Ban the Weekend
We wouldn’t all have to live for the weekend if it didn’t exist
At the beginning of each workweek we stand on our collective tiptoes. There is a looming mountain of dread in front of us and we all want the best possible view of the glimmer of light peeking just above Friday’s horizon. It’s the light of those dazzling days that keep us going week after week. The weekend has made an implicit promise to reimburse us for the wasted workdays we’ve been forced to endure. Fun, freedom and excitement are all supposed to be on the menu as a part of the deal.
When that reimbursement finally arrives, it’s always a rip-off; we’re only given two days in exchange for five. It must be the glittering anticipation of surviving the horrors of each workweek that blinds us to what a lousy deal we’re making every Monday morning. Despite knowing the details of this lopsided agreement, we still feel we can beat the system by cramming seven days of living into two.
The problem is that besides being forced to take part in an unfair deal, we’re also the victims of false advertising. On the package, the weekend makes a lot of promises, but rarely delivers what it’s selling.
Number one on the list of what we expect to receive is freedom. It’s a mighty bold offer, but the weekend is a bit deceptive in this promise. Granted, we do get temporary freedom from the incremental destruction of our souls. But what we really want is the pure stuff; freedom to do whatever the hell we want. Unfortunately the little free time we get after arriving home from work is consumed by eating dinner and binge-watching our shows. It means we have to use the freedom the weekend gives us to do all the stuff we didn’t have time to do during the week.
In exchange for some of our promised excitement, we put off doing all that stuff until next weekend. Everything is left behind and we go off in search of adventure. Somehow we always forget everyone else has the exact same idea at the exact same time as us, so getting anywhere offering excitement means fighting traffic; a weekday chore we were hoping to avoid. Then once we arrive, we have to battle the crowds of other adventure seekers for our little piece of excitement. While stuck in traffic on the way home, we regret the attempt, but try again anyway weekend after weekend.
Fun and excitement do not necessarily go hand in hand. Fun is something that happens spontaneously and since it’s something spontaneous, it can happen almost anywhere, at any time. Yet the weekend makes us believe that it’s the designated time for fun, so we make plans to have as much of it as possible. By definition, spontaneity cannot be planned, so how can we plan to have fun? Of course, given the right environment and being around the right people, the chance of fun increases, but there’s never a guarantee. The pressure and expectation of having scheduled fun usually leads to having a lot less fun than planned. It can even be detrimental to our health. Statistically there are more hangovers, hang-gliding accidents and weddings on the weekend than any other time of the week combined.
Then there are those of us who have realized the futility of trying to make good on any of the weekend’s assurances. We only see the weekend as a time to recover from the crushing weight of the weekdays. Discovering the truth of the situation doesn’t make it any better.
Besides being a cheat and a liar, the weekend is also a jerk. Its very existence is a constant reminder of the dreariness of our weekday lives. If our weekday lives were meaningful and amazing, there would be no need for an escape from them every weekend.
We need to permanently end the weekend’s lies, stop its false hope and shatter its memorial to our empty weekday lives. The weekend must be banned!
Might as well ban the weekdays while we’re at it
Without weekends, our calendars would look pretty odd. A two day void at the end of every week doesn’t make much sense. This is why we must also do away with the five remaining weekdays. It’s a much less drastic proposal than banning the weekend, as those five days don’t have a lot of fans.
There isn’t a phrase in the English language that conjures up as much universal dread and depression as ‘Monday morning’. ‘Imminent death’ comes close, but at least that phrase implies an upcoming respite. Monday is always synonymous with the beginning of something terrible. It has to be an awful day, if a whole culture of hatred has been built around it.
Subtract everything Monday represents by a factor of one and you end up with Tuesday. As a day, it’s basically just Monday Jr. Coming in second place in the most hated contest means it’s still a despised day.
The obstruction at the middle of the week is Wednesday. We see it as the day blocking our path to the end of the work week. It’s an obstacle to get through and no one appreciates being delayed when they’re trying to get somewhere important.
Like Tuesday, Thursday has strong relationship with its neighbor. Thursday is Friday’s Friday. As a day, it represents the feeling of seeing an ice cold glass of water just out of reach as we’re dying of thirst. Our fingers can nearly feel the condensation building up on the edge of the glass. The irritation and annoyance of not being able to grab it is beyond frustrating.
It’s all been leading up to this, the day of great expectations, the savior of the workweek — Friday, a day even more overrated than Saturday and Sunday. Everyone is in love with Friday, but they choose to forget it has a dark side. It’s still a full workday that involves getting up too early, enduring a terrible commute to a place you don’t want to go and spending most of the day in a place you don’t want to be. We are only in love with Friday’s third act. And that love is purely based on the anticipation of the weekend; something that needs to be banned. Friday is the weekend’s co-conspirator, helping to enable its deception. It’s a day that can’t be trusted.
A day is nothing but a mark on the calendar to show the passing of time; just like a minute on a clock. Yet each day of the week comes with the baggage of specific moods and feelings. The fifth minute of the hour has no more meaning than the forty-seventh minute. Days should be the same, completely neutral measurements of time. Removing each day’s label would greatly improve our lives. By avoiding the emotional roller coaster ride we have to take every week, we could preserve a lot more of our sanity.
The absence of weekends and weekdays makes the idea of a week obsolete, so the week itself would need to be done away with. Without weeks, a month doesn’t have a reason to exist and would therefore be made to retire. In order to make all of this happen, we’ll need to renovate the calendar.
It’s about time for a new way to measure time
Our ability to measure time has evolved along with our society’s technological advancements. We no longer use sundials or archaic mechanical devices to keep track of minutes and hours. Now we can use atoms to build clocks that are able to keep perfect time down to the millisecond, for millions of years. Despite these amazing advancements, we still use a calendar that has basically remained unchanged for thousands of years. Besides imposing the absurd idea of weekends and weekdays upon us, our current calendar doesn’t really work in our modern era.
In a high tech world everything needs to be accurate and precise, but we adhere to a calendar wherein the number of days each month is determined by the lunar cycle and ancient Roman traditions. There are sixty seconds in a minute, sixty minutes in an hour, twenty-four hours in a day and when we reach days in a month, that number depends on the month. It’s no different than following a clock with a different amount of minutes each hour. The unevenness of the months has and continues to cause countless issues; issues we’ve just grown accustomed to and blindly accept.
Another disorienting aspect of our calendar is the fact that dates land on different days of the week each year. Some years your birthday lands on the weekend and some years it lands in the middle of the week. One year you’re stuck at work on your birthday and another year you’re free to party. Then there’s the reverse of that, if a national holiday lands on weekend, you probably won’t get that day off work that year.
To remedy all the negativity caused by our current calendar, I offer up a new, simple and logical calendar.
Each year is split into four quarters of ninety days. These four quarters are divided into three periods of thirty days and each period has three parts of ten days. The five remaining days are called The Surplus (more on the purpose of The Surplus to follow). Every day of the year is assigned a number depending on its chronological order. The 1st of January is 1, the 31st of December is 365 and so on.
It means the calendar is always the same every year, except on leap years. An extra day will need to be added, so day 59 (the 28th of February) will be sliced in two and the second part will be called L for Leap Day. As it’s an extra day without a number designation, it will become an internationally recognized holiday where we all get the day off work. Speaking of new holidays, The Surplus is just that. We all know that no work actually gets done between Christmas and New Year’s, so it will be made official. There will be a five day year-end holiday.
More and more of us work non-traditional schedules and are compelled to conform our lives to the established weekday/weekend routine. A calendar without labels is an inclusive calendar. Everybody is equal, no matter your work schedule. As the new calendar has no religious connections, it isn’t discriminatory. Any cultural or religious observances can easily be superimposed onto it.
Life without a weekend
A new calendar is good and all, but what’s going to stop every sixth and seventh day from becoming the new weekend? We can’t have the weekend popping up again and poisoning us with its deception. The solution is that we must start working every day. If every day is equal under the new calendar, then every day is a workday (with the exception of holidays).
Don’t worry, it’s not as bad as it sounds. Instead of working an eight hour day five days a week, we’d work four and half hours every day. In order for businesses to stay open a full day, there would be two shifts — the morning shift (e.g., 8am to 12:30 pm) and the afternoon shift (e.g., 12 pm to 4:30 pm). This system would also be applied to children who attend school full time. We all strive for a work-life balance, this is the solution.
Even though we’d be working every day, we wouldn’t be working as many hours ; eight and half hours less than we do now per traditional workweek. It may seem we wouldn’t be able to accomplish as much working only four and half hours per day, but really think about your eight hour work day. How much of that day is actually spent working? Add up the time spent taking breaks, socializing, messing around on the internet and finding ways not to work. It probably equals close to four hours a day. Machines should be doing the majority of our work anyway. We built them to make our lives easier, so we should let them do their jobs.
With a two shift system, we would also decrease traffic, thereby helping the environment. Everybody wouldn’t be commuting at the exact same times, like they are now. Shift one would leave for work in the morning and shift two would leave for work in the early afternoon. After the second shift arrives at the work, the first shift goes home. Shifts could also be mixed and switched to fit each of our individual lifestyles. Employers would of course need to offer a lot more vacations days per year; we still need to have full days away from work.
We are creatures of habit and we find comfort in our established weekly routine, so I know that this major deviation from it would be too upsetting for most of us to handle. But is trying to squeeze your ‘real’ life into only the weekends comforting? Is experiencing assigned negative emotions all the other days of the week comforting? Why can’t our comforting routine be living each day as it comes without any expectation of what we’re supposed to feel. The day itself would dictate our feelings and not the day’s label. Ban the weekend and every day will be filled with the promise the weekend fails to keep.