“For growing numbers of people the weekend is an emotional wilderness where interaction is minimal and social life non-existent. What can be done to break this toxic cycle?”
“I wake up on a Saturday and feel down. It’s a struggle to pull myself out of bed if I have nothing planned.” – Illustration: Monika Jurczyk/The Guardian
by Paula Cocozza
“On Saturday morning, Peter got up and went to the supermarket. He carried his shopping home, and took care of his laundry and ironing. In the afternoon, he browsed a few record stores and later he cooked himself dinner; always something adventurous on a Saturday night. Afterwards, he hit Netflix. And in all those hours, in common with many of Peter’s Saturdays, not to mention his Sundays, he had no meaningful interaction with another human being. ‘The only person I spoke to,’ he says, ‘was the lady who came over to verify my bottles of beer at the supermarket self-checkout.’
“During the week, Peter, 62, is too busy to be lonely. His commute from Brighton to London means that his working life is ‘a tunnel’ he enters on a Monday and from which no daylight is glimpsed until Friday. But just when Peter re-emerges, he is stymied by an overwhelming sense of loneliness. Instead of providing respite from the stress of office life, a chance to reconnect with family and friends, the weekend looms as a vast emotional and social wilderness that must be traversed before work takes hold again.
“Peter dreads the weekend.”