a visit from the boss

I don’t mind Mondays. You heard me. I wouldn’t usually spread that around. I know Monday-itis is rife in the developed world and my deviant views would be unappreciated. Believe me, I have no desire to mess with the social order. But the way I see it, it’s more about accumulation than a single day at the start. For me, when the pain comes it comes much, much later. Like Wednesday.

On Mondays everyone’s still in a good mood from the weekend. Catching up on the finer details usually takes up a large chunk of the morning. If you’re lucky, you like your colleagues, so talking about everything and nothing with them isn’t the worst way you can think of to while away a day. If you’re luckier still, you’ve had long enough away that you don’t feel the same unholy resentment for the more menial aspects of your job that you felt on Friday afternoon. You don’t mind knocking out bits and pieces of actual work in between weekend debriefs and lunch, which is good for productivity but also for your guilt reservoir. The waters of guilt will no doubt rise again as the week wears on and you begin to devote more and more time to updating the blog you created to document the warped wisdom of one of the senior designers, but for now your dedication to your job is without question. You are incorruptible. Work is working for you and, like ripples in a pond, other areas of your life begin to feel like they’re working too.

For me, this is one of those days. It might be because it’s an editing day, so there is none of the begging or bantering with advertisers or bitter stand offs with comatose photocopiers that marr other, lesser days – nothing but Earl Grey and word play, coaching athletes’ sentences into coherence. I love this stuff. And it amuses me (and all those who knew me before this year) to think of how much I’ve learned since I started this. For someone who once developed detailed guidelines for her classmates on how to avoid being recruited for school sports carnivals, editing an athletics mag is like a crash course in a foreign language. The past nine months have been a wild ride.

In the first piece in my pile, an athlete-philosopher is waxing nostalgic about how humans used to run before we got distracted by shoe technology. The way “we were made to run”. He condemns heel striking and cushioned soles and talks up training in shoes designed to simulate running barefoot (but does not recommend actually running barefoot). He cites a book called Born To Run (Knopf Doubleday, 2009) which he says changed his running style forever.

I find it both funny and fascinating. On another day, one less fresh and more mid-week perhaps, I might drag my feet and procrastinate between jobs or even sentences, but today it all feels easy. I breeze through the edit and a dozen others along with three cups of tea and conversations with coworkers about Japanese restaurants, beer barns, stripey tights and Pippi Longstocking. It’s a good day. But I can’t get that damn Springsteen song out of my head.

The boss follows me home (Bruce that is, not my actual boss – he’s AWOL, presumed seaside) and it could be the chorus line that prompts me to consider going for a run for the first time in months. It could also be the athlete with his evangelising about barefoot running, or the weather (warm tropical rain, the kind that makes people carry umbrellas but stop short of opening them). Or it could be that Monday momentum.

I go home, get changed and jog through steamy, gentrified streets that smell inexplicably of horse shit – a bad smell that makes you feel good, like deep fryer grease after a night of drinking. Back home I cook up a veggie stir fry, phone a friend, write this blog and finish the book I’ve been reading. Ah, Mondays.

You know that saying, start as you mean to go on? I say start, because you’ll probably tire. We all lose momentum. Sometimes you’ll have months or even years of energy and achievements before you crash and burn. Sometimes you won’t last the week. At least this way, when you’re sprawled in bed a couple of days from now watching sitcoms surrounded by chocolate wrappers and gingerbread crumbs, you’ll always have Monday. That shining moment when you glimpsed what was possible, what you could achieve. What you might again.