The Psychology of Tuesday

Tuesday is Monday’s younger, bratty brother. It’s not quite as jarring since you know it’s coming. But it’s definitely just as tiring and a bit more defeating, since you can’t look forward to anything except it ALMOST being the middle of the week – but not quite.

When I wake up on a Tuesday morning, the hope that I’ll get cognizant and remember something good about the day to come, such as “It’s not gonna be too busy” or “Oh yeah we get free breakfast today” dies quickly and painfully. The realization that I have to get up and go through a whole entire day with nothing but three more days to greet me is staggering. Why does it get me each week? Just when I make it through Monday and feel the slight relief when Monday is finally put behind me, I recall that it won’t be any different the next day. Here’s the super bratty part, the real kick in the teeth. And I have yet to prove myself wrong about this, so clearly we can take what I’m about to say at face value:

Everyone and everything runs late on Tuesdays. Everything. You can go ahead and count on being at least five minutes behind because nothing will run on time and you will not be punctual, no matter how early you set your alarm, no matter how much you WANT to get somewhere on time (much less early – ha!).

Once upon a time when I lived on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and I had to take the God-awful 6 line, squeezing my way into spaces not fit for humans in order to ride downtown, this bit of knowledge or aha! moment hit me one Tuesday morning and I began noticing this hidden Matrix pattern. I started trying to find ways to get around it, but to no avail.

First and foremost, no matter how much I wanted to get in extra sleep on Monday night so I could feel slightly refreshed the next morning (is that even possible? I know NO ONE who feels refreshed on a Tuesday), I would fail miserably. Something inevitably comes up and I either end up staying up late and therefore oversleeping on Tuesday morning, OR I get up and am out the door on time feeling good about myself when I am slammed in the face with other people’s lateness making ME late. Case in point: if you want to arrive early to work for that 8am meeting you have and you usually would leave the house thirty minutes before to get there on time, give yourself a solid ten extra minutes to get there. Trust me on this. It doesn’t matter if you live in New York City, as I do, or if you face a typical suburban commute on the streets or highways. You will face thousands of others who are running late to work at that very moment and the extra traffic, the extra lateness, will affect you and you will just get swept up in the non-punctualness of the day.

The MTA worker who conducts the train either gets up late or runs into traffic himself to get to work, and the subway line that normally runs like clockwork suddenly becomes the train that is running a few minutes behind, thereby becoming that much fuller when everyone who is running late needs to crowd on that one train. Perhaps a girl who is on the go grabs breakfast and crams it down her throat on the subway platform. She gets on her train, gets queasy and throws up (I’ve seen it happen, people). Suddenly there is a medical issue on a train line and all the lines are backed up. Somehow, some way, you will be at least a solid five minutes late on any given Tuesday. If you do manage to survive your commute or are just an annoyingly perky person who arrives just on time, some event will take place that day that will cause you to stay late or be late or your delivery will be late or you will run into the one thing you need to be on time or run properly. And it. just. won’t.

My advice is to just give in and go with the flow. If you set your expectations to Very Low on Tuesday mornings as you get ready for the day, you will be pleasantly surprised at anything that goes your way. Oh, and one last thing: the psychology of Tuesday can also work to the effect of having something run perfectly on time even while you run late. I have actually run late, hoping against hope that the MTA worker overslept and that the train will be running late with me, only to get to the platform breathless and realize that I missed the damn thing by ten seconds. Being ten seconds off will now cost me seven extra minutes on the platform (hopefully only seven) and I will get to work at least five minutes late, as per uge.

Try to evade the dastardly cunning of Tuesday, I dare you. I think you will find it futile, as I have. You can only pray that Wednesday will be without vicissitudes.