We all have our secret fears, I suppose. Mine happens to be Sunday afternoons. Not anything particular that happens on Sunday afternoon, just the afternoon itself: those long weary sand dunes of time after lunch and before it's dark enough to go to bed. Everything the eye falls upon mocks one with memories of former joys; every pleasure has turned to ashes, and there is nothing to look forward to but eventual unconsciousness and then work again on Monday.
One finds oneself asking unanswerable questions. What is the point of it all? Is purlieu a real word, or just something I made up? What's that pain in my hip? Should I see a doctor about it? Where did I leave my glasses?
With most fears, familiarity reduces their potency. A person who has a morbid fear of snakes, for example, may be "snapped out of it" by thoughtfully stuffing his mailbox, briefcase, and desk drawers with lively serpents. The first one or two times the herpetophobe is surprised by a wastebasket full of squirming snakes, he screams and runs away in a dither, but in time the reaction cools as he becomes used to the idea until, pulling back his bed covers to find a writhing nest, he can scarcely restrain a yawn. "Ho-hum," he says to himself. "Snakes again. So what else is new?"
The horror of Sunday afternoon, however, is only magnified by having experienced it so often and with such clock-like regularity. There is nothing to do for it, one must endure. Ah, for a nice drawer-full of snakes.