Today is Monday. That used to mean something (like mainlining caffeine and cursing the weekend for ending). You know, before we were mandated to stay inside to stave off the spread of a global virus, avoid coworkers out of survival instead of irritation, and time was a concept we acknowledged. But now, for many people, the day is just another 24 hours of refusing to put on pants, scrolling aimlessly, and snacking relentlessly — hours that make up the droning days, weeks, and potential months of our new reality.
Monday used to bring with it a sense of dread and bring out the worst in morning people — there’s nothing more infuriating than a peppy person during a Monday morning meeting, amirite? It also holds the hefty weight of the responsibilities of the coming work or school week. Monday is like being hit in the face with a task you’ve been procrastinating tackling — if the task was sweeping shit off the floor, Monday was the broom.
The biggest lie I would tell myself pre-COVID-19 (other than that I sound like Beyoncé in the shower) was that I was going to be productive on weekends. By Sunday, when all I’d done was watch TV, avoid adulting, and decompress from the previous week with alcohol and carbs, the pit of disappointment and despair in my stomach would be as inevitable as the fact that the next day would be Monday. Again. This feeling is known as the “Sunday Scaries” (a name too cute for what it means, in my opinion). Then, the angst of the pending doom would always give way to the “Monday Blues” (a more apt title).
The biggest lie I would tell myself pre-COVID-19 (other than that I sound like Beyoncé in the shower) was that I was going to be productive on weekends.
These two terms are as ubiquitous in modern-day capitalism as “overtime hours” and “millennial burnout.” Monday is universally hated. Unless you’re one of those perky influencers who posts inspiring memes like, “New Monday, New Week, New Goals,” you dislike Monday as much as the rest of us, no matter how much you like your job. Now that nobody can tell Monday from Thursday (can you scroll through your Twitter feed without someone making a joke about not knowing what day it is?), the Monday Blues have extended into the everyday blues and the anxiety of Sundays has nestled its way into our daily non-routines, it’s impossible for Monday to be the worst day of the week anymore.
So, if Monday isn’t the dreaded worst day of the week, what is? I make the case for Wednesday, which as “Hump Day” used to signal a midpoint of our week — the day that got us further from Monday and closer to the weekend — but is now just another indicator of how long and monotonous our weeks are. Last Wednesday hit me with surprise. “It’s ONLY WEDNESDAY?” I yelled at my dog. He looked at me like, “Bitch, yes, just like it was last week!” Sure, you could argue that Wednesday was always a rough day of the week. It’s never had the after-work drinks allure of Thursday or the party appeal of Friday. But Wednesday’s entire purpose — to get us over a hump — has now been rendered obsolete. Without weekends, why is Wednesday?
During my hourly (minute-ly?) scroll through social media, I will inevitable come across the meme from Netflix’s Russian Doll that questions the very idea of Thursday:
— thursday! what a concept! (@thursaconcept) April 2, 2020
People are relating more than ever to Natasha Lyonne’s Nadia, a woman who is reliving her 36thbirthday party (also the night she died) repeatedly like it’s Groundhog Day, since we’re all basically living in our very own Russian Doll. If we had to be living in a TV show, couldn’t it least be the small town utopia of Schitt’s Creek or the actual Good Place on The Good Place.
As Emily Todd VanDerWerff noted for Vox in a piece called, “What day is it today?” we know that the days are changing because of the rise and fall of the sun, of course, but without our regular routines and regimented schedules, “To live inside is to lose distinction.”
And to “lose distinction” is to lose our sense of duty and of self. It’s also a signal of privilege. Some of us still working flexible hours are fortunate to have jobs, but we’re also lucky to be able to laze around unable to distinguish the days of the week. For the healthcare workers and those at work providing an essential service, their hours are most likely more intense than they’ve ever been. Days off have always been a luxury.
VanDerWerff writes, “Isn’t this how so many of the less privileged around the world, forced to work jobs involving menial labour, day after day after day, already live? Isn’t this why we invented the weekend? Has this quarantine simply shown to those of us with more economic privilege that our ‘free time’ was always a mirage, which could disappear before our eyes, by giving us so much ‘free’ time?”
If thinking too hard about the days of the week just gave you a headache, welcome to my brain. If that’s the most thinking you’ve done for weeks, welcome to social isolation.
Experts say keeping a schedule is a good idea during this time, and that noting the days of the week while working from home can actually help with productivity. But the people telling you to be productive right now are just as annoying as those inspiring meme influencers, so I won’t pressure you to write a novel or learn a new language. I’ll just say that putting up a calendar in your house is probably a good idea for your mental health and to try to create a sense of normalcy during a time that is anything but normal.
I also recommend keeping a regular TV schedule, like it’s the old-school days of “Must-See Thursdays” on NBC or “TGIF” on ABC, by watching the same show on certain nights of the week. And on weekends, try to still “go out” if that’s what you would normally do by catching a DJ DNice IG live set, checking out a virtual party, or hopping on Zoom with a bunch of your friends. The good news about all of these weekend plans? Pants are optional.
When Monday comes around, you might start hating it again, just like the good old days. What a concept.
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