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  • Madeline Topf

Taking the day off

Finally! A day off. A full day to myself, without work. I took the day off yesterday.

My lab has a little Google calendar where we can note if we'll be gone. You can also change your Slack emoji to a palm tree to denote "vacation." I wish I was somewhere with palm trees, but I'm in Wisconsin.

I took the day off because I was tired. Classes start soon and I just finished my first year committee meeting. I took the day off because there is a mountain of unorganized files on my desktop. My R code reads like a choose-your-own-adventure book; you'd have to flip from line 3 to line 47 to line 8 to understand it. I assumed on my day off I would attend to these things. I didn't.

A day off, on a Monday? I wasn't going anywhere, or traveling. I wasn't going to see anyone. It was just me and the dog, who wouldn't stop whining. The day was hot, too. There's so much time in a day, if you don't have anywhere to be.

I mostly spent the day eating. I think I had around 7 meals. I also did my dishes, swept the floors, and cleaned my room. In my room I have two bins of clothes. The bins are overflowing but they have lids. I took each item out, one by one, and folded it neatly back in the bin. Then I could put the bin lids on. The bins stack neatly in my closet now.

My boyfriend is unemployed during the winter because of his landscaping job. He loves it. I feel more like my mother. Restless; always having to be doing something. She has developed some sort of chronic muscle injury from running too much and she can't figure out what she's supposed to do to heal it. My Dad tells her to rest, but she disagrees. She goes to yoga, walks, bikes, does physical therapy. She keeps using the muscle. It keeps hurting.

This summer, on paper, it wouldn't look like I was working that hard. If I had to clock in and out, I probably worked only 4 or 5 hours per day in lab or on my projects. So why am I so tired? Do I even deserve a day off? Aren't the weekends enough? I think about my 5 month old puppy, who requires 4 to 5 hours of work. I think it's really the whining that bothers me. I ignore it, like you're supposed to, but it still happens. I get frustrated. After ALL I've done for you, I think. You still whine for more.

My dirty clothes are in a pile in my room. On my day off I wanted to clean them, but I didn't have any quarters. I can't find quarters anywhere these days, not even from the bank. I guess all the quarters are in the basement laundry machines. You have to wear a mask again everywhere, even in the basement, because it's shared. This depresses me so I don't wear a mask. I don't really want to wear a mask anywhere because it depresses me. The idea that it's not over when I thought it was. I thought I was finally going to be able to relax, to really take the day off from the boredom and loneliness of the pandemic. The unprocessed grief. Maybe it’s easier to just keep going.

Today, I am working again.

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