When you are young and free and drunk, then weekends are just weekends. They are the time when you are not working. So that’s nice. But when you are grown-up and spread thin and sometimes feel as though you are fighting to keep your head above water, then weekends are not just weekends. Weekends become precious; resonant with the possibility of… less. Sure, sometimes they are scheduled and diarised and intricately plotted but, more and more often, they represent much needed space and time. Air. So when a weekend gets hijacked it can feel like a disaster and you can experience real grief for the weekend that could have been.
Let’s say a work email or text comes in at 7 on a Saturday morning – not just someone being an arsehole that you can stamp your feet and ignore, but something with a sense of urgency and purpose. Something worth worrying about and following up even though nothing can truly be done about it till 8:30am on Monday morning. And the more people looped in, the more people with sacrificial weekends burnt at the stake.
Perhaps a person or people come to stay. Not joyful additions but duty types. There they are. In all their leaden energy-sucking glory from Friday night till Sunday afternoon, vacuuming up your mental space and leaving you with nothing but a cold, limp fury.
Or a row will do it. Nothing epic, just a really niggly little contretemps. That robs you of your serenity all weekend because – and here lies the rub – because you let it. And then you hate yourself.
So weekends are precious and that preciousness can feel pressurised. Like almost everything else. Why is life so delicate, so nuanced, so easily shunted off balance? And don’t even get us started on the science of holidays…