat. It's there most of the time, to be fair, but on Sundays it seems to really dig in and let me know how ennui really feels.

A lump of existential despair? Or a throwback to my childhood (as much seems to be) when Sundays really were the dreariest day of the year. A constant conundrum, a dichotomy for kids. You're not at school, ergo it should be a Good Day. But nothing is open past midday. No shops, no cinemas, nothing. And the only shops open up until midday are the tiny newsagents staffed exclusively by grumpy old men who don't like kids.

You can't go anywhere on your own because you're seven. The only thing on TV is Match of the Day, after which you know the worst thing of all will happen. With inevitable monotony. Tea at Grandma's.

This probably sounds idyllic to kids these days. And having spent the last week witnessing how my ma treats my nephew like a living God on earth, I can see why. Apparently in 2014, Grandma means everything and anything you want 24 hours a day. Want to go swimming every day? Boom. Done. Want to go to every attraction within the nearest 30 miles? Boom. Done. Want to eat cake every day. You got it buster. It was lovely to see and my nephew is a lovely boy but back in the 80s - or at least back in my 80s - Grandma meant a nasty old woman who never spoke to us kids, unless it was to say something mean. A woman who was a manipulative old control freak who never helped my parents out, even when both of them were seriously ill. I only ever knew one Grandma,as the other died before I was born, so I genuinely find the whole concept of adorable old woman who's nice difficult to grasp.

And I think she is to blame for the feeling of nausea and dread that I typically experience on a Sunday. I mean, of course she's not, lots of other things are wrapped up in this. But the strongest memories I have of Sunday afternoons was sitting in her overheated hellhole of a bungalow, with the TV blasting out Supergran followed by Bullseye followed by Last of the Summer Wine. Three programmes destined to strike existential despair into the heart of any sentient being, I feel.

Fast forward to Sundays 2014. Specifically this one. I'm alone for the first time in weeks, which is a Good Thing. Shops are open. I don't often want to go shopping on a Sunday but I do like to know that I could if I want to.

As an aside, I recently found out why shops were shut on Sundays in Britain, even though it's mostly a secular country. No one I knew when I was kid went to church or gave a shit about the 'Sabbath' but none of us could go shopping. Why? Because of some dickhead law passed in 1950 and subsequent lobbying by small groups to keep the Sabbath sacred. I mean, what? It actually meant that, before 1994 in England, you could buy porn (mags on the top shelf of the tiny newsagents that were allowed to open) but couldn't buy a Bible (large shops including bookshops weren't allowed to open). Ahhh, the idiosyncrasies of being English. Annnnyway, now they're open for a whole six hours if they're over a certain size. What kind of nonsense is this shit? It's almost like people are using religion to control shit that has NOTHING TO DO WITH RELIGION.

So, I'm alone. I get to do what I want. I don't have to go visiting, I don't have to watch anything, I can write and read and spread my lethargy from room to room. All I have to do is go to work later and serve beer and chips to poshos incapable of saying thank you (by the way, if you tip waiting or bar staff in the UK with Euros you're a solid gold asshole). So why do I feel like I have an exam in the morning?

Years and decades of pre Monday dread have made me into this Sunday loathing person. In the back of my mind, I feel like someone is going to make me go to school tomorrow. I hated school. Hated it. I mostly hated the routine. I had the shock of my life when I realised that adults were expecting me to do this - go to the same building and sit with the same people - every SINGLE day for the next 15 years.

And then I left school and realised that I was expected to then go to an office for 10 hours a day every single day for the REST OF MY LIFE. No way, man. Fuck that shit I said. And so I machinated my life into working from home. Working for myself. True, I probably do more hours than I used to in corporate land, but hell, at least I'm free. Kind of. Sort of.

It seems that, no matter where I go and what I do, the shadow of an 80s Sunday will forever hang over my head. A cloud of grey monotony that not even Morrissey could adequately put into words. A day of anxiety for the week ahead mixed with the pressure to relax and enjoy because it's Sunday. Basically, The Bangles and The Boomtown Rats were wrong.

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