No Dull Topics: Quiet Sunday Afternoons

“There are no dull subjects, just dull writers.”

– said your pick of five writers

As they say: challenge accepted. Once a week, as intrepid writers and readers, we will test the limits of boredom and the meaning of dull. We will establish whether, indeed, there are No Dull Topics.

How? With your help! Each Sunday, head over to the Skeleton At The Feast Facebook page to submit your dullest topic idea. What does dull mean? PG, and no more than three words including hyphens. The last comment as of 8 a.m. CT Tuesday morning is next week’s No Dull Subject! My role? To turn it into an entertainingly readable post.

Special thanks to Kasey Ann Khaghany for this week’s topic, “Quiet Sunday Afternoons.”

“School night.” It’s that dreaded blight of childhood, death knell of the fun that is somehow always just getting started when the announcement is made. On the far side of a “school night” lurks a…School Day. (Please, imagine Cerberus.)

Children are smart, so it doesn’t take long for them to realize: when “tomorrow” is the place you want to avoid, “today” is the best place to stay. And of all the places or times to practice this slowing-down of time, this temporal clinginess, Sunday afternoon is the pinnacle.

Let us start by considering its features. It is its own unique creature within the week, at once both weekend and prelude to a “school night.” Sunday afternoon begins when lunch is finished and the adults look around for places to nap. Depending on the time of year and the century, this is the cue for children to a) escape outside or b) escape to their rooms. Once everyone under 18 (or still enrolled in an educational institution – whichever is still in effect) is safely in position, the Temporal Deceleration Campaign can begin. 

Certain activities are more conducive towards slowing time. One of the great classics – The Cloud Watcher – requires little more than a comfortable outdoor spot devoid of fire ants. One sits; one leans back; one gazes skyward. Traditionally, practitioners begin by looking for shapes in the clouds, but the experienced Cloud Watcher can gain equal enlightenment from an empty blue sky. As one’s mind drifts upwards, away from Earth’s gravity, one begins to see the laws of time and nature as illusory. Mortality and eternity are both sides of the same coin. There is no “today;” there is no “tomorrow.” There is no “school” – for what can be taught that does not lead to greater truth than this? 

The Cloud Watcher may eventually transition into The Napper. The Napper requires the same form as The Cloud Watcher, except the eyes are closed. If the gaze is instead transferred to contemplation of a book, the form becomes The Bookworm. 

Another classic activity is The Hide & Seek. This performance-based form requires a minimum of two practitioners, but there is no upward limit on the number who may participate. One practitioner takes on the guise of Tomorrow (“It”). The other participants enact Today’s Fleeting Seconds. The contest depends on Tomorrow finding all remnants of Today. The allegorical nature of this form quickly becomes apparent to the perceptive observer. 

The objective observer may wonder – what is the point of this struggle? What is the point of willfully slowing the transition of today into tomorrow, when tomorrow will always come? 

It is true that tomorrow will always come. It is also true that children will go to school, a year here and a year there. One quiet Sunday afternoon, they will find themselves staying with the adults after lunch. They will say, “another quiet Sunday afternoon,” though it is just the first of many for them, and look for a place to take a nap. 

All children know this. They understand the meaning of “a school night” is more than “tomorrow is a school day.” The point of slowing time is to make just a little space, a little extra time, to make peace with that destiny. By experiencing the slowness of time with determination and focus, one creates memories. 

And memories, as the adults know, are the best part of a quiet Sunday afternoon. 

Artist Glen Baxter clearly understood the allure of the quiet Sunday afternoon. I do not own this image, all credit belongs to the artist.

Published by Marushka

I dream curiosity and write words that change brains.

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