Days off in the summer are tricky, especially when you work in a restaurant. I can swear on all your holy spirits and blood relatives that I’ll never be given a weekend off, and that my workless Wednesdays will either be rain-soaked and dismal, or coincide with the one afternoon I have to wait for the cable guy to show up (“between the hours of 8:30 and 5?” Seriously – we have drones in the Middle East and you’re telling me you can’t give me a time that’s slightly more precise?). In the event that it’s a free and gorgeous day, such as today, chances are high that the two days before were spent working back to back doubles, which they were, and thus, if my pedometer is accurate, this means I speed-walked over 9 miles inside an old oil factory and feel like I got hit by a bus.
The metaphoric Friday at work – the day before your day(s) off – is spent boastfully brainstorming your impending day’s activities with your co-workers in a manner more obsessive and obnoxious than a Yale-bound teenager humming loudly over the fall course catalogue in front of her SUNY-relegated classmates:
“I’m going to set my alarm for, like 9:37, I’m going to throw my laundry in and go to the coffee place around the corner and read the news, then I’m going to run 10k while it’s in the dryer. I’ll shower and get dressed in, like, a casual but cute outfit, and then I’m either going to make a quick lunch or else grab a sandwich at the deli and go to the park, where I’m gonna lay out in my bathing suit and read a few chapters, or else listen to this podcast I’ve been wanting to hear. I’m going to bring a Thermos of mimosas. My friend, ABC, who works around there, is going to meet me, and we’re going to catch up, and then try to go to a few stores and do a little shopping, and then my sister has a dentist appointment around there too, so we’ll meet up with her, and then at, like, six, I’m going to try to hang out with a couple of friends from school at the coffee part of Eataly and get some writing done, and then I’m going to have a friend from my old job meet me there and we’re going to do dinner at Birria..”
This was me, yesterday, with lofty beach goals and a laundry list a year long of all the different and lavish activities I was going to perform. I woke up. I went to Rite Aid. I had a couple of beers and a can of New England clam chowder, and watched a few episodes of Dawson’s Creek. My legs are still throbbing from working and running. It’s now two in the afternoon, roughly a third of the way into my first of two work-free weekdays. My plans to head to Brighton Beach were quelled when I walked outside into the heat of Harlem’s burning streets. Additionally, if I’m going to ride the D for more than an hour, I’m going to need there to be less of an audience.
Here’s what actually happens, as told grumblingly to your no-longer-envious coworkers the day after the day off over Parliament Lights and espressos, which you’ll give up next week:
“I bought a six pack at the deli on the way home after work and stayed up drinking by myself, watching shitty X Factor auditions until 4 in the morning. I forgot to plug my phone in, so the alarm didn’t even go off; I woke up when the UPS guy came to the door around 12:15 in the afternoon. I didn’t have any more coffee filters, so I thought about going to the supermarket, but then I decided just to make herbal tea, which led to me passing out again until 2:40. I finally got dressed and put on “The Office” and started making a list of different fellowships I’m going to start applying to the next time I have a day off. I debated going to Central Park, but it was kind of muggy out and I didn’t feel like shaving my legs for shorts, and XYZ also had the day off, so we just went to the bar near my house and started drinking around 5. The next thing I knew, I’d ingested seven beers and three bowls of popcorn, and was back in my bed rewatching the same episode of the office I’d started earlier that morning. I didn’t have time to do my laundry – can you tell that’s Earl Grey all over my boob, or does it just look like it could be a shadow from my earring?”