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Saturday Afternoon

Essay By: Bill Rayburn
Memoir


What part of the week is the best? One man breaks it down. (approx. 730 words)


Submitted:Apr 3, 2012    Reads: 214    Comments: 1    Likes: 1   


Saturday Afternoon

A week is a long time. Seven days, 168 hours, 10,800 minutes, or 604,800 seconds. Any way you slice it; there is enough time in a week to do almost anything.

I was thinking about this one day when I wasn't doing anything. It was about 3pm on a Saturday. I'd spent the morning running the requisite errands, the kind of mindless tasks single guys need to nonetheless tend to on a weekly basis. Dry cleaning, buy dog food, wash the jeep, clean the bathroom, defrost the T-Bone for dinner, maybe a hair cut, all the while peeking in when possible on the golf/tennis/baseball game on the 56" Plasma HDTV above the fireplace, that is seemingly on all the time.

Though time consuming, the errands are a pleasant activity. Mindless, as I said, but not in a numbing, 'let's put this behind me' way; more in a vague, 'I'm getting things done' mode. OK, accept for cleaning the bathroom. That I want to put behind me as fast as possible.

So, it's three o'clock, a perfect Saturday afternoon, from a weather standpoint. 75 degrees, slight breeze, hammock is situated under the tree, out of direct sun. I am in it. Hands clasped behind my head. As content as I can get.

What is the best part of the week?

I like my job, it pays well and allows me to live a life that is comfortable, with my share of shiny toys, good wine, a full bar and well stocked kitchen, and the occasional luxury of a trip to my favorite restaurant where $100 can leave my possession with ease. But I'm not passionate about my job. It fulfills the task that I require from a job. It stays out of the way of my life.

So that eliminates Monday through Friday.

Now, every Ron, Vic and Larry who works during the week looks forward to, even cherishes the weekend. I know I do, even if they tend to, over time, give off a whiff of sameness. That's OK. Every weekend can't be a fishing trip or a Vegas junket, or even a soul-diminishing junket to the local strip bar.

Ensconced in my hammock, the day now bracketed by the productive morning, and the evening meal that I will prepare, I laid there relaxed, yet curious. OK, I thought, let's break the time frame up. What is the best four-hour block of the week, not taking into account special occasions and those delicious spontaneous ideas that can lead to memorable evenings?

Each weekday night would qualify, but on average, they tend to be a sedentary affair. Cocktails, dinner, TV or music, a book. All stimulants to me, but hardly qualifying for any 'Best Of' contest.

Sundays during football season, this sports fan's nirvana, simply can't be truncated into a four-hour window. Impossible. We'll give the Football Sabbath the trophy for Best Full Day.

I felt my brow furrow as a sliver of sun slipped through the eaves and made me blink, but only on the down swing, as my hammock rocked me like a baby. Did you know you could actually feel your brow furrow?

What about right now, I thought.

Swinging in the hammock, with the rudimentary chores of the AM out of the way, I'm left with a relaxed, contented sense of accomplishment. Cocktail hour, usually spliced with Sinatra and some sun on my deck on the second floor, lay ahead, its timing always defined obliquely. And dinner on Saturday night never loomed as a chore. I love to cook, and know what I like, and how to cook it. It is almost always my best meal of the week.

What about now, indeed? I am a distiller when it comes to language, written or spoken. A minimalist at heart, enjoying the challenge of making a point with one or two words, where most would need a sentence.

Hope.

Those hours from noon to 4pm on a Saturday afternoon, often spent right where I am now, are pregnant with hope. Sunday, another day away from the job, sits waiting, like a huge hug. The real apex is now, here.

Besides, if I overcook the steak, if the Zinfandel is too tannic, if I can't come up with a second side dish, there's always a sport on TV tomorrow.

On the 7th day, he rested.





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