Saturday, May 19, 2007

Time Is Mine Enemy

So, here's the deal: as much as I strive for balance in the Yin and Yang of busy/unbusy, I have not yet managed to strike a balance. Like a back-sliding twelve-stepper, I seem to make some progress and then hope that the fates don't throw me a curve I can't handle.

What's going on here? In the bigger scheme of things, there has been an insipid ramp-up to total time booking. I recently told a friend that it was importantly to write every day, even if it's nonesense or if it totally sucks. My personal experience is that if the muse is really not present, the process at least gets the crap out of the way. It's linear and has to be purged in order to get to the good stuff. This seems to be somewhat applicable to every other event, major and minor, in the trivial travails of daily living.

For instance, here's the routine "template" that I would normally find confronting me:
  • Three mammals wake me up at daybreak - they hunger, thirst and need to pee
  • So do I, so I do.
  • Coffee, coffee, coffee.
  • Feed the mammals. Empty them.
  • Clean up the inevitable accidents.
  • Wake up child.
  • Eat a waffle.
  • Chase the child to get ready for school. Sometimes this involve laundry(!!!)
  • Charge the cell phone.
  • Chase the child some more.
  • Drink the coffee, check the e-mails.
  • NEW! Check for new jobs, send out appropriate resume.
  • Do computer maintenance.
  • Check the weather.
  • Water the plants - see if compulsory gardening is needed.
  • Chase child, remind her she's going to be late, again.
  • Child appears, checklist to see if she has homework, permission slips, musical instrument.
  • Drive child to school, late, of course.
  • Watch child scramble to avoid late bell.
  • Smoke n' choke on the way home.
  • Avoid being pummeled to death by pet dog.
  • Pick up poo, wash spot.
  • Vacuum.
  • Make cup of coffee.
  • Check e-mails again.
  • Think about blog topic.
  • Take drugs - don't worry, it's prescription only.
  • Coordinate appointment-wearing clothes. Note that I need new pants as the cat has clawed my best Geofrey Beene power casual slacks.
  • Shave, take shower. Blow-dry hair.
  • Have more coffee.
  • Allow dog to empty herself yet again.
  • Check phone for messages since someone may have called after I passed out from sheer exhaustion last night at nine.
  • Field a "feel-bad" Hallmark moment from the ex.
  • Drink MORE coffee.
  • Note that it's only eight A.M.

And then, the train rolls on from then. To me, this constitutes an unending mad rush. I know that you may have it all under control and so do I, to the degree that I feel comfortable and not guilty, but, really, c'mon.

In olden times, that is, in the ideal of Beaver Cleaver, this was not the way. Like Canadian Geese, spouses mated for life and shared these travails. Wah, wah, poor pitiful me: I'm doing it on my own. So, all you single moms are saying, what's the big deal? Well, it's not a big deal, per se, but ask yourself when the last date you had wasn't a time-coordinating nightmare. Be honest. Are you being honest?

So, I took some time to apologize to my "friends" this morning by e-mail, so that I could get a comprehensive thought out in one breath. Why? Two things happened this week. I bumped into one very nice friend while shopping (doesn't that sound leisurely) at ShopRite and he was very pleasant and I realized that he might be a little pissed that I have been otherwise occupied. We had dinner a month ago, I called, left an e-mail, and he's been crazy-busy, too. Another friend invited me to an event this weekend, I wanted to go and then canceled because it's my brother's birthday. The response was, "I knew you weren't going." Yup, quite a rep I'm building at this point. Makes me look like an unreliable, uncaring, disorganized fool. So, what's the solution?

For once, I actually don't know if there's one single thing that will "work." I think part of the answer is to realize that people are way busier today that our parents were and that a bit of straight-talking assertiveness doesn't hurt in keeping the connection going. Carve out whatever time by actively coordinating dead spots? I'm not sure, but man does not live by the internet alone.