Monday. Or, as they say in the trades, fuckin’ Monday. It is the most controversial of weekdays. Some are still shaking off the ruins of Saturday night, some are bright-eyed and squarejawed, and some are glad to be back at work and away from their nagging, unsympathetic spouses. Monday is the start of good intention; perhaps the only day where such intent is visible. The groceries were gathered the night before, the lunches were packed with care, and the thermoses were washed and polished. Fuckin’ Monday.
The steel toes and the coveralls with hi-viz tape are definitely Monday. The aluminum lunchcases, battered from many a battle, are carved with initials and coated with union stickers, the names of which sound vaguely like poetry – IBEW, local 424; Pipefitters local 488. As any coverall’d grunt will tell you, there is nothing poetic about a union. The higher-ups may think and preach otherwise but on the factory floor the unions are required and tolerated; they are not necessarily liked. Cross-trade animosity, manufactured by decades of shoulder-to-shoulder work, rears its head daily. Male pride, ego, and bravado all take a turn on center stage.
There are the readers. On the bus, many men start out reading Salinger on Monday and by Friday the novels give way automobile and stereo rags. The headphone crowd like to start the week off with a punch. A little Monday Metallica or Tuesday AC/DC usually slides into the gentler tones of Friday U2, perhaps a shade of Bach or Mozart for the ride into the weekend.
Monday sees the workday women in all their fresh plumage. Far from Friday’s jeans and t-shirt lax, the black slacks and fresh perfume are on full. There are the ones that wear runners to work, protecting their good shoes in plastic bags. Others do not care and they brave their black patents to February’s slush. Some arrive at Monday with messy hair and disheveled clothing. Those ones usually peak on Wednesday, and by Friday they are finally primped. The holding of lunches among the female contingent is also an interesting point of observation. Some are unashamed and carry their leftover lasagna or huevos rancheros (that eternal fouler of workplace microwaves) in Tupperware containers for all to see. Some are more discreet and use those reusable nylon lunch sacks. Only the pretentious svelte carry no lunch at all.
The busses also hold the sleepers. The ones for whom morning is a taint on an otherwise enoyable day. Some sleep purposefully and know exactly when to wake up. Some crash hard, drooling into the seat ahead and missing their stop completely, necessitating an embarrassing call for a taxi cab kilometers from their destination. Almost everyone steals a catnap on the bus. Catching a few extra seconds of sleep is one of life’s small comforts, and the constant shift of the bus makes sure that one will not fall asleep for too long.
The best part of Mondays is their end. As arbitrarily bad as Mondays may be, they pave the way for the rest of the week; they make us appreciate Friday in all her donuts-at-the-office glory.
StreetRag ::: An Urban Notebook
StreetRag is an urban weblog and podcast about the city of Edmonton, which is located in the province of Alberta, Canada. It is authored by Edmonton-based writer, web advocate, and poet Michael Gravel and is updated frequently with written urban vignettes, amateurish photographs, deuteronomous audio material, barely coherent musings and rambling ecumenical treatises. StreetRag is a love letter to a lonely prairie burg struggling with its big city ambitions and small-town feel.
The city is Edmonton. It's a subject, not a passion. E-Town is almost universally derided by outsiders as an unlivable tundra wasteland populated by oil-hungry redneck conservatives who despise the arts. All of that is true. But it's not the whole story. There is beauty here. Dusty snowfalls. Brilliant summers. A stunning river valley. A diverse arts community that flourishes. It's a place that inspires a gray relationship - not all good, not all shitty. For that reason alone it is lovable, for what is life but a grayscale?