Friday, December 11, 2015

TGIF? Maybe long ago....

Actually, I used to love Fridays, just like we're supposed to.

The week was over, the weekend was nigh... the Eagle flies on Friday, right? Flush with cash, we could head to our favorite gin mill and commune with our fellows, try possibly to meet a few persons who were not fellows, preferably of the friendly variety, and not worry about having to answer the alarm clock in the morning.

Friday was pinball night, if nothing else. Listening to live music....

In law school I used to get up to Rogers Park in the mid-afternoon, around the time Ron the Bartender (I loved the man, but never did learn his last name) was opening up his place on Sheridan Road. I could down a couple of scotches at a leisurely pace while others in my group drifted in. We'd eventually fire up the jukebox. Ron would go out to get his dinner and I'd cover the bar in his absence. No, I was never employed there.

Ron cashed my checks. (This was in the days before ATMs made life so much more dangerous.) Until a few years ago I had a collection of three consecutively numbered checks, written to Cash, all presented to Ron. My signature was firm and forceful on the first of these... a little crooked on the next... unrecognizable on the third.

Ron had live music at his place every night, but that didn't start up until 9:00 or so. If I liked the solo performer, or the band, maybe I'd stay. If not, maybe I'd go off in search of further adventures. Or home to sleep it off. For awhile there, I didn't go home at all. I stayed in an office in the basement of the student union on the campus which I'd attended as an undergraduate. The security guards knew me. If I couldn't get in on my own, they'd admit me. I had keys to the office. I had a couch there, a table lamp, and a phone. I could use the sauna in the gym next door, and I often did, going there to sweat out the poisons I'd so willingly ingested the night before. I had no one's permission to do any of this.

Those were the days.

Today, I'd probably be shot.

When I got out of law school, Fridays quickly became just another damn day.

Mandatory Saturdays immediately took the happy glow off Friday nights. But my bosses at my first firm were insistent on it. Not that they came in themselves, of course. Not often. They had lives. But they might come in. And we'd better be there, in good functioning order, if they did. So there I was, working, or pretending to....

Marriage and children put the final nail in the coffin of Friday night nightclubbing. We might visit other couples similarly situated... that was a substitute for our former whoop-dee-doo for awhile... but we soon found that visits worked better on Saturdays than Fridays, because on Fridays we were all tired.

We didn't know the half of it.

I remember Cub Scout Pack Nights on Fridays. There were times when I'd have to drive straight there from work because I'd been to court in the suburbs or something and had to go into the office after -- so I'd have to brave the outbound Kennedy during Friday evening rush hour.

Friday evening rush hour then, and now, lasts well into the night. There was no way to get home first -- I would have to leave by mid-afternoon to have any chance -- so I'd just head straight for the school.

My last nerve would be frayed to the breaking point and I'd stumble into a room filled with screaming boys between the ages of 6 and 11, and most of their equally noisy siblings, and the Pack Leader would ask all the adults to put up the Cub Scout sign for quiet -- and I was always afraid I'd make the wrong hand gesture....

And we were still young.

Now, Long Suffering Spouse and I stagger to the finish on Fridays. We have pizza. We fall asleep. If Younger Daughter and Olaf and Granddaughter No. 1 call to say good night -- you know, toddlers are supposed to go to be early? -- like as not, they'll wake us up. Asleep in our chairs.

No clients ever call on Friday because they like what you're doing and want to thank you for your efforts. No, they call because they're mad about something, or they've just received something in the mail -- emergency motions emerge like toxic spills late on Friday afternoons. If there is to be a crisis in the office during the week, it will almost surely erupt on Friday. If there are problems with the kids, or their insurance, or their jobs, or their spouses or in-laws -- they all converge on Fridays.

I've got three crises brewing already this morning.

But I'm going to try and adjust my attitude today. It's almost Christmas. We're going to put up our tree tonight. Allegedly. I'm going to try and work efficiently this morning -- at least as soon as I'm through stalling by writing this post -- and head home in the mid-afternoon.
No, I don't really think it will work either. But, what the heck? I'll give it a shot.

No comments: