How we spend those coveted hours between Friday night and Monday morning
Saturday mornings are sacred. Not in a religious way, but in a making-space-and-time-for-myself way. They’ve also become a bit ritualized. The apartment needs to be clean (hello, vacuuming party on Friday night). I must have access to either a donut or a really good bagel and a cup of coffee. Also, the person who delivers the New York Times better not forget mine. Nirvana is achieved (this is sounding religious, isn’t it…) as soon as I’m sitting on the couch with my donut and coffee, admiring the clean floor and reading something for fun — whether it’s book reviews or a novel that’s been sitting unread all week under a pile of work stuff. Afterwards, I’ll get up, run around, do work and go places — but everything is much more manageable if I start by making that time and space for myself.
When you’re trying to carve out a niche for yourself as a writer, actor, producer, reliable employee, devoted boyfriend and savvy New Yorker all at the same time, the question of “What are you doing this weekend?” sounds more like a personal itinerary check than a friendly inquiry. For me, the weekend has always been a chance to play catch up. While I devote a considerable amount of time during the week to going on auditions, polishing story drafts and mailing play submissions to every corner of the Earth, the weekend is my time to do all the things I wasn’t cognizant enough to get through the first time around. We need a rewrite of the play draft for the show we’re doing next Spring? Add it to the list. You’ve still got 200 pages to go in Infinite Jest? Add it to the list. Haven’t been to the gym since Wednesday? Add it to the list. Only running on five hours of sleep since Thursday? Put that at the top of the list. The weekend is also a moment to catch my breath and remember to enjoy living in such an amazing city — as well as a dozen other things.
While 9-to-5ers are enjoying their mimosas and Bloody Marys on weekend mornings, I’m usually gearing up to go to work. For the most part, I prefer it that way. I’m willing to put up with the annoying parts of working on the weekend — like subway maintenance that disturbs my commute and not being able to see my friends with office jobs — because of what I get in return. The benefits of having weekdays off far outweigh what I lose out on. I get to run my errands while everyone else is at work. If I’m so inclined, I can have a leisurely lunch on a Monday afternoon. I don’t have to wait five days for a day off. While I’m sure there are people who would hate not having the stability of the same two days off every week, I don’t mind it. I like the flexible schedule and the ability to sometimes drink a beer at 3 in the afternoon on a Wednesday if I’m feeling like it. It also makes those rare Saturday or Sundays off feel all the more special. When I am able to go to brunch with friends or stick to my neighborhood on the weekend, I appreciate it so much more than those who can do that all the time.
My weekends are sacred time. I don’t work on projects or do things I don’t want to do. Beginning Friday night and continuing through Sunday afternoon I might read, see a movie, volunteer, attend a festival, or watch Netflix on my couch, but I don’t do any serious housework or writing. I love getting up early to work out on the weekends, when I’m not already exhausted from a day at the office. While my husband is still asleep, I love getting coffee and reading on my Kindle after my workout. I love when I come home to find him waking up and we figure out how to spend the day together. Even when I’m unhappy or worried about something in my professional life, keeping my weekends separate from my week reminds me of all the wonderful things in my life that are still there.
When I first moved to Los Angeles and started working at a restaurant, I quickly became accustomed to the fact that weekends and holidays would never be the same as long as I worked in the service industry. Then, I married an Israeli drummer and I realized my old idea of weekends would never exist again. Growing up as a typical suburbanite American kid, weekends were Saturdays and Sundays when Daddy was off from work and we weren’t in school. They consisted of pizza on Friday nights, family time and arriving late to church on Sundays. Across the world, my husband’s family was preparing traditional Yemenite Shabbat dinners on Friday nights and everyone was back to work on Sundays. The pepperoni pizza my family ate on Fridays never existed in his world and all I knew about being Kosher was eating dill pickles. Throw in the fact that we’re both artists and you have a very untraditional marriage, with very untraditional weekends. Between the two of us dealing with shows, rehearsals, classes, workshops, auditions and my day job, weekends barely even exist and we couldn’t be more grateful. Who needs a “weekend” when you’re doing what you love? Our weeks are full of supporting one another’s art. When a rare Monday off does occur, no one else is at the beach to bother us and we never have to wait for a table at our favorite sushi restaurant. Plus, we don’t have a “nine to five” to get to in the mornings, so we can hang out as long as we want.
