The Saturday-Wednesday workweek

I landed in the Middle East five days ago. And yet, I don’t know what day it is today.

I think it’s Friday, but I don’t know. It feels like a Sunday, but… not really. It’s just all messed up.

The weekend in Bahrain runs from Friday to Saturday. I just found that out after I landed. That’s what stretched out the process for getting my visa and flight tickets straightened out a few weeks. It seems that the Bahrainian system conflicts a bit with the even stranger (to Americans) Saudi system.

The Saudi system runs weekends on Thursday and Friday. I mean, those are the days off. Friday is the holy day for Muslims, which kind of works well since Jews got Saturday first and Christians snagged Sunday afterward. This way, all three monotheistic powerhouses get their own day.

For me, though, raised on a completely American system, workdays running Monday through Friday, Sunday and Saturday being the common days off, switching to a Saturday through Wednesday system whacks me out.

Now I finally know what people must feel when they miss a nap or alter their precise eating schedule or even just stay up a little later than they usually do. Those things for me never phased me because I don’t have a set schedule for them.

My weeks, though, and the days within them, those I had set. I hadn’t noticed it, but I had. And so, this might be the biggest fundamental, cultural difference I’ve ever experienced. This is one experiment I couldn’t hatch on my own.

And it’s going to take me forever to acclimate to this one.