OPINIONS

Lost at night, hungover in the morning

For all of the attention given to Friday and Saturday nights – the sporting events, dinners out with friends, various parties of various sizes – I still consider my favorite moment of the week to be Sunday morning, when I wake up, typically sleep-deprived and occasionally still feeling the effects of my beverage consumption from the night before.

Sure, the physiological effects of being tired and hungover can be a bit uncomfortable. But to me, there’s always been something very spiritual about those Sunday mornings, periods of time that often go unheralded in the college scene. They are moments of minimalism, devoid of the noise of a Friday or Saturday night, but also devoid of any need for such noise.

There’s a certain silent apathy that hangs over most Sunday mornings: in stark contrast to the previous few nights, there are no more people. (Seriously, there is never anyone around on Sunday morning.) They’re probably just at the library or out getting food, but I never actually see any of them leave the house. I simply wake up, and *poof*, everyone’s gone. The house is empty, and it’s fine. There’s no need for hellos or goodbyes on a Sunday morning. No one to meet up with, to make small talk with. No one to connect with, and no need to connect with anyone.

There is no music on Sunday mornings. No more alcohol, politics, sex, food. There’s no need for any of these things, either: no one to impress, no one to hit on, no song choices to be made, no dinner plans to worry about, no cameras to pose for.

It’s a mostly welcome sight. After a weekend of high Shakespearean social drama, BAC-measured escapism, endless laughter, grammatically incoherent text messages, many bodies being pressed up against other bodies and a lot of shitty, shitty beer, a morning of silence is practically enlightening.

There’s no need for clothes on most Sunday mornings. Wake, rise, shower, put on a pair of boxers and I’m ready for a day of sofa comatose. Fiddle with my homework, look out the window for long periods of time, waiting for some sort of cinematic epiphany. “Arrested Development” reruns: bliss.

I am always reminded of the brief moment in “The Sun Also Rises” when Hemingway’s protagonist, Jake Barnes, finally departs the chaotic fiesta at Pamplona for an intended few days of rest alone in San Sebastian, leaving behind a mess of emotions, scores of interpersonal drama and a few dead bulls. It is a fleeting instance of literal and metaphorical escape from the Lost Generation trauma that haunts most of the novel’s characters; it is a cleansing relief. In some ways, I feel as though the typical collegiate weekend follows a similar cycle: suffocating uproar followed by hallowed silence, howling adolescence fading into seventh-day rebirth.

Because I have concerns about Friday and Saturday. I wonder about alcohol, and why many of us, myself included, feel more comfortable and connected after a few drinks. I wonder about the kind of ways in which we measure ourselves, the colossal pressures under which we continue to crush each other. I wonder about the puritanical secrecy of it all, the great fear we have of potential employers stumbling upon our Facebook photos and discovering that we, indeed, really are just kids looking for connection and escapism in a modern collegiate and social culture that bombards us with endless opportunities and expectations. I wonder if I look good, or if God is real.

On Friday and Saturday nights, I worry about girls, and about my friends, and about whether I’ll ever be married or have kids or be successful or enlightened. I worry about taking funny photos, and then I worry about what it means that so many of our needs for social connectivity are filled via newsfeeds and photo albums. God. I could have been an engineer.

But on Sunday, I’m fine. Alone, empty, fully alive in the silent nothingness of it all. I wonder if I sound whiny? Probably.

It’s sad, really – Jake Barnes spends less than a day in San Sebastian before he must return to the side of Lady Brett Ashley, one of the most destructive femme fatales of modern English literature. And so the next Friday rolls around. But that just means we’re only a few days from Sunday, right?

It’s pretty to think so, at least.

This Friday night, and any night, really, John would love to hear from you at jhmurray@stanford.edu.

About John Murray

John Murray is a sophomore. He enjoys eating cheese and crackers. He misses his dog.
  • homonyms(ish) will bite you

    pretty sure you mean “hallowed”, not “hollowed”. feel free to remove this comment if/when it’s fixed.

  • John Murray

    Thanks for noticing/letting me know. No worries, we’ll let the comment stay (!)

  • John Driscoll ’76

    Enjoyable bit of nostalgia … The author is able to recall most of the prior evening’s events … So his hangovers should not be too bad

  • Nate

    I truly enjoyed this, thanks a lot.

  • Ryan

    This was one of the best articles i’ve ever read in this paper! nice job!

  • http://twitter.com/PeterMGunn Peter McDonald

    I’ve often felt the same way. Great stuff.

  • quomodo

    Love the tie ins to The Sun Also Rises. Your closing — perfect.