Sundays usually suck. They begin early and always end late. Always. Because I work Sunday nights, I know this first-hand. Sunday night is the dues-paying night. We are the newbies on the floor, the rookies working the door. We are the fill-ins because my poor GM just needs a night off. I am fine with it. But still, being fine with it doesn’t negate the fact that Sundays usually suck. And sometimes, the Sunday day before work can suck as much as the Sunday night at work.
This Sunday I was hungover from my one-gal pity party about the boy the night before. Yeah, I know. Pathetic. Not the hangover, because at least I drank good wine. No, pathetic is the idea of having a pity party. Pathetic is the pity.
Despite this hangover and the reason I had one, I woke up at 7:30 a.m. Normal people with hangovers sleep in. Pathetic people who have pathetic hangovers because of pathetic pity parties wake up at 7:30 a.m. And the first thing they think is: “Yeah, this Sunday should suck more than most.”
My dog groaned when I shoved her off my bed and told her, “If I am up, you are up.”
“Don’t blame me for your self-induced misery,” she glared at me.
I glared back, winning the doggy stare-down, because I knew the secret of the can opener, which is the ultimate secret to her getting fed. Now this Sunday sucked for her, too.
This Sunday should have really sucked because it was, or at least felt, 900 degrees by 9 a.m. “We’re walking, anyway,” I told my dog who is notorious for refusing to budge without assistance after three blocks if the heat and humidity are high enough for her to pant the moment we walk out the door. On this Sunday that should have sucked, my dog started panting as I slipped her harness over her neck. “Yeah, deal with it,” I mumbled to her.
And then this Sunday day didn’t start out sucking as much as it should have, because I drove north for a bit to walk the dog in a new-to-me locale. The pup sucked it up and hung in for a 45-minute walk along the water front, as we searched in vain for a tile named Lily. During this walk that helped make this Sunday not suck so much, my pup romped with another Boston Terrier, kissed a Beagle, and studiously ignored two little yapping puff balls.
After driving home and leaving my dog in my apartment on this Sunday that should have SO sucked, I decided to walk and walk forever. I walked to an apartment I did not rent. Then I walked further to the beach. Then I walked for miles along the beach until I came to the light at an intersection that marks the way to the next place I will live. At which moment my phone rang. It was a friend I have known since elementary school and through middle school as my best friend. She had come through major surgery really well, and she just wanted to share that with me. This Sunday was definitely not sucking for her.
And for some reason, in her clarity despite major surgery only days ago, she wanted to hear about me. She wanted to know what was what, for real, because she just had a sense….
Which is why God makes the best of friends last past childhood, so they can call at just the right time after they have fought the odds of ill health, and they can lend you an ear you need just at that moment. But even more than that, a friend like this tells you how okay you are, and how you are not stupid, and she doesn’t see this boy who prompted my pity party that led to a hangover as all evil–not yet. “There’s more to this story, to him. I know it.”
This Sunday that should have sucked has now brightened considerably. Then I shared something with my friend that I discovered while chatting: “Hey, I just walked from the beach to the my new place. Eight minutes sand to door!” She laughed and said maybe she will move to South Florida.
I walked six-plus miles on this march. I was hot and tired, but I didn’t have to be at work for two hours. Back at my apartment, where the landlord really sucks, I put on my bikini, grabbed the dog, and traipsed downstairs to my front-door pool. I have never, ever put a toe in this pool. Well, maybe a toe. On this 900-degree day, I swam laps in it. And it felt deliciously cool and soothing. Then suddenly I remembered how the boy had mentioned more than once wanting to go to the beach with me, hang out with me, take me to the Keys to meet friends he has there. I tried not to let that unbidden memory transform this Sunday into one that truly sucked.
I went to work a few hours and a decent sunburn later, determined that no matter how much I know Sunday night will suck, I will force myself to be happy and cheerful toward my coworkers. I may not be the manager they totally respect, but I do know that the “manager on duty,” no matter their rung on the ladder, has the power to make or break the mood of a shift. I needed the mood of my coworkers to be okay so as not make this Sunday night suck as much as it likely should. And that, I figured, was all up to me.
Mostly, this worked, until I realized how slow the night would be, based on a dearth of reservations. It’s off season here in SoFla. This Sunday was going to suck big-time for my two owners. I read a note from my GM telling me who to cut first and why. I ended up cutting two servers who always want to be cut first. I didn’t need a note to tell me that.
Because it is off-season in SoFla and this Sunday will suck for my owners, I had time on my hands to chat with the piano player who only ever plays on Friday and Saturdays and never on weeknights or Sundays. It would be a treat to have live music replace the repeating loop of contemporary adult hits that is our background music all the other nights.
“Yeah, I want to try out some new music,” he said, looking around the empty bar area. “Looks like this is a great night to practice. No one to hear my mistakes!”
“Do you have any show tunes in your repertoire?” I asked him.
“Oh sure, just don’t play them too often.”
“Ah, then pretend it’s ‘Show Tune Sunday’ and you have to play nothing but songs from musicals,” I had no clue how many show tunes he actually knew, but what the hell. It was a slow Sunday that could otherwise suck.
He laughed. “‘Show-Tune Sunday,’ I like it!” I quickly compiled a list of my favorites from the golden age of Rodgers and Hammerstein movies that I watched six times over during summers when I was a kid and spent afternoons on end in downtown Art Deco theaters, left there by parents who didn’t believe in summer camp. “Let me see what sheet music I have,” the piano player said, digging into his beat-up brown leather briefcase containing reams of paper covered with notes and scrawls.
As he began to play his first set, the servers and bartenders began a “Name that Song and Movie” contest. They are all so young, except one server who is my age. If the contest continued, it would be no contest. Plus, I compiled the list. But the piano player had added more show tunes than I could think of, and the contest died after the first wrong answer.
As the Sunday night that should have sucked continued, it passed quickly, pleasantly. Wonderfully.
“I don’t know what you do to always have her do this for you, but here,” said the busser as he plunked a plate down on the podium that held a huge chunk of cornbread laden with fruit and nuts and was slathered with extra butter and a sugar topping. “She says you can totally eat this.” She is our pastry chef, who is always willing to make me the next best gluten- and soy-free concoction. I ate what I could and invited the servers and hosts to scarf the rest.
I got home just after midnight. I walked the dog who was happy to prance and dance now that the sun was long set and the breeze was up. We meandered for a half hour, then called it a night. I was emailing with a friend, when the text popped up on my phone: “Is it okay to see u?”
Seeing these words, I wanted to cry angry tears tinged with both relief and regret. But this time, my heart is imbedded in steel and my vision is quite clear. I will let him know that. And then we’ll see. Or not.
I found myself thinking how this Sunday really hadn’t sucked in its usual way. Because what’s next, for better or for worse, is always unfolding in ways I least expect. Besides, how bad can a Sunday really suck when you have hummed along to show tunes and nibbled on cornbread?