This Man is All of Us on a Sunday
It is 8 in the morning and our protagonist is already stressed out
MR’s Sunday Scaries Diaries are where haunted humans chronicle their end-of-the-weekend terrors (plus the events that led up to them), hopefully to make all of us feel a little less alone in the fetal position come Monday morning.
I awake with a mule’s butt in my face.
This is not a metaphor.
And, okay, it’s not a real mule and it’s not directly in my face but it is the first thing I see in the morning.
This is what it looks like from the front. Rude.
First thing’s first: Why am I awake? This is an inappropriate time to be awake on a weekend, especially a Sunday.
My husband, David, and I attended a wedding in Bucks County, PA the evening before. It’s about 45 minutes from our house and we decided to splurge on a room for the night instead of making the trek back. This turned out to be a really good idea because the night of the wedding the roads were slick with freezing rain and driving back in the dark on the winding, wooded roads would have been treacherous.
So we’re in this hotel bed.
One thing that I cannot get over is the bathroom in this room. This is the view from the bed:
The shower has a half wall made of glass and that’s it! Like, do not book this place if you’re bunking with your boss on a work trip. Don’t try to bring the kids here; everyone gets a lesson on anatomy. And then when you take a shower the water goes flying out the half wall and it feels like you’re giving a show in a Berlin night club.
It’s 8 a.m. I am stressed.
We have to get up.
I’m always uncomfortable in hotel beds but I also always sleep really soundly so I guess it’s kind of like dying?
David has to go back to town to work. He’s a pastor so Sunday is like his Monday. But also Monday is his Monday because he has to do other things. Anyway, he has to work.
I make the conscious decision not to shower so that I am literally unable to leave the house once we get back to the house. I think this is where my downfall begins.
I always imagine Sundays as this wide-open field in which I can frolic and play. I tell myself I have so much time. I can do anything! I’ll read, I’ll grocery shop, I’ll cook! What a wonderful life this is.
Spoiler alert: I do nothing, always.
We’re driving and I decide to read. I feel like I instinctively read all things that make me unhappy. Newspaper articles about how the world is maybe, probably, definitely terrible; tweets that are just hysterical screaming. I feel like there’s a better, more fulfilling world out there and I have no idea why I’m not reading that. What is that? A book? Should I be journaling? Are there different websites?
This is always a wonderful part of the Sunday crisis. I call this part, “Life: I am doing it wrong.”
I flip through 9,000 films on cable and then have a near breakdown when I can’t decide between Other People and Hell or High Water. A bittersweet dramedy about a mom dying of cancer or a modern western about bank robbers. Same diff.
I choose Other People and start watching it even though I know I have to be somewhere at 2:00 p.m.
This movie is one hour and 37 minutes and I literally must be out of the house in one hour and 12 minutes. Why do I do this to myself? Any of this?
This movie is so good! I think briefly about fast-forwarding so that I can finish it before I have to leave but then I realize how ridiculous that is. Why would I want to see less of something that I’m enjoying? Why do I sabotage myself?
My friend MJ has a reading of a new play called “Whisper’s Gone” and I go. MJ is a great playwright and we’re in the same playwriting workshop group so I guess I’m not bad either. Why would I even say that? Of course I’m not bad. Love yourself!
Anyway, MJ’s play is great. It’s a children’s theater piece about wormholes and environmentalism and divorced parents. And the main character, Whisper, uses “they” pronouns, which is awesome. I’ve never seen that concept introduced in a kid’s play — and rarely in adult plays — and it totally works and the kids totally get it and the arc of history bends toward justice and everything is great!
I head to the market because sometimes I try to be a good househusband and have dinner ready and limit my emotional breakdowns. I’m not actually a househusband. I have a day job and I write on a very regular basis for cash money but I also pretend that I can do everything. I want to be one of those people about whom people say, “How does he do it?!” But everyone kind of hates those people, I guess, so I don’t know what I want, actually.
I’m out of the market. The cashier reached into his drawer to pull out stickers and I got really excited. But then he turned around and gave them to little girls in a different line. What the hell?! They’re not even your customers. Why do they get a sticker?
We decide to read for a bit because I have to watch TV for work at the end of the night. I legit love this sentence. I’m not quite sure how my life ended up like this, but amidst all of the injustice in the world I am glad that somehow I got into a position where I am paid money to watch television and write about it.
I recap Mariah’s World, Mariah Carey’s reality show, for Elle.com. It is both a dream assignment and a hallucinatory shitshow. It’s a fever-dream assignment.
I did not read all of the things. I did not cook all of the things (or any of the things). I only watched some of the things. I have written very few of the things. Maybe next Sunday I’ll do more.
Narrator: He would not do more next Sunday.
R. Eric Thomas writes a daily column on ELLE.com where he “reads” the news. Follow him on Twitter @oureric.