At 8:16 am today, I plunked down in a seat at the coffee shop. I plunked so hard my butt bounced. My friend snickered while looking a little bleary-eyed.
“So what did you do last night?” he asked.
“I ate candy and watched an episode of the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice. I was really interested in how the women had cleavage under their chin. Kind of mesmerizing. What did you do?” I admitted with a guilty drop of my gaze.
“I played kickball,” he said.
“Yeah. Somewhat social and minimally athletic.”
“Do you ever feel like a slacker? Like we should be doing more with our lives?”
There was a pause. We looked down at our coffees. Swooping into the coffee shop came the perfectly coiffed overachiever. She chirped, “Hi ya’ll.”
We groaned as she launched into this litany of events from the night before … A “Gee life is wonderfully busy and I get lots of stuff done” Pollyanna attitude that is exhausting listening to and mindboggling to consider doing. By digging my nails into my palms, I managed to stop myself from smacking her. My friend rolled his eyes before devouring the car section of the newspaper. Yes, we are over forty ….
I bet even the patrons in the other room breathed a sigh of relief when she left, probably off to save the world or at least polish her desk. Resolutely, I promised myself I would determine the color of my desktop.
Like a lot of us, I have a paying job or two, a book in the process of being marketed, and various other writing projects. And a house to clean with meals to cook and bills to pay. Some days my desk is a series of unruly piles – MUST be done RIGHT NOW, CAN WAIT until this afternoon, SURELY this can be done by the end of the week, TAKE HOME and finish, and when HELL FREEZES OVER. My computer is covered with sticky notes – do this, call her, him, that group, write them a thank you, little quotes for writing, and songs to download. And I have ants. Lots of them. I like to think we share an office but my clients don’t take this live-and-let-live approach. My fax machine is cranky. Sometimes my computer freezes. I can’t get the scanner to work. But I take out the trash and my office doesn’t smell. Does this make me a slacker?
So this morning, I cleaned off the desk. Who knew it had a lovely mahogany colored top? And found some sticky notes from 2012 to throw away. I vacuumed and rearranged the pillows.
But the thing is, I don’t feel any better. I think it is slightly nice to see my desktop. The question of the ants remains. If I buy an ant farm, do you think they’ll move in? Otherwise, I probably should buy some ant traps.
Basically, I am a Russian peasant fatalist. I am at one with it. I feel no need to be excessively clean or neat (except the bathrooms and kitchen and clean sheets on the bed – must be the Jewish genes). I have other things to do – write, work, write, be with friends, write, find the creative juice that spices my world and write.
In my cranky little heart, I love my disheveled office. It has a comfy sofa to nap on. Lots of throws to cuddle up with when feeling overwhelmed. I have finally figured out how to use most of the functions on my printer. It is my creative world – messy, full of eye candy, my Instant Psychotherapy jar with the petty cash for emergency candy bars and/or wine, a line up of sticky notes like the Tibetan prayer flags, and my bucket of toys. These tidbits do not define me but they reflect the colorful creativity of my writing world.
I am not the Martha Stewart or Gwyneth Paltrow of writing. Don’t judge me because sometimes I’m a slacker.