| |I'm doing laundry.
Whites—towels, socks, unmentionables.
This may sound like no big deal, running a load of wash on a Monday morning, but those who have intimate knowledge of my, uh, fixations, understand this to be no small thing. I can hear their voices as I write--But it's not Thursday! they cry in unison. Not only do I have fixations; others have noticed I have fixations. Uh oh.Okay, so this laundry thing has its deep, dark origins, which I won't go into except to say that most of my pathologies can be reduced to explanations straight out of a Psych 101 text. Nothing too complex inside this hard case of mine: I'm a ruler with a straight edge, a screwdriver used for driving screws, a tuna can you open to find—duh!—tuna inside.It's a new year. I don't go in for resolutions (though I did spend a few seasons renaming them, hoping to come up with an appealing and therefore, motivating, euphemism: Ambitions; Enthusiasms; Goals & Objectives), but I find the straighforward, calendrical squareness of January 1st to be an appealing day for reassessment. For realignment. To wit:
- I don't like to get my hair cut on Mondays. I had my hair cut this morning.
- I'm lazy about the morning dishes, often leaving them until late in the day. Here it is, well before noon, and they're all washed and dried and put away.
- Yesterday there were 13 containers of pens on my desk. Now there are only 11. (Cut me some slack here--it's a start!)
My what a very long week it's been already. If I play my cards right, maybe there'll be enough clothes in the hamper to warrant running a washload on . . . Hey! What about Thursday???
- And then there's that laundry, everything clean and neatly folded.
Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends
| |I keep a to-do list. Every Thursday I fold an 8 1/2 X 11 sheet of recycled paper in half and begin the two columns that make up my task list for the week ahead. The first elements to make it on the list are the to-dos that were left undone from the previous week. Some of those to-dos were left over from the prior week and the week before that. It's hard to imagine that I won't remember these items on my own; they're like a splinter in a knuckle that's an ever-present irritant, but not a large enough problem to require an immediate response. Still, I note my chronically undone to-dos faithfully on my sheet as if the very fact of their appearance on the list will somehow boost me into action. Action that will result in the ultimate mark of success: a thick Sharpie line that renders the item completely unreadable, the twin burdens of past inaction and future procrastination obliterated with a simple stroke of a black felt pen.
The to-dos on my list are written in my own particular shorthand: codes and glyphs understood, mercifully, only by me. There are arrows and ampersands, capital letters that stand in for first names or locations, ordinary words represented by their desiccated text-message counterparts. Often one word will be the icon for an entire event. Just as one brush against the splinter in the knuckle can conjure the complete narrative, it takes very few scratches on the page to trigger my recollection of what needs to be done. For instance, Lane4Bark might mean that I need to find a day when it's not raining and head over to Lane Forest Products to pick up some mulch to put around the bushes. I live in Oregon. It rains here. A lot. So Lane4Bark might appear on my list for several weeks until the synchronicity of dry-day and sloth-relegated-to-the-kennel puts me in the pickup truck with sufficient enthusiasm to get a dreaded yard chore done. And then, well, the Sharpie gets to work its magic.
One item that has been appearing on the list for many more weeks than I care to admit is a four letter word spelled b-l-o-g. As in, Pick something out of the air and talk about it. As in, They've been asking, so give it to them. As in, Monday morning's as good a time as any to make a fresh start. So welcome to Monday Morning! Now where's that Sharpie?