Week’s End: A Respite From the Daily Grind

In Mexico, people actually relax on Saturday & Sunday

It’s Sunday morning as I sit down to write this; early enough that the doves are still cooing in welcome to the day and the summer sun is not yet high enough here in my patio to drive me inside to a cooler spot. I watch as a small iguana carefully pads across the brick path, senses me and then scurries away into the plants nearby. It’s quiet and peaceful – even though I’m in the heart of the Centro Historico on a well-traveled street – and a relief for me after a busy week.

I’m thinking about a new friend’s remark about retirement (“You probably don’t have weekends, do you?!” he’d said with a smile) and it has me thinking: Do I?! Is every day the same anymore, without an office to go to?

Even though I’m not working per se anymore (although promoting this book is keeping me very busy!) I have to say my weekends are nevertheless notably different than the rest of the week. Come Friday afternoon, I definitely feel like it’s the “end” of the week, I’m sure a result of so many years of working M-F, 9-5. But more than that, it’s also because here in Mazatlán where I live, weekends have a special feel to them. The sense of relaxation – and of not working – is tangible. My guess is that it’s a cultural thing, and probably the same throughout the country. Although in certain situations it seems the Mexican culture doesn’t value time (all those hours spent waiting in line at the bank or phone company, for example) on the other hand it does treat family time with the utmost respect, and people take their time off seriously.

Some of you may remember Sundays in the 1960s – that’s kind of what it’s like here. What I mean is that weekend mornings, as noted above, are noticeably quiet, so quiet; traffic is stilled; there are less public buses and folks are just home with their families, getting ready for church or a day of leisure or whatever they want to do besides work. During the week, coffee shops and cafés are busy starting at 7 or 7:30; on weekends, it’s more like 10 when most people arrive, in family groups with everyone from Grandma or even Great-Grandma to the newest tiny baby. The quiet is so noticeable it reminds you that it IS Sunday, the one day off for most working people (Mexico has a 5-1/2 day work week) when they can sleep in, spend time with their kids and extended family, tend to their homes or do errands and shopping.

For me, it’s a very different energy than the rest of the week, when I hear the day starting with traffic, people, vendors, et al.  And when I’m in the States, it seems Saturdays and Sundays are packed with activity: exercise classes or commitments, brunch, lunch and dinner dates; frantic errands around the house or carefully scheduled get-togethers with friends. Even now, I have a hard time reaching some stateside friends by phone because they are always so busy – even on the weekends.

So, yes, I do have weekends, and I’m glad of it. They remind me to stop, slow down and remember that I’m a “human being” instead of a “human doing.” That I don’t really have to accomplish anything today, and can just be happy to be alive. Which is a good thing – especially on Sundays.

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