An essay by Zinta Aistars
“Monday, Monday, can't trust that day...”
--John Phillips, The Mamas and The Papas
And I am that distrust personified. I am reluctance, heels dug in, gritting teeth, silent scream within, shaking my fists at the tyrant of Monday. Sunday still lingers on the mind and seduces the spirit into its sweet laziness. Then, that long ago day, that much missed Sunday, when the Queendom was mine…
Yet I enjoy my work, indeed, very much. When interviewed for the position, now many years ago, I was asked what I would consider my “dream job,” and I replied: “The job that makes me love a Monday.” I got the job. I still don’t love a Monday. But I do love this: the ambiance of creativity, the team that comes together in this academic institution to discuss ideas and brainstorm new ones, molding and framing these ideas with words and color and grand design, all of us pulling as one. I am a part of that team, a writer and editor, a communications specialist.
Still: communicate a fine Monday to me. The kind that feels like a warm, fuzzy robe. The kind that smells of freshly ground coffee, infused with butter rum. The kind that is velvet on the nerves.
Oh, soldier, dream on…
Meetings, phones, voicemail, e-mail, communications fly. Deadlines creep against the wall. Cranky comrades zap over electronic insults, and I leave behind the robe and put on, instead, the thick rhino hide. The coffee is rancid; the meetings last two hours instead of the allotted one, the requests for assistance come in long past deadline. Memos fly, accounts demand to be paid, files breed secretly among themselves. But then, yes, there is this too: the thank you’s and the considerate welcomes, the shared punch line at the cooler, the task completed and well done, and the icing: a surprise phone call from an old friend.
“Communications, this is Zinta…”
“Hello, Z,” and I recognize the deep and suede smooth voice. We haven’t talked in weeks, or has it been months, oh maybe half a year. Maybe closer to one?
And the workday, for a little while, is set aside. We have been friends since we met on a previous job, nearly a decade ago. A battle zone that bonded. A madhouse that drove to madness. A week of Mondays. Out of the front lines, we held on. And still do, from time to time, and so we chatter about children, mates, been and gone, current jobs, random travels, and undying passions. He mentions a ride on his new Harley, the one he wanted for so long. The one he works too hard and too many hours now to ride. I laugh, and tease, and chide as good friend would, and put in my demand for a ride. Damn good thing for both of us, I say. It was once how we kept our sanity in jobs gone sour. The Mondays melting away, gone with the wind, as we chased them on long bike rides.
“Done,” he says.
But back to work. This short reprieve is over. A moment when life snuck into making a living, and it almost felt as good as that Sunday robe.
Jangling phone and Monday takes me captive again. Until the clock, at long hard eight-hour last, gives time back to me. I run back into the arms of evening, and I have earned it.
Driving home and weaving on automatic habit through the traffic jams, I consider those long ago bike rides. Straddling that throttling machine behind my good driver, I began with my arms tight around him, then was drunk with the wind in my face and hair, spread my arms out wide to catch the passing world as it rushed by us and we roaring through it.
"You hold on, Z!" he warned into the wind, slapping my thigh.
But I didn't, and wouldn't, and couldn't, because this was how life was to be lived. Unruly and daring, with mussed hair, arms spread wide, and racing towards the future.
Life should be a week without a Monday.
("Monday" is part of a seven-day series.)