So I’m sitting around enjoying my last salary-free furlough day when all of a sudden it hits me: I have to get a blog post together! Already! (Already??)
Time-off time always disorients me (though I adapt to it with startling ease). There’s a different pace: the pace of the unemployed, I call it. If you’ve ever been jobless, or written a dissertation, you know what I’m talking about. You set yourself a clear and manageable task du jour: say, to mail a letter. You get up full of resolve: today’s the day I’ma mail that letter! You seal the envelope, find the address. And then you pause. You could just dash down the address, but wouldn’t it be so much more professional to word process it? in fact, wouldn’t this be a good time to learn to use labels? Absolutely: you’ve put off learning that 1980s task for long enough! Oh, the chewy satisfaction of that moment when you think you’re going to accomplish twice as much as you’d imagined…
Of course, you have no labels. Should you buy some? Maybe, but will that leave you time to mail the letter? Maybe not. Indecision, indecision, indecision. You come tentatively back to Plan A, only you’re thrown off your game, so you decide maybe today’s not the day to mail that letter after all. It’ll keep.
Next day, same resolve – only, having wasted the first letter-mailing day, you’re determined to get a jump on it. But first, a shower. And you should have a nutritious breakfast. (Wasn’t that one of last year’s resolutions?) Then you realize there’s probably a line-up at the post office, so you’d be better to wait until after lunch. But after lunch – well, how can you justify leaving the house if you haven’t accomplished anything yet?
The letter sits … and sits ….. and sits ……. and before you know it, the longest semester break in recorded history is over and you have nothing to show for it except a new PB in Angry Birds.
Novels read: 0
Papers written: 0
Moonlit skating dates: 0
Did I see the Natalie Portman movie? Oops. Did I lay in some food for the coming semester? Nope, didn’t do that either. Start an exercise regime? clean my desk? crack that grant application? No, no and no.
To be honest, readers, I have no idea what happened to the last two weeks, and for that reason alone – but if you call me on this, I will deny it – I am not unhappy to be heading back to work tomorrow, full of resolve: this year, I will own my time!
PS That letter I promised you? On its way tomorrow. Most definitely. Almost certainly.