The Sunday Slump

. . . and How to Fight It

By Ellen McCarthy
Friday, October 12, 2007; Page WE26

It starts, with dawn, like a rumbling in the distance. Pull the pillow over your head or turn up the volume on the cartoons and you can almost ignore it.

By noon, though, it's louder; it seems closer.

As the sun sets, the rumble escalates into a roar, a roar so deafening you can't help but quake. Crouch down. Curl up. Cover your ears.

Cover your ears, only to realize that the thunder is bellowing out from that pit in your stomach. The one known as Dread, that growls: "It's coming . . . "

But forget what's coming, what's upon you now may well be worse. For they carry a scythe, those Sunday night blues.

Those merciless, menacing Sunday night blues.

It's grade school, of course, when they first appear. When you just want to stay outside for 10 more minutes, watch one more TV show, 'cause you swear it's your favorite. Do anything but go to bed, knowing that the moment you close your eyes, Monday morning will make its advance.

Whatever it was before, come high school it's the Sunday night suffocation. Each book forgotten on Friday seems to have multiplied, sneaking new assignments onto the list. Demanding completion. Expecting perfection.

College is the same, except different, because now your weekends are better and longer and the procrastination is worse. (And you probably have a headache.)

Graduate to the working world and say farewell to homework. Helloooooo, late-night movies and long dinners and thoroughly delightful Sunday evenings. Except now there's time. Undistracted, unscheduled time that's somehow perfect for little questions such as "What am I doing with my life?"

And four seconds later, you're back at square one, taller now and with tone, saying, "Time to come in. Turn off the TV. Is your homework done?"

"Oh, those suburban Sunday nights, those Sunday night blues!" John Cheever wrote.


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