This is weird – an “essay” I wrote in 1991. Not sure what the heck I was talking about – let’s let it live here.
Ever hear the famous riddle about the creature with four legs in the morning, two legs in the afternoon, and three legs in the evening? Of course the answer is Man, in the sense of mankind. The metaphor invites you to see why a lifetime can be looked at as a day. There are things you go through in a day whose proportion is merely enlarged, not shifted.
Cycles suggest repetition, a sense of history, and while I don’t believe in living in the past, I like to recognize how I think, and the cycles that make sense for me and for others. Primitive societies have the day, the month, the year, and remarkably, the week, and sometimes versions of hours and minutes. The week seems the most unlikely – it can’t be astronomically or astrologically justified – and yet it is immutable. Ten day work weeks and five day ones have been tried, and have failed miserably in the critical area of people’s consciousness. We see seven-day weeks in everything from the Old Testament to aboriginal tribes.
Today I celebrate the week, because its inexplicability makes me think that it must be pretty strong in my mind to sustain itself so handily. The week has additional meaning because it ought to have none. Weeks are the cycles we really want. Everything is a week, in our minds.
The year is the greatest week – oh, sure, it has 52 of them, but watching the seasons transpire, it’s fun to bring in the week. The time from late February to the full spring solstice is very Thursdayesque: hope is coming, things are serious but freedom is getting closer, it’s cold but warming. Thursdays come in like lions and go out like lambs.
Fridays are from Easter to about the end of May, and they are feeling people’s wonderful times. They are our favorite times. We are all essentially Friday people (look at your Day in the Life of America) and we are for the same reasons April and May people. We reinvent our dreams on Fridays, and in April and May. Fridays are warm (not hot) and romantic and painted in spring colors.
Saturday is not Friday, but it doesn’t matter: it’s Saturday. On Saturday morning nothing has to matter. Saturday wakes up on Memorial Day and finds its way to the Fourth of July. Saturdays are easy and free. June is no time for responsibility’s burdens. Party Saturday style. It’s hot and school is out and life is free. It’s a good day for “Porgy and Bess,” or even “The Breakfast Club.” Hot and fantastic and free.
Sunday is the next day, lasting from July to Labor Day, and while it shares the freedom of Saturday, it tends to be more reflective. Party, but take stock. The late summer is the best time to ask yourself certain questions. Sunday is sometimes thought of as the “first” day of the week (or the last) and that’s because as holy as it is it remains uninhibited. Sunday, like August, brings curious reflections after its free actions. Sunday is hot as hell, but it ends on a cool note.
Monday, not unexpectedly, is back to work, back to school, back to the grind, just like September. I can see the autumn leaves fall on Monday; it lasts ’til the Halloween night. Mondays are not popular but are given their due. We’ve all got to be responsible, and Mondays and autumns sonatas are for that feeling. Mondays have their good points. They are the true “first” days of weeks – they are beginnings christened official by their workloads. Sometimes Mondays carry a weekend feeling, like autumn still being hot, but it fades in its way.
Tuesdays are interesting. They don’t really fall into any category – if they were all dwarves, Tuesday would be Bashful, the day we always forget. Yet Tuesday knows its own form of celebrity. Likewise, its season – from All Souls Day to New Year’s – does not outwardly make a spectacle of itself, and instead we’ve infused it with celebratory days. This will sound weird, but Christmas is a very Tuesday-y holiday. It’s a time to be responsible but a time to care. Tuesday brings out the best in all of us; it’s so faceless that it wears our face, the face of ordinary people falling into extraordinary situations. Tuesday is cold, and simple, but we know how to warm each other. Still, every day of the year could no more be Tuesday than it could be Christmas.
The New Year begins on a Wednesday sort of note: like, let’s get back to it. Wednesday makes no promises. You’ll have to endure it. It’s a hump, all the way to President’s Day, after which things will lighten up. But Wednesday doesn’t have to be unpleasant. People say the most interesting things in January and February, partly because they’re in a Wednesday sort of mood. And that’s where we are now.