What does it mean to have a day off? I keep stumbling on the word "off," which drags behind it darkness and quiet and brokenness -all these things rattling behind my vacation like tin cans on strings. If I'm off, what part of me is down for the count?
The easiest answer is my working self, but that answer -even the idea that I have a working self, an obedient inflatable office version that blows up 8AM Monday and folds itself neatly up 5 PM Friday- has become increasingly problematic the deeper I get into this mess that is twenty-first-century adulthood. Only one of my jobs has anything remotely akin to an on/off switch. The rest are ravening maws or greater or lesser hunger. And then there's motherhood, which is, to put it badly, an endless grind.
This is the paragraph in which I must earnestly slather sugar on what I just wrote in order to sweeten it to the point of social palatability. And yes, there are enormous rewards to motherhood, rewards I would never want to forego, but I'm perverse enough, and stubborn enough, to want to tell you the truth, so: endless grind.
But I'm off today. The on-and-off job is in the upright and locked position. The kid is in daycare, guilt bedamened. And I've forbidden myself from offering this particular stretch of hours to the hungry hydra of self-employment.
I'm off. A word that turns out to mean nothing more -or less- than space to make light.