Offbeat 16 October 2015
Anthropomorphic personification, also known as pathetic fallacy, is a lot of fun. You can see it in action around you, almost all the time.
Easter is personified as a rabbit bringing colourful chocolate eggs, some kind of bizarre product of an unknowable hybridization between a rodent and a chicken, possibly with a cocoa plant thrown in to flavour the eggs. Christmas is an old man with a sack full of goodies. Mercifully in these times where carbon fuel seems to be a villain, he no longer delivers coal. New Year’s Eve is a decrepit old man who somehow turns into a baby the following day, though for many it might be personified as an evil joker handing out the horrid gift of nausea, headaches and dizziness.
This sort of thinking might have gone the way of dour atheist reason, but it seems that personification of the inanimate and intangible is flourishing, and is stronger than ever thanks to social media. The obvious example is the days of the week and the repetitive post that malign Monday and deify Friday.
Grumpy Cat has had its day. The baby with the beer has toddled off our feeds, presumably to playschool. Monday haters still post with conviction and a large number of likes, as do the fans of Friday. Call the beginning of work and the beginning of play an unending zeitgeist.
Uncle Offbeat, the anthropomorphic personification of this column, has a different feeling about days. Monday is a day when the beginning of the week, and all the wonders and nightmares it contains, unfolds. Friday evening is not a good time for hedonism, rather an early night, and if you don’t ascribe to that belief, then the week has not sufficiently exhausted you.
The two days that really get me thinking are Tuesday and Sunday. Tuesday is interesting because it is a relative non-entity, somewhere between the imputed horror of Monday, the imputed horror of the beginning of the week and the elation of realising that it is the middle of the working week on Wednesday, and the realisation that you are halfway there. Obviously very little can be attributed to Tuesdays. Sundays are the day that trouble me most, particularly Sunday evenings, when gloom visits. If I had to personify Sundays, I would describe it as a person who nags for most of the day then sits gloomily next to you in the evening, whimpering and sulking.
I’m excluding religious observances and the concept of a sabbath here, though I was tempted to think of it as a rather unpleasant hell-and-damnation revivalist, or a dour nun who drags people down by disapproving of everything. The reason I exclude a sabbath is that might also be on a Friday for instance.
Personally, Sundays age me in unexpected ways. The day usually starts out withsome kind of unwanted work, a sleep in the afternoon, and then the dreadful Sunday evening when everything feels grey and melancholy, and even escape to the pub seems a bit futile given the possibility of waking up slow and slightly damaged on Monday. Come six o’clock the mini depression leaves me feeling about twenty years older than I am.
I looked up the idea of Sunday blues on the web. It seems that the problem is that the joy and adrenalin of the weekend has worn off, and the challenge and adrenalin of Monday has not yet kicked in. According to what I read, Sunday blues kick in at about four o’clock and get progressively worse until you find some way to pick up with things like cooking supper or falling asleep.
According to the pages I read, my solution should be to do something. The one thing the pages suggested is socialising on a Sunday evening. I’m about as social as an aardwolf, so no help there. The other thing the pages suggest is finding a focus, doing something, on Sunday evenings. I’m not sure what that might be. Normally for me it entails picking up more work.
There is no way I can imagine liking a Sunday. If every day of the week has character, even nondescript Tuesday, perhaps the Sunday blues can remind me of the pleasures of every other day of the week.