It’s not new or unique to hate Mondays, but I think I add some much needed bitter rage to the cliche table of Monday hate. I never liked starting the week. As a student, it was the time when I would see the calm disappointed faces of my professors as they wondered why I thought I could get away with turning in a landfill disguised as a paper. Monday was the day I was required to hobble out of my hermit hole and interact with the bright, loud world. Things have changed now that I teach classes as well as take them. I thought I knew bitterness before. I thought I had something real to complain about. I was so young.
Take a moment and a deep breath. Now, imagine you are sitting in in a cool void of crisp air. Your body can relax fully, and every muscle finally has time to rest. You’ve been working so hard, and now the weight of the world–and the world itself–is gone. There is only you and the void. Somewhere in the distance, you can hear light harp music. Clear, beautiful chords wash over you, and your mind drifts, as if on a slow but persistent river, to a place of pure serenity. Time has no meaning there, but a little part of you remains awake, a tiny coal of tension that never quite burns out. Suddenly, that coal roars to life, and you open your eyes. The cool room, the empty void, the harp music, they’re all gone. Now you’re in a sandbox as big as a football field. It’s humid, you’re sweating profusely and alarms are shrieking in your head, and then a hulking bald man charges toward you–you’re not sure where he came from, but he’s coming after you. The sweating behemoth sends waves of sand in the air with every step. He has tattoos of ambiguous meaning plastered upon his frankly excessive muscles. In his left hand is a small plastic bucket like what children use to make castles at the beach. He stops in front of you, grabs you be the chin, forces your mouth open, and pours bucket after bucket of sand down your throat. You silently beg for death, but there is only sand.
That’s what Mondays have become for me.
I miss the days when the end of the weekend only meant going to class or being disappointed with my homework. Now, I still do that, but I’ve also got to be the catalyst for the disappointment of others. I’ve seen the hollow-eyed shame as students hand me essays they would rather toss in an active volcano. When I see that look, I try to give a nod of encouragement, some sign that I know what they’re feeling and have also wanted to burn my work rather than let anyone else see it. For a lot of my students, I think I am more of an obstacle than a person, and I understand. I’ve had teachers whose humanity I have actively resisted acknowledging. Every math teacher I’ve ever had has been a robot sent from the future specifically to make me suffer. If any of my kids think I’m a robot, they must imagine the engineer behind my existence is some kind of clown prodigy, able to flawlessly replicate a perfect human form, but deciding instead to build a weird, goofy looking thing with a severe overbite and a frizzy mop on its head.
Sunday is like a bouncer at one of those clubs I’ve never been to. It lets me enjoy myself for a while, and then as the night gets late, it kicks me back into the real world where I’m supposed to be a real person and nothing is serenaded by war drums disguised as music. It’s Monday, and now it’s time to pry myself from the safety of my blankets and go meet with my students.