I remember when we used to go grocery shopping right after church1. One of the three grocery stores in town was open on Sundays, at least until one in the afternoon. There was a gas station that was open on Sundays, and 7-11 only had truncated hours. All that was left was the hardware store, which apparently did thriving business on Sundays.
You can try to tell me it had something to do with the sabbath, but I don't buy it. Our primary reason for visiting the gas station on Sundays2 was to buy gas for the lawn mower. Anything we needed from the hardware store — sandpaper, paint, saw blades, lumber — pretty clearly wasn't intended for a day of rest. It might have been, if someone considering the use of such materials restful or recreational had plans for them, but since I was generally the one who had to paint the porch3, prune the trees, or whatever other routine tasks there were to be done, I can attest they weren't recreational. (I still don't consider them recreational, although I would much rather repaint the porch or lop out a mulberry tree than mop the kitchen floor!) It was tradition, and just as semi-non-denominational as the Christmases we're told to accept as basically secular these days.
By five o'clock, everything was closed, even the 7-11 where I bought my comic books for 30¢ each. I was partial to The Avengers4 and Captain Marvel, but bought the occasional Ghost Rider.
It was restful.
You knew there was some time during the week when nothing was happening.
Not anymore. And while I admit it's convenient being able to run out for a gallon of milk or a bottle of ibuprofen at half past midnight on a Sunday night, there's a sort of healthy innocence that we've lost with that convenience. It was the weekend! Fuck off, goof around! Monday was the start of another week! Now, the week has no end, and working on Sunday is perfectly normal. The weekend is "celebrated" with a frenetic desperation.
I've been working second shift about an hour away. I have Monday off. If they give me the choice of working Saturday, I'll jump at it, since I could use the hours. Sometimes they have Sunday hours, too, and if they offer them this week I'll take them.
1Yes, once upon a time I was a Christian. You don't want to know how devout. But even after I wasn't, I was still too young to do anything other than bend to parental dictates.
2And by "our" I mean "my," riding past a couple of closed stations on my bicycle, with a 2½ gal. gas can balanced on my knees. They did not yet require one to be 16 to pump gas.
3Scraping it first, of course!
4At the time, publicly admitting to knowing the name of even one Avenger was grounds for endless playground torment5, just like admitting to watching Dr. Who.
5Never enough, though, to discourage fantasies about Natasha Romanoff, either as a role model or as a an object of preadolescent admiration!
Current Music: Bitesize, Sophomore Slump