On Sundays, I am sad. My toaster breaks on Sundays and I must scrape the burn into the bin before I lather my toast in Lurpack’s best. Throughout the week, my floor-drobe grows into a mountain of spoiled evenings and rushed coffee breaks and by Sunday I must tackle the problem head on. On Sundays, my washing machine whirs and sputters and groans until lift off, orbiting the planet with my M&S knickers swirling around inside its stomach. On Sundays, I air my clean laundry to the neighbours and chase squirrels away from bird feeders. After hoovering the hallway clear of debris from Storm Deborah that blows through the crack at the bottom of my door, I read the first two pages of Emma. By the time the sun sets, I am watching the squirrels pole-dance outside my kitchen window and it’s time to go to bed.
On Mondays, I am tired. My eyelids sag in a glass half empty slump, blocking out the top half of the world, including Jerry’s head, but sadly not Cathy’s. On Mondays, Cathy likes to show me pictures of her weekend antics with her ferret. On Sundays they go on bike rides. On Mondays I make excel spreadsheets of the company’s expenditure for the previous week, including Jerry’s lunchtime snack fix of Tesco’s own vodka and a packet of Hula Hoops which he pays for with the company card. At lunchtime, I eat salad. Or lettuce, to be precise. At home-time, I drink wine. At dinnertime, I drink rum.
On Tuesdays, I am strong. Tuesdays begin with inter-departmental meetings and I stomp into the room armed with an overly priced flipchart and a PowerPoint clicker. I stand – blouse ironed by the steam of my morning shower, skirt ironed by gravity and large thighs – confident in my colour-schemed pie charts (albeit with no mention of Jerry’s lunch choices). There we converse about how the company will implement the new hipster fad of ‘bird table meetings’, with the first meeting scheduled for next Monday. Cathy has drawn up a preliminary agenda: 13 minutes on how to remove the ‘grit’ from the ‘system’ (translation: who’s getting fired that week); 18 minutes on ‘the big rocks’ of the week; 9 minutes on ‘the little rocks’; 6 minutes recapping the ‘offers and the asks’ for the week ahead; 4 minutes for a quick stretch; 30 seconds for meditation. In Thursday inter-departmental meetings I nod and ooo and yes! my way until 12.25pm. On exiting, I resist the urge to down an entire bottle of wine. For lunch, I eat a niçoise salad – although I can never actually remember what goes into a niçoise salad – and I’m home by 6pm. Jim, my Siamese cat, pees on the floor of my kitchen, but I am poised with a squirty bottle of Dettol and an old rag and my time for ridding the house of the smell of cat urine is down to 80 seconds. On Tuesday evenings, I watch the Great British Bake Off and eat a whole pack of Iced Buns from Tesco Express.
On Wednesdays, I am optimistic. I spend my morning searching through Indeed.co.uk, Reed.co.uk, cv-library.co.uk, totaljobs.com, careerbuilder.com and, the granddaddy, LinkedIn.com. I spend my lunch – whilst eating a tuna melt and managing not to drop a blob of cheesy tuna on my salmon trousers – flipping through The Times. On Wednesday afternoons, I say things like “did you hear about the incredible Malaysian boy who single-handedly lifted a 100 pound cement block that was crushing his father?” and “did you hear that the NHS will be prescribing social activities to the elderly? Loneliness is such a plague.” On Wednesday’s, I wink at the cute girl in the café and tell Jerry that his toupée looks nice. On Wednesday evenings I read two chapters of Emma and microwave an M&S lasagne for one.
On Thursdays, I am hateful. I drop cheesy tuna on my grey dress, a piece of hair refuses to comply with my attempts to French plait and Jerry loads my desk with jobs that Cathy should be doing but Cathy is on sick leave. Cathy isn’t ill, her ferret is. With tonsillitis. When I get home, I lay with Jim in a burrito of sadness, a cocoon of bitter hatred, an enchilada of self-loathing (i.e tightly wrapped in a bright pink, Groovy Chicks blanket from 1997) and watch back-to-back re-runs of The Big Bang Theory on E4. On Thursdays, I go through my CV and add previous job roles such as ‘MASSIVE LOSER AT STUPID COMPANY RUN BY MAN WITH TOUPÉE’ and skills such as ‘knows how to suck’.
On Fridays, I am elated. My French plait forms perfectly, my new power pants (80s style flared trousers with maroon pinstripes) arrive before I leave the house and Jerry lets me ‘delegate’ a pile of work to an intern on the floor below. For lunch, I eat a steak burrito with sour cream, cheese, pico de gallo, guacamole (even though it’s 80p extra), white rice and black beans. Or a Greggs BLT meal deal. Or a chocolate crepe from a stall in the park. Or all three. On Fridays, I take up smoking again so that I can take a break every hour instead of sneaking my phone into the toilet like usual. Cathy bought me some Imodium this week. On Fridays, I flick through the work not ‘delegated’ to the intern and pick only the most enjoyable tasks, such as tracking the locations of the company cars in order to issue travel reimbursements but actually to spy on where Jerry has been going after work on Thursdays (a salsa dancing class, according to Google). On Friday evenings, and I eat Havana Club and Jerk BBQ Pork Ribs and Cheesy Butternut Squash Maracana whilst gulping 2-for-1 Strawberry Caipirinhas at Las Iguanas with Jenny and Steph from our partner firms. We stumble through the Cathedral Green and buy three bottles of wine from the Tesco on the corner then run for the train. Once in my apartment, we trade stories of our alcoholic bosses. Jenny’s boss, Helen, has a gilded picture frame on her desk displaying a picture of her triplets graduating from the same medical school. Taped to the back of the frame is a flask designed to look like a mini hairbrush. Steph’s boss has a large black umbrella hung on a hook beside his framed degree certificates. Only Steph knows that Captain Morgan is sloshing around inside the handle.
On Saturdays, I am calm. I paint my nails. I put on a face mask. I call my mum. I call my dad. I check the time in Sydney and call my brother. I call Caitlin, his wife, for a real update on how Matt is doing. I put my phone on silent and ignore all the other messages as that is enough for one week.