[This Commentary originally appeared in the October 12, 1989 issue of The Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel.]
Take a close look at the people you pass by every morning on the way to work. You’ll find most faces exhibit the same traits. I began my character study on the mindless Monday morning of last week (you know, the one where the cloudy gray dawn urged you to stay in bed until the last possible minute).
For years I have walked from the South Avenue Garage, through the Chase-Lincoln building, across the skyway (or is it the “shyway”), into and out of Midtown Mall before finally crossing Euclid Street and the reprieve of a solitary office. Facing people too early in the morning might lead to an embarrassing mistake (like forgetting their name). I’d rather first start in on some work before being sociable.
I am not alone. Most people look down or away from other people as they walk to work. As the week progresses, though, they are more inclined to make eye contact with passers-by.
That’s not all. Their very countenance changes with the days of the week.
Monday mornings – the worst day – brings swiftly walking workers, hurrying to their labors and avoiding all possible contact. With visions of the glorious freedom and relaxation of the weekend past dancing in his or her head, the typical person despises all that Monday mornings have come to mean. Like humble troglodytes, workers watch the ground beneath them as they move towards their job. Those who don’t look down carry dour blank faces, as though comatose. Apparently, the shock of Monday (and work) proved too much that morning.
On Tuesdays, one will notice a great deal of eye-rings. Undoubtedly, the Monday Night Football game had a rather exciting (and late) finish. People continue to look down and scurry (except for the ones with the eye-rings who, at best, mope along). Yet, a ray of hope shines as folks begin to actually talk in the elevator instead of staring lifelessly at the flashing numbers above the door. By the second day of the week, the average employee has come to accept work with benign tolerance. After all, where else would one get the money to have fun on the weekends?
Wednesdays provide the best opportunity to distinguish “half-empty” people from “half-full” people. The pessimists classify the midpoint of the week with Monday and Tuesday. They act accordingly, still upset about the previous weekend having ended, but not yet looking forward to the upcoming weekend. The optimists, on the other hand, call Wednesday “Happy, Happy, Hump Day,” signifying it as the gateway to the end of the week. They walk to work with a devious smile on their noggin.
With this kind of philosophical schism, I wouldn’t be surprised to find most fender-benders occur on Wednesday, which brings us to the third type of Wednesday face. That’s the one that no one sees because they come to work late. For some reasons, traffic jams frequently select Wednesday mornings to happen. Advice to the good readers of the Sentinel: Don’t oversleep on Wednesdays.
Elevator talk really starts on Thursday mornings. By the fourth day of the work week, the weekend approaches with magnificence. All eyes affix themselves to Saturday, as weekend planning begins in earnest. A furtive excitement fills the work place. (It’s subdued because you don’t want to let your boss onto the fact you really prefer leisure activities to pushing papers or assembling widgets.)
Count the number of smiling faces on a Thursday morning of your choice. The number would exceed the number of eyes you can even see on Monday mornings. (And remember, eyes have a natural two-to-one advantage over smiles.) You can be sure these people aren’t just looking forward to the newest Cosby episode.
Fridays surpass all the other days of the week combined. A fervent frivolity fills mankind. “Forget the next eight hours,” said someone I nearly walked into, “the weekend is here!” Elevator conversation explodes. In fact, I would be willing to bet that even without the cables the hot air alone would cause the cars to rise on Friday mornings. (Likewise, on Friday evenings, the cables can barely carry the weight of the inordinate number of individuals who pile into elevators at exactly five o’clock.)
Different days, different faces. Hmm, if you really thought about it and became a good face reader, you might never have need for a calendar again.
[What is this and why is here? See Interested in Discovering My Time Machine? for more details.]