Sunday, March 10, 2013
When I was a child, Sunday afternoon was often the time when we would go for a drive into what we called “The Country”. There would be my father, driving, my mother, my sister and I. We would sometimes drive as far as the Barossa Valley, Nuriootpa perhaps, not much more than an hour north of Adelaide. On other occasions we might find ourselves passing through Golden Grove. This is now a suburb to the north east of Adelaide, in part of which my parents now live. Back then it was open fields and unspoilt wilderness: for us, The Country. Now it is a collection of housing estates: similar houses on similar plots with similar gardens. The world has shrunk considerably since those days.
Quite why we went on these Sunday drives, I am not sure. Perhaps it was simply to relieve the boredom. I don’t think it did.
Later, much later, Sunday had something to do with Church. While I was preparing for confirmation and, later, to enter theological college; during my training and then, when I was finally ordained; in a parish or in a hospital chapel: Sunday morning, at least, generally kept me busy. But this, too, did not always relieve the boredom. And there was still Sunday afternoon to contend with.
The idea of resting on Sunday – or on any day, really – has never much appealed to me. It’s not that I dislike resting per se; it’s just that I find it difficult to do so at a specified time. I prefer to rest when I feel like it, when I have been working hard and need a break. Of course, this doesn’t always fit well with the plans of other family members, particularly those for whom the weekend is something sacred. I have rarely had a job in which the week was clearly differentiated from the weekend, so weekends have never really meant that much to me. I suppose they did when I was a child, when I was attending school during the week. But even then, Sunday afternoons were uncomfortable times for me. They were too close to the end of the weekend; Monday morning loomed large. And Sunday afternoons were (and sometimes still are) imbued with an urgency to do something different, something special, so that they weren’t “wasted”. I could never quite adapt myself to this mindset. Somehow, sitting quietly and reading a novel never quite measured up as something “special”.
And then, later, during the “nest-building” phase, Sunday afternoon, along with the whole weekend, became the time to work around the house and garden. It still is, often, the time to do the washing and other housework. Perversely, I would resent the loss of my “weekend”, which I really didn’t value much at all.
I think I have finally won my battle against the week/weekend dichotomy. I’ll work when I want to work; I’ll play when I want to play. And if my sense of play – such as reading (or writing) a novel – doesn’t quite suit someone else’s concept of play, that’s just tough.