The Midults’ guide to...

Hi­jacked week­ends

The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine - - Contents -

WHEN WE WERE YOUNG and free and drunk, week­ends were just week­ends. Back then, when we weren’t work­ing, ‘lost week­ends’ were gladly and glee­fully given away. So that was nice. But now we are grown-up and spread thin, week­ends are not just week­ends. They are pre­cious; res­o­nant with the pos­si­bil­ity of… less.

Sure, some­times they are in­tri­cately plot­ted; some­times they are packed with joy­ous frol­ics but, more and more of­ten, they rep­re­sent much needed space and time. Air. So when a week­end gets hi­jacked it feels like a dis­as­ter. An in­sult. And we ex­pe­ri­ence real grief for the week­end that could have been.

Let’s say a work email or text comes in at 7am on a Satur­day – not just some­one be­ing a job­sworth loon, but some­thing with a gen­uine sense of ur­gency. Even though noth­ing can truly be done about it un­til 8.30am on Mon­day. The more peo­ple looped in, the more sac­ri­fi­cial week­ends burnt at the stake.

Or per­haps peo­ple have come to stay for the week­end. Not joy­ful ad­di­tions, but duty calls. There they are, in all their leaden en­ergy-suck­ing glory from Fri­day night till Sun­day af­ter­noon, vac­u­um­ing up your men­tal space and leav­ing you with noth­ing but cold re­sent­ment.

Or a row will do it. Noth­ing epic, just a nig­gly lit­tle con­tretemps that robs you of your seren­ity all week­end be­cause – and here lies the rub – be­cause you let it. And then you hate your­self.

Yes, week­ends are pre­cious, and that pre­cious­ness can feel pres­surised. Why is life so del­i­cate, so nu­anced, so eas­ily shunted off bal­ance? (And don’t even get us started on the sci­ence of hol­i­days…)


Ev­ery­one said that eye­brows frame your face so you thought you’d try a thread and tint. Ex­cept now you look like Grou­cho Marx in ana­phy­lac­tic shock. Or maybe you had a lunchtime peel… Ex­cept you are still peel­ing and your nose has turned into a straw­berry. Or was it just some sub­tle Bo­tox, which has bruised the hell out of you and ev­ery­one will know. Dark­ened room time. All week­end.


It is not OK to be ill on your own time. Work time, yes. Other peo­ple’s time.

Fine. But not your time. Spe­cial time. Sofa time. Sun­shine walk and pub time. Flirt­ing time. This is not right or just. Why couldn’t I have had strep throat for the offsite strat­egy day? Why me? Why now? Oh God... thrush.


Every­thing was fine all week. You were cop­ing – con­tent, even. But then, on Fri­day, you got trig­gered by some­thing, any­thing, and you melted into your own per­sonal emo­tional civil war, which got more and more vi­o­lent and bloody un­til Sun­day night when, shat­tered from se­cretly cry­ing in the loo, you took a sleeping pill and woke up nor­mal. So that was fun.


Restau­rant booked, in­ter­net-bought dresses prac­ti­cally fly­ing through the air to­wards your front door, mani-pedi­cut ’n ’colour sched­uled. And then you get one of those texts. About your over­draft. Which puts ev­ery week­end plan on hold in favour of stale toast, cook­ing brandy and try­ing to ebay your stained old clothes…


Speak­ing of which, you can’t leave the house be­cause you hate your clothes/ body so much. But you must. But you can’t. So maybe you don’t. Or maybe you do but you feel squirmy and sad the whole time and avoid mir­rors in lifts and bath­rooms. Your bas­tard wardrobe has sucked the joy out of your week­end.


Sum­mer fete with lo­cal fare for wor­thy cause? Damn and blast and hell­fire and mis­ery… Sign me up to (wo)man the tombola. I need all the karma I can get.


‘Can­cel me, can­cel me, can­cel me harder!’ is your cus­tom­ary in­ner pant. And yet, oddly, you were prop­erly look­ing for­ward to this thing. You had men­tally re­hearsed some anec­dotes, so that peo­ple would say what mar­vel­lous form you were on. And sud­denly, well, it’s off. And the cat is not so im­pressed by that hi­lar­i­ous tale about the Ama­zon man and the dust­buster. Per­haps you had to be there. The thing is, the cat was there.

Restau­rant booked, mani-pedi sched­uled. And then you get one of those texts. About your over­draft

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