Congratulations, Vanessa Bayer. In addition to having the best damn Rachel from Friends impression I’ve ever heard, you’re the only honest person in the New York Times’ Sunday Routine feature. Vanessa orders in food, catches up on her DVR,
naps meditates, and earned her very own New York times headline calling her ‘very lazy.’
If this sounds unexceptional to you, you probably aren’t a dedicated hate-reader of The Sunday Routine. For the past several years, famous, accomplished, or upwardly mobile New Yorkers have chronicled their unrealistically busy Sundays in this feature. I think that by now, it has overtaken the Vows section as the most infuriating – yet perversely entertaining – part of the Times.
Here’s a typical Sunday Routine. It’ll be about, let’s say, Marika and Joel. She’s a costume historian and he’s the C.O.O. of an artisan paper startup. Marika gets up at 5 for sunrise yoga: “as I move through my asanas, the sun warms my heart chakra until I, too, radiate light.” (Ed. note: she does not.) Meanwhile, Joel goes for a long jog through a neighborhood where people are doing a blue-collar job. He says something supportive but kind of condescending about them. Then Marika and Joel pick up the paper and go back home to read it in bed with some French press coffee that Joel grabbed from the roasters on the way back from his jog. By about 7, the kids start waking up and pile into their bed and they just all hang out together as a family. “This is secretly my favorite time of the whole week,” Marika says. (Ed. note: who was watching the kids during the run and yoga? Trick question. Marika and Joel don’t really do any of this every Sunday. It’s a collection of things they HAVE done before, compiled into one upwardly mobile day.) The whole family enjoys a big crepe breakfast that Joel makes every week. Meanwhile, Marika runs around the corner to pick up a few cartons of cold-pressed juice. By 8:00, it’s time to go to the park, where their two less-smart kids ride European-looking bicycles and their smart kid plays chess with a wise old man who teaches him about life. This is when Marika likes to set up on the grass and practice her watercolors. Before they know it, it’s 9:15 and time to head to the practice of an underprivileged youth jazz ensemble that Joel mentors. Sometimes Marika comes along – she arranges most of the pieces – but other times, she takes the kids to their favorite Japanese movie house. We’re not even at 10 AM yet. It continues like that until Marika and Joel do some “journaling” and collapse into a deep slumber at 11:30PM.
I like my Sundays to be a little productive, plus I’m terrible at sitting still for more than 20 minutes, but I’ve never shoehorned so much into my Sunday routine. But if you told me you did any of the following Sunday activities on the regular, I’d believe you:
- Cleaning. Because even though we all know we’re supposed to do one or two tasks every day so we never have to do a dedicated cleaning session, that never happens and all of a sudden my living room is coated in a thick blanket of dog hair (poor thing, I don’t know how she isn’t bald) and cat hair (total jerk, pretty sure she’s figured out how to shed on purpose).
- One household task that ends up taking all day. For instance, this week I went to the public market and bought flowers. Then there was an antique vendor there with the perfect bed for my guest room/office. So I dropped the plants off at home and went back for the bed. THEN I needed potting soil, which took me to the garden store. Then my nieces and nephews were over and my niece got so covered in dirt and seeds that, with enough light and water, she will be a twenty pound walking bean farm within 8-10 days. Anyway. That took my whole damn day. It isn’t always flowers. Sometimes it’s putting a shelf together, or going through your closet, or tidying the basement. Same result.
- Catch Up On DVR. I can’t be the only one who treats catching up on TV as an actual task on my to-do list? Plus Sunday’s a good day for it, so you don’t end up two weeks behind on anything.
- Have a terrible time grocery shopping. Everyone shops on Saturdays and Sundays. That’s what I tell myself, grumbling, every week when I do my grocery shopping on the weekend, as though I’m not part of the problem myself. The good thing is that Saturdays and Sundays are usually the free sample days. Yes, I am willing to put on a performance of being interested in whatever they’re selling long enough to get a sample. I think this is one of those “there are two kinds of people in this world” thingies, and I will never be that person who can just casually grab a paper cup off the sample cart and keep walking. Sometimes I even buy things I don’t want because I’ve engaged for too long. I’m eating some PopCorners right now thanks to the lady at the sample cart. What are PopCorners? Not sure exactly! They’re like if you made chips out of crushed popcorn from a movie theater floor, kind of. They’re not very good!
- Feel guilty while hanging out with my dog. Sometimes on a Sunday I walk my dog, or play catch, and feel guilty because I know Monday is coming but she doesn’t. If you have children, feel free to substitute ‘feel guilty while hanging out with my kid.’
- Read a book on my porch. But really, watch the neighbors across the street. Their Sunday routine involves getting very dressed up for church, the mom yelling at the kids a lot until they’re in the car, coming back hours later, then playing sports outdoors.
- Some weird existential stuff. What am I doing with my life? Does it even matter – the universe is so large and time is so vast? Best case scenario, I have lived 1/3 of my life already. Getting to live the amount I have two times again doesn’t feel like enough. Maybe people will be living a really long time when I’m old and I won’t have to worry about it. Do I like my job? What would it be like if I didn’t have to work? – These are things that don’t plague me at all, except for like 5 minutes on a Sunday. That’s why they have church on Sundays. Because that’s when everyone has their weird existential stuff. Yet somehow ‘weird existential stuff’ never shows up in the Sunday routine.
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