About six months out of college, I discovered what it meant to “live for the weekend.” I’d just started as an administrative assistant for an extremely small international accounting recruitment firm. This start-up company seemed to think it needed an administrative assistant. In reality, it did not. And since I was the one getting a paycheck out of the illusion, I wasn’t about to let them in on this little secret.
Every day, I spent 45 minutes commuting to a two-person office that they’d managed to cram three desks into. I was in a city far, far away from my friends and family and while the glamour of it all was enough to buoy me along for a while, eight hours with nothing to do each day was still a very long time. In those early days of Facebook, there simply wasn’t eight hours of Internet surfing to do every day as I waited for the phone to ring or my coworker to find some new task for me that would take all of 10 minutes to do.
So I spent my days in the stuffy office planning my weekends. The week became something to be conquered; the weekend something to savor. If I could make it through the week thinking of things to search on Wikipedia, I was rewarded with museums, movies, hikes, and other adventures for two whole days come Saturday and Sunday.
But I haven’t worked a conventional 9 to 5, Monday through Friday job for two and a half years. My two back-to-back days off come smack dab in the middle of everyone else’s work week and those days off are often consumed by side projects like this here writing gig. While my schedule makes perfect sense to most people in this community where seasonal and hospitality jobs reign supreme, I have a harder time explaining myself to farther flung friends. The weekend warrior I once was is a thing of the past, although it is necessary for me to put up a fight if I want a Saturday and Sunday off during the summer season.
As a result, I am not only the friend who moved back to her hometown, then took a left at the woods and kept going, I’m also the friend who is constantly sending her regrets. I say no to bachelorette parties, showers, and casual get-togethers. I am the girl who has to explain why it will be a minor miracle if I make it to a holiday weekend wedding, let alone be a bridesmaid. The weekend everyone else is savoring is just the middle of the week to me.
When a friend asked me commit to being a bridesmaid 10 months in advance of her Labor Day wedding, I balked. I had no idea how it would work for me to be gone for at least three days over one of the busiest weekends of the year. But when I pleaded the bride’s unreasonableness, another friend took the bride’s side. It probably would be helpful for the bride to have her wedding party figured out. Turns out she wasn’t being a stick in the mud: I was.
And if I’m the stick in the mud, it seems I’m destined to wallow in the muck for a while. I don’t see a return of breezy weekends in my future. As a sole employee, I have major problems finding alternative staffing for weekends and will continue to have trouble until I get a coworker or another job. Even when I do finagle a weekend away, I often feel the weekends are exhausting, half-realized events. When it takes a good chunk of the day to get anywhere off the North Shore, the weekend jaunts are fleeting at best.
Anymore, my friends and I share a mutual confusion about weekends. I can’t understand how they can possibly need my bridesmaid dress measurements 10 months in advance; they can’t understand why I can’t commit to a weekend 10 months in advance. The distance between us is apparent not only by the miles, but also our differing weekend cultures. We’ve started to speak different languages.
TGIF? What’s that?
Airdate: October 17, 2011
Photo courtesy of Michael Gil via Flickr.