The weekend exists for me as a singular day because of my weekend job. I have to pack a whole lot of meaning into that one day. I organize my weekend like one long run on sentence, which can be as exhausting as it is to read Howl in as few breaths as possible. Keeping this in mind, I think spending time with good friends and accomplishing major goals means more than the menial tasks you need to get done to maintain your life (like laundry…I swear I’ll do it next weekend!) My most recent weekend played out as follows:
9 a.m. Ran my first ever 10K race
10 a.m. Finished said race
11:30 a.m. Celebrated by eating nearly an entire meal at Cheesecake Factory
2:30 p.m Put final plans together for a class on urban foraging and simple syrups I’m co-teaching this coming week
4:30 p.m. Went to D.C.’s once a year Vegetarian Food Festival with my new neighbor
7 p.m. Celebrated friend’s birthday with a grill party at her house
11 p.m. Celebrated the arrival of autumn at another grill party.
12 a.m. Fell asleep for work earlier than usual. I had to walk my friend’s dog first thing in the morning, sore legs and all.
Every Saturday night since June, I’ve been go-go dancing. I didn’t always know where, but it was always guaranteed I’d be dancing. Saturday was my most regular night of the week, while Thursdays and Fridays rotated. However, this weekend I got to experience my other love. Considering I’m never home, Friday was spent in front of the TV watching episodes of The X Factor. Saturday was spent searching for a class 10 memory card, charging up extra batteries and buying an LED light for a Canon SLR. Saturday night was spent photographing and recording a birthday party celebration at Manor on Washington. While I still couldn’t get away from the nightclub atmosphere, at least I got paid to do something other than dancing. After an eventful night, I finally went to sleep at five in the morning. This almost became the first weekend I didn’t go-go dance all summer, but my title was saved. Sunday began with editing the birthday video and ended with an unexpected two hour dancing shift that night.
Since moving to L.A. in June, my weekends had mostly been about relaxing and exploring. I’d sleep in, check my email maybe once, sun bathe on the roof and run any necessary errands before the entertainment industry rat race began again on Monday. September, however, has been different. At the insistence of a coworker, I’ve unwillingly signed up for a 30 day Bikram yoga challenge (that is, 30 classes in 30 days). What that means is that my September weekends have gone from relaxing mini-vacations to self-inflicted, self-discipline-filled yoga torture sessions. Just in case something comes up midweek, I try to do a few extra classes on Saturday and Sunday. I make the 20 minute drive to the Santa Monica studio a half a dozen times between two days and I’m constantly doing laundry (I don’t want my work out clothes to stink up the hamper!). I understand that this particular yoga challenge is unique to me, but I think everyone can relate to a time in which they’ve pushed themselves to achieve something. It’s been difficult, time-consuming and weekend-robbing, but I’m sure that once I’m through it I’ll look back on these oddly stressful September weekends and be proud.
Growing up, Sundays were a special time. They were my dad’s only day off each week, so in the mornings he’d make us breakfast and play some music on the stereo. As we got older this started to fade and officially ended when I started working in high school. I’ve worked almost every Friday, Saturday and Sunday since. This used to bother me, but I’ve realized it’s a blessing in disguise. I save a lot of money, sanity and liver function by not going out with the crowds. When I go to a movie, it’s usually quiet. When I see friends, we can hear each other talk. When I go out to eat, there isn’t a wait list. Plus, most of our writers honor the traditional weekend schedule, so at least my web site work is minimal. In recent years, Sunday nights and Mondays became my guaranteed free time. I’d collapse onto the couch and watch all the Sunday night shows, sleep in and enjoy a mutual day off with Katie. Now that I’m returning to the ranks of management, at a restaurant in the early stages of staffing and organization, this may have to change. My week will technically never end. Relaxation will come when I can get it — a random Wednesday, a late night episode marathon session, an hour between duties spent reading outside. I’ll be fine as long as I can catch these moments every once in a while, because when I do get them, they’ll be especially sweet.