- The Archer
I like to go out for Shabbos. I'm not a "scene" girl. A "scene" is what happens in Washington Heights and the Upper West Side and Crown Heights and Flatbush where boys and girls get together for a meal. People bring different dishes and there's an ice breaker and you get to meet new people. I can handle meals like that...sometimes. If I have a book. And a pillow.
But my love language is quality time which doesn't translate well to crowds. I like more intimate settings. And I am blessed to have a lot of friends and they are all blessed to have found their spouses so I have lots of places to go for shabbos where I can enjoy the company of a family, play with some kids, and relax and feel normal for a few minutes.
But then there's motzei shabbos.
Most of my friends offer for me to stay till Sunday. I rarely take them up on this because I like to wake up in my own bed on Sunday morning and binge 8 hours of televisio-I mean-go to the gym and cook for the week and act like a functioning human adult.
So I commute home on motzei shabbos. From Monsey and New Rochelle and Brooklyn and Queens and 5 Towns and Far Rockaway and West Hempstead and Teaneck and Passaic and the other places in New Jersey that think they are real places but aren't.
Always, there's a problem. A train line broken down or a bus stuck on the bridge because a tractor trailer decided to unload its cargo on the highway. So the commute is always long and since it's Saturday there are almost always drunk people.
I'm fine. I have my book. I'm catching up on Instagram on what a 12 year old gymnast did with her Saturday and what Jesus quote she uses to caption it. I'm good.
But there's this horrible sadness to Saturday nights I can't get past.
There's a few sides to it.
Side #1: As Shabbos goes away and I leave the family I was with, tucked up together in their tiny apartment (unless it's Jersey), I'm jealous. I want a shabbos with a family of my own. I both want my mommy to tuck me in and to tuck in a little girl. Shabbos, with your protective layer from the outside world, why did you leave me? I need you to stay and hold me where no Shadchan can call me and where I can pretend for a moment that I am loved, that I am part of something.
Side #2 it's Saturday night in NYC and I'm going out. WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY. I should cancel. Maybe my friend will cancel. No, she posted her makeup selfie on Instagram, she's not cancelling. Why do I make plans when I could just go to sleep. Why am I tired when I slept till noon and took a four hour nap. Why am I like this? Why can't I be someone who enjoys going out on a Saturday night? And why do I keep making plans if I don't enjoy myself?
(Spoiler alert: I usually end up enjoying whatever I had planned to do. But I can't do things too often because I am poor and also tired. Like the Statue of Liberty says "Give me your tired your poor" and I'm like THAT ME.)
Side #3 it's a Saturday night in NYC and after 3 hours on a bus that went 2.5 miles, I'm home. It's winter so it's 9 pm. I have nothing to do. No friends to do it with. I'm binging tv and knitting blankets for all of the babies I love and get to see on Shabbos. But now I'm back in my sad apartment living my sad life. If I were cooler I'd have plans tonight, despite the fact that it's 12 degrees outside. But I'm not. I'm a loner. I'm going to be alone forever.
Side #4 I am never getting off of this subway car. We've been underground for 35 minutes without moving. It's over. I live here now and these 6 other people who are with me are my new family and we are going to end up eating the weakest one in order to survive.
I've tried staying in and being part of Washington Heights for shabbos but it's worth the commutes to see my friends and get out of the city. No matter what I do I can't seem to avoid the Saturday sads.
I have thought about the phone thing.
On Shabbos I turn off the phone for 25 hours and the little dopamine hits I get-checks turning blue, likes coming in on Instagram-go away. Then I turn the phone back on and it all comes rushing back. I may be overloaded, my phone may be hurting me except I'm not willing to participate in this train of thought because I love my phone too much sorry give me that sweet sweet dopamine.
But maybe the Saturday sads are just part of Shabbos. Shabbos is so exquisitely close to peace that the absence of it leaves me scrambling for purchase. Maybe the commuting systems I use never quite work properly because they too struggle for peace when Shabbos leaves us.
I ask myself all the time if it's worth it to love in this world knowing that you are opening yourself up to hurt-hurt of loss or of missing or of breaking off. And my answer is usually yes. It is worth it to love even if you then incur loss.
And it is worth it to have Shabbos peace even if I spend the following night missing it terribly. Saturday sads, you're the price I pay and I'm going to keep paying it.