Kage Baker said that one never outgrew the childhood conditioning of Saturday!!!
It’s the free day, the day with no obligations, the day we are most likely to resent having to do anything goal-oriented. No, she would say, don’t tell me you virtuously run 12 miles every Saturday because you ought to. You do it because it’s your own idea and you’re getting some personal satisfaction out of it – if it was a mere duty, you’d resent it.
Her theory was undoubtedly heavily influenced by Elizabeth Enright’s The Saturdays, one of the wonderful Melendy Family books from our childhood. We all adored those books. The Saturdays is about 4 siblings who all contribute their allowances to a common purse, so that each one of them gets a Saturday each month when they are rich and free and can do whatever they like.
We didn’t have allowances and our mob was much less organized than the Melendys. But it molded Kage’s ideas of all and any Saturdays, forever. Even when 36 Saturdays out of a year were spent doing historical Faires – maybe more so, then, despite the fact that we still didn’t get any allowances and the mob was even bigger … much more fun, though.
Years before school ended, one was firmly set in the calendrical rut. Monday through Friday are work days. Sunday is church or family or some other non-work obligation, and anyway: it is always overhung by the looming horror of Monday just beyond it. Saturday, though, is the party day, the adventure day, the Land of the Lotus Eater, the holiday. It’s the day that lasts forever.
Even when one is unemployed (or self-employed, as Kage succeeded in becoming) the cachet of Saturday remains. I mean, you know it’s actually Saturday … you find yourself sleeping in, or rising before dawn to drive into the mountains; you go antiquing, or stay in your pajamas and frankly loll. You indulge. The knowledge that it is Saturday gives one more license to recline on the couch with a favourite novel and the last of the Hershey’s Kisses. (Thanks, Kimberly!)
Of course, your idea of indulgence may require tons of physical labour – I have plenty of friends whose idylls involve anvils or adzes or skimming across San Francisco Bay at a 45-degree angle. Still, according to the Kage Baker Theory of Saturdays, whatever it is you choose to do is more fun because of the knowledge that it is a Saturday activity. That conditioned calendar in your head marks it in holiday red for you.
Four hundred odd words ago, I was going to say – hey, Dear Readers, it’s Saturday; I’m going back to bed. Everything is officially Blown Off. Then I got carried away with the whole Saturday thing, remembering Kage’s theorizing on the gravitational pull of the day. Sure, it’s a conditioned reflex, but it’s interesting.
It also appears that I have developed another conditioned reflex. It’s certainly what usually happened to Kage. She’d pontificate awhile on the holiday frame of mind, she’d recall a few book adventures, she’d get a fresh Coke … and then her eyes would go all distant and she’d turn back to her desk. And soon I would hear the tap of keys getting faster and faster, and I would know she was back on her 12-mile run: not because she had to – it was Saturday, after all – but because nothing pleased her so well.
And I would sigh happily and pick up my knitting and relax. But today – well, there’s more to write, isn’t there? I’ve got a fox terrier running down a beach with a length of gros grain ribbon for a leash – I don’t think that’s strong enough to work. There’s a badly beaten butler somewhere, and I don’t know if he’s dead or just battered; if he’s arranged tastefully on a pile of nets, or stuffed under a bathing machine. Elsewhere, I have a plague breaking out in a 5-star hotel, and a couple of nuns in very strange danger. And a vague idea about whole-body hearing is nipping at my heels. It’s just waiting for me. And I have all the gleeful time in the world to indulge myself with it.