Boring Mondays filled with fun

When weeks are somehow just as surprising as weekends

This morning, I got a haircut at the first place that showed up on Google when I typed in “haircut.” When I took off my beanie at the salon to reveal unwashed locks, in all of their split-ended glory, the hair stylist furrowed her perfectly-shaped brows.

“It’s greasy at the roots but really dry in the back,” she said. Rather than feel embarrassed, I was oddly proud of the stylist’s awe in my hair’s ability to emulate two contradictory states of being. Because truthfully, a lot about life as a college student feels like a contradiction.

Like how a lot of the time, it seems like you can communicate more directly and honestly through text messaging than through face-to-face interaction. Or how you raise your hand in discussion even though you have nothing to say, just because you need the participation points. Or if your lease explicitly prohibits pets in the house you’re renting, but you get a cat anyway — speaking hypothetically, of course, not from personal experience.

The latest phenomenon I’ve noticed is how the weekdays, though driven by predictable routines, can somehow feel just as exciting as the weekends.

The weekends are always different. Sure, there are certain fixtures of my life from Friday to Sunday — participating in extensive Netflix viewing of “Bojack Horseman,” going to bed at 3 a.m. and spending Sunday hyped on Greenberry’s iced coffees sweetened with four sugar packets each. But otherwise, the bookends of the week carry great potential for experiences that don’t follow the weekday scripts.

Last Friday, with Hurricane Matthew menacing the lower Atlantic states, I made a choice — which was, in practical terms, stupid — to drive to Virginia Beach in the sedan of a virtuous human who let me borrow it for the weekend. I drove in elation through the drizzle with the windows down to see two people — my 99-year-old grandmother and the daughter of hers I call “Mom,” the latter of whom had flown across the country to hold down the house while my aunt was away on a trip.

That weekend was a reminder that schoolwork is a single, tiny part of a life, especially one that might last 99 years. I abruptly remembered that the amount I care about an essay grade will never matter as much as the amount I care about those two people. The weekend was the perfect respite from the beckonings of GroupMe threads, event invitations and email listservs.

Then came this past weekend. Sunday morning came with the plan of hiking Humpback. There we were, a caravan of three cars at six in the morning, making our way down the interstate beneath the full moon. Then a phone in the first car started ringing, and the caller had some news. The third car had struck a deer — a big buck with antlers, no less — busting the car. Climbing Humpback wasn’t going to happen after all.

The driver and passengers were all okay, and the car wasn’t totaled. But the scenario was bizarre. As I sat in a diner later that morning, poking at an omelet as big as the plate, it struck me how accidental the morning’s circumstances were.

Compare these weekends to an average week. Meetings at the same time as every other week. Reading assignments and discussions. Volunteering at 2 p.m. Meal swipes at the Pav. Mounds of expected, obligatory homework and extracurricular activities. How, then, does it seem that even seeming tedium can be the source of excitement?

Maybe it’s the constant flurry of activity, but weekdays come with the most surprises. The barrage of duties and opportunities we’re faced with creates a new combination of situations everyday.

It makes little sense to expect something monumental, like meeting up with family members in a city thousands of miles from your hometown or — on the way sadder side of the spectrum — hitting a deer, will happen everyday. Instead of wondrous events, what define the average week in the life are the small pieces of any given day.

You can call me easily excited, but it seems like from a weekday can spring just as much awe as any adventure-filled weekend. I spotted my RA from first year the other day walking down the street, and it was the best random run-in I could have had. An hour later, I opened a library book to find the scrawled handwritten name of U.Va.’s first president — Edwin Alderman, the guy the library was named after. Then, I found a pen on the Lawn. Really, it was great — my favorite ballpoint had just run out of ink, and now I have another. Granted, these are risibly little things, but they pile up throughout the week. I love this about U.Va. — someone or something finds a way to surprise me, at least every hour.

No weekday, though filled with the same regimen, resembles another. This isn’t the case for every place. I’ve felt before in life that days have blended together, resulting in an indefinable blob of time. But not at U.Va. Here, what should be a boring Monday can bring as much wonder as a wild weekend. Another thing about this place that seems contradictory but is nonetheless genuine. Like my hair.

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