Wide yawns and begging turning signals are shooting off across every lane going both directions. Cars are inching forward on exit ramps and ensnared on side roads. You crawl next to people for seconds or minutes and live with them at that moment. Future lung cancer patients blow carcinogens out of the window and send the ashes fluttering down to the concrete. Chatty damsels yap into their mounted iPhones while reapplying makeup in the sun visor, heading towards Happy Hour. Haggard family men defeatedly lean against driver side windows, preparing for their second full-time job as a parent. I sit idly, drinking the dregs of a bag of Smartfood White Cheddar Popcorn, masticating around the lyrics of some rap riddim while spitting kernels on my steering wheel. Everybody tows themselves off to someplace that’s only important to them, but we all share the same omnipresent alleviation.
“At least it’s Friday,” I told a co-worker hours earlier as she was finishing up blowing off stress in my ear.
Friday. A palpable sigh of relief. A day of celebration for making it through the week without murdering anyone. It’s the only day the office truly glows with warmth. My supervisor greets me with a “TGIF” and giddily asks me what I’m doing this weekend as if he hadn’t spent the previous four days blame shifting and taking credit for my work. I’ve only made it this far in the week by fantasizing about where I’d hide his body and watching the hour hand move like molasses, but I wish him a Happy Friday back and tell him I have no plans, which may or may not be true.
I knew I had two days to de-stress from whatever displeasures the previous week brought on. I knew I could sip on prosecco or chug Bud Ice’s until I passed out without the worries of nursing a hangover under buzzing fluorescents and glaring computer monitors. I could go to sleep without setting my alarm and wake up whenever my body deemed it necessary. I could hug my pillow tighter in the afternoon and check my social media feeds with no consciousness concerning time. I could call up some friends and commiserate with them over the soundtrack of bong rips, wondering how life deviated so far out of our control. There wasn’t anybody to answer to or demand anything of my time. For two days I had complete and total sovereignty of my life.
Until Monday morning, when I have to gear up to do the exact same shit all over again.
We’ve been trained every since preschool to treat this day as sacred. To spend five days complying with societies structure for two days of independence. To fake smile through it all. To pass agg with people we wouldn’t spend time with if we didn’t have to. To gain a sophisticated palate for conformity. This is considered freedom.
Of course, I could give up my portion of the pie. Everybody dreams of doing it. They think they can start up their own business or finish making that album if they were able to take a pause from the creativity-killing of the daily rat race. But change is a difficult thing to follow through on. It’s usually inflicted upon us instead. The daily grind sucks, but there’s security there. It means food, clean water, shelter, and comfort.
But comfort can also be the death of you. Comfort can be a cold, hard sarcophagus.
I’ll do a lot of bitching Monday through Friday but won’t do much on the weekend to change my situation. A week earlier, after a particularly stressful day, I was very close to saying, “fuck this shit. I’ma just drive for Uber and Lyft instead.” But looking at all the sad faces piled up in traffic—kicking in the front seat, sitting in the back seat—it seems to be about the worst idea I could’ve possibly thought up. When I finally get out of the exodus and off the exit towards home, the previous eight hours have already dissipated out of my mental and I’m already focused on the hot shower, cool pillow and modded Firestick that awaits me at home. I’m speeding through the neighborhood a little faster than usual and the music is up a few decibels louder. Various half-drunk bottles of water roll around on the passenger side floor and condensates in the cup holder. Spaghetti sauce-stained Tupperware sits shotgun. Life is pretty stale and uncreative at the moment, but at least it’s Friday. It isn’t payday Friday, but still, Friday nonetheless.
Fun, fun, fun, fun.