It’s likely because my Thursdays are usually slammed. Not only am I teaching a heavy course load at my day job, I also have three private music students about twice a month on Thursdays. I then head to a local coffee shop for their weekly open mic, an institution for musicians and music-lovers in my region’s scene. By the time I got home last night, I was worn out, and didn’t have two spare neurons to rub together.
Thus the profusion of “Phone it in Friday” pheatures—er, uh, features—I’ve been writing of late (here’s the original, and II, III, and IV). But this edition will take on whole new dimensions of self-reference: it’s a “Phone it in Friday” about Friday itself.
Specifically, it’s about that glorious, amorphous time from about 3:30 in the afternoon until around about bedtime Friday night. Ever since middle school, I have cherished Friday afternoon—especially that exact moment school is over. Even if you’re still working (as I was this afternoon, briefly), there’s the limitless possibility of the weekend ahead: all of the freedom, or at least unstructured time, that is mine to do with as I please.
That sensation isn’t as strong as it used to be, but it surely struck today. With the time change and the days growing shorter, there’s not much sunshine when I’m awake and not working to enjoy it. This afternoon, the recent cold streak momentarily lifted, and I enjoyed a warm, sunny drive home (then was shocked to find it pitch-black about an hour later).
Now that the high school football season is effectively over (our boys play in their AA State Championship game tomorrow, but we’re done with home games), my Friday nights are relatively free again (or will be, after the holidays). Instead of sleepily waiting around for the games to start, I’m actually able to enjoy my Friday afternoons again. I relish being able to come home and enjoy some brief solitude and quiet, with the throbbing hum of my washing machine whisking away the stains of the workweek.
Of course, that limitless sense of possibility slowly fades as the weekend wears on. Saturday morning is still fun, with hot coffee and a slow breakfast. I once read a post from a blog—Mr. Money Mustache, perhaps?—about saving for retirement, and the author wrote about “lingering over breakfast.” That phrase has stuck with me, clinging to my mind and heart, as I’ve saved (aggressively) for my own distant retirement. It’s pretty much my one material goal in life (well, and maybe a cabin in the mountains and, if I’m feeling really punchy, a sweet ride): to be able to wake up and enjoy my breakfast at a leisurely pace.
But the fleeting taste of my future retirement is usually gone by Saturday afternoon. By then, I’m usually antsy to escape my self-imposed bubble of loafing—or, paradoxically, I’m dreading whatever social obligation I foolishly scheduled to cut into my rare period of serenity. Of course, it’s always fun once I get there.
Sundays are a mixed bag. The Sabbath is rarely the day of rest the Lord intended it to be. Now that I play piano for church when I’m in town, I try to get there about thirty minutes earlier than normal. That extra half-hour might not sound like much, but it cuts into my precious Sunday morning.
Sunday afternoons usually see me rehearsing with a local jazz big band—fun, but another big chunk of time out of my, by this point, rapidly disappearing weekend. All of the promise and peace that Friday held slowly dissolve into anxiety about the week ahead. Sunday night, I’m slamming out lesson plans and already absorbing myself back into the work of the week to come.
That’s an awful lot of navel-gazing, but I’ve been thinking more and more about how fleeting time is, and how none of us knows the quantity allotted to us. I enjoy work and find it a productive (and profitable) use of my time, and I am incapable of doing nothing for too long (thus the Saturday afternoon antsiness), but I’m coming to appreciate being in the moment more. I know that’s a very girly sentiment, more befitting a mommy blog than a politics and culture rag like this one, but maybe the moms are on to something.
I’m not saying I’m good at it—I’m constantly fiddling with my pocket planner, looking at what’s coming next.
But I’m definitely enjoying sipping coffee and writing this fluffy blog post on a gloriously free Friday night.