“It was Sunday afternoon, never a good time for me, especially in winter. Old sorrows visit me then, and shabby old guilts, and a restlessness born of scattered Sunday papers, cold coffee, overheated dens, unmade beds, too long in the house, and the sure and certain knowledge of a weekend frittered away and Monday morning looming. . . . I know that Sunday afternoon can be fought, with long walks, cooking something French, or just getting out of the house, but the effort even to dress is enervating. Nevertheless, if my husband and I are both exceedingly Sunday-stunned and in imminent danger of having a fight out of sheer boredom, I will consent to go, gracelessly, to a movie.”
– John Chancellor Makes Me Cry, Anne Rivers Siddons
I have a tendency to get Sunday-stunned. So do some of my friends. One friend’s husband called me in desperation on a gray afternoon, begging me to come up with an activity that would take her off his hands. He was sort of kidding, but he was right that outside intervention is usually needed in order to become un-stunned.
Even dogs feel it sometimes. In Garth Stein’s charming dog-narrated novel The Art of Racing in the Rain, furry wannabe-human Enzo gets bogged down in dog life until a fluke occurrence turns things around:
I wallowed in the emptiness of my lonely days. . . . Until one day when a fortunate accident happened that changed my life. Denny turned on the TV in the morning to check the weather report, and he forgot to turn the TV off.
Let me tell you this: The Weather Channel is not about weather; it is about the world! It is about how weather affects us all, our entire global economy, health, happiness, spirit. . . . Absolutely fascinating.
Now, I’m not advocating TV as the solution, though Enzo does use it to educate himself:
I tried to teach myself to read by studying Sesame Street, but it didn’t work. I achieved a degree of literacy, and I can still tell the difference between “pull” and “push” on a door, but after I figured out the shapes and letters, I couldn’t grasp which sounds each letter made and why.
Right about now, you may be thinking Do I really want to read a book about what a dog is thinking? The answer is a resounding Yes. I adored this book. It’s smart, funny, and full of love. This idea caught my attention: “Any problems that may occur have ultimately been caused by you, because you are responsible for where you are and what you are doing there.”
Is that really true? I guess if I’m in a bad situation and choose not to do anything about it, my problem becomes my fault. Or rather, the lack of problem-solving is my fault. The world is full of endless possibilities, so why do we hide and worry instead of taking action?
Hmm, so if I’m grumpy and lazy and haven’t done the breakfast dishes, it’s probably up to me to get going and do something with my day. But really I’d rather just read. . .
P.S. I went swimming instead. Just as good for the soul but more refreshing after being cooped up all day.