How Our Weekends Now Have Zero Chill


How Our Weekends Now Have Zero Chill

Illustration: Arati Gujar

Last weekend, I found myself in the middle of a party that I had not signed up for. I’d gone to a classmate’s bachelorette, expecting to have a good time. But what started innocently enough as a catch up of life updates yelled at each other over deafening music, devolved into a nightmare of the kind where people’s mouths are forcibly filled with tequila. A guy on the verge of puking downed yet another shot while a girl kept pulling her too-high friend onto the dance floor. Within no time, the place had turned into a drunken battleground of uncoordinated limbs and spaced-out faces that partied on relentlessly, compulsively, until everyone succumbed to the sickness.

In a nutshell, it was a weekend that had no chill.

Look, I’m 26. I can understand the motivation to make each and every spare moment count on the weekend, #yolo and all. After all, we spend the majority of our waking hours in a cramped office that is either too hot or too cold, stuck under terrible lighting with a bunch of people we can barely tolerate, daydreaming about a less stressful life. Most of us have resigned ourselves to a lifetime of not teaching scuba diving in Bali, or starting a llama farm in Peru. Weekends, then, are the rare and sacred times when we begin to live out our flaccid dreams.

After the five-day whirlwind of deadlines, meetings, and fantasies of setting your boss on fire, these precious 36 hours of freedom are pretty much the only respite we have. For a few moments, we can catch up on sleep and TV shows, push the constant capitalist grind to the back of our minds, and just… chill.

So why do weekend warriors treat free time like it’s a particularly unpleasant bathroom spider? As soon as they see it approaching, they start throwing things at it in hopes of killing it for good.

Whether it’s the rager whose goal is to party straight from Friday night to Monday morning, or the workaholic who insists on getting a headstart on an upcoming project, weekend warriors don’t know how to let it all go. They thrive on knowing what comes next, and are determined to tick off every box on their “Having Fun” checklist. When you tell them that you’d prefer not to aggressively schedule every brunch a month in advance, or that you’d rather sleep in than go for a Saturday morning yoga class, you are thwarting their best-laid plans.

Bereft of her trusty timetable, the weekend warrior will do everything she can to get back on track, and drag you with her, kicking and screaming. If she misses the first minutes of a movie, it’ll ruin the rest of her evening. When traffic is awful, she’ll make everyone sit in a cab for three hours, just so she can get to that new Chinese place she’s set her heart on. If her friends are enjoying a Saturday night of video games and pizza, she’ll show up and try to start a Bollywood dance party.

Basically, you can identify a weekend warrior because the phrases “read the room”, “go with the flow” and “kindly adjust” don’t exist in their vocabulary.

Think you don’t know a weekend warrior like this? Beware! They come in many shapes and sizes. There’s the guy on Tinder who seems like he has it all together, because he trains for the marathon and is constantly going to cool concerts and art shows. You think he’s the poor girl’s Milind Soman and let’s face it, that’s good enough for you – until he turns out to be the guy who obsessively invites you to every shitty music festival, every incomprehensible avant-garde gallery, and something called the Nashik Rainathon that combines all of your worst fears into a single, sorry weekend. Any suggestion of breakfast in bed, or Netflix and chill, is anathema to this human speedball.

Basically, you can identify a weekend warrior because the phrases “read the room”, “go with the flow” and “kindly adjust” don’t exist in their vocabulary. Like Russell Crowe in The Gladiator, they are perennially insecure about whether or not the entertainment is up to scratch. This chronic inability to chill is a symptom of being an overachiever, even when it comes to the weekend.

According to Psychology Today, overachievers aren’t rational or reasonable – an obvious conclusion about a group of people who, upon seeing a giant hamster wheel, would immediately make it their life goal to reach the top. Apparently, this senselessness is how they manage to avoid the crushing void of mediocrity that threatens to engulf us all. During this tiresome journey, they also manage to be complete assholes, described as arrogant, hypercompetitive SOBs who are not team players and never apologise. Just the kind of charmer you want at your next party.

And yet, despite their best and most gruelling efforts, the weekend warriors will never have as good a time as the rest of us, because the art of chilling is lost on them.

In their infinite quest to be their Best Selves, or have the Night of Their Lives, they’ve missed the simple pleasures of a conversation with friends, a drink savoured, a carefree afternoon with nary a plan in your calendar, or a thought in your head. Above all, they’ve forgotten that life is stressful, so the weekend doesn’t have to be. But I’m sure the weekend warriors reading this will scoff at my exhortations to chill before booking tickets for a TED Talk, Star Wars, and a flight to Goa, all for this Saturday. Are we having fun yet?