Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Sometimes I don't feel like doing much of anything.

This is not entirely true.  In fact, most of those times when I would say I feel like not doing anything, I really have lots and lots of things I could or ought or might be doing. Sometimes it is the sheer volume of choice that paralyses me, as when I can't decide what to wear to work most mornings.  But sometimes it is just sheer lack of motivation that keeps me from being the active, productive, positive person I want to be.  I am sitting here at my desk with 45 mins to fill before I go to meet a friend.  45 mins is long enough to do any number of things.  I could bake brownies.  I could reorganise my desk.  I could sort my finances and pay my bills, or hunt for teaching jobs online (well, I could if my internet were working, but I think my housemate is making a Skype call to South Africa, and when he does that I tend to lose the wireless signal up here).  I could call my grandmother, which I told my mother on Saturday I would do that afternoon, and still haven't managed it.  I could write the first paragraph or two of a blog post.  Hey, look at that.

The thing is, it was really difficult to get to the point where I could decide to start writing this.  I stood still in the middle of my room staring off into space for a while, completely directionless.  This happens to me with relative frequency, and it is, I suspect, the reason I am much more effective and efficient when I am scheduled.  Being a teacher worked well for me, even though I had to plan out what we would do each day, because the day was broken down into 45 minute lessons that all had a predetermined subject.  I can work within those kinds of parameters. When faced with an absolutely blank slate and asked, What shall we do today,  I falter.  The possibilities are endless, to be sure, and that is exciting...but they all seem to hold about the same level of interest for me.  If one of them would rise up above the rest and declare itself superior, the choice would be easy.  If the choices were: 1.) do laundry, 2.) do my taxes, or 3.) eat a brownie sundae, the answer would be obvious.  But in the absence of outliers, I am left just staring at a sea of stuff to do. 

Do other people find this as difficult as I do?  I am sure I am not alone, but I think the majority of people either don't suffer from this kind of inertia, or they have come up with creative ways of overcoming it.  Maybe they make lists.  Maybe they parcel out their tasks in timed intervals over the course of the day in the same way I did when teaching.  Maybe their pragmatic instincts take over, or their self-respect pipes up to tell them they can't just sit there drooling like a dazed baboon all day if they want to call themselves human.  Perhaps I need to take a lesson in good old-fashioned Puritan work ethic.

Ha, even here I am failing, because I have repeatedly checked the clock whilst I have been writing this to see if it is time to stop yet.  Focus, Danielle!  What can I write about?

The other day after I posted the reflections on picking up a coin in the street, I was walking back up the hill from the Chipping Norton post office and saw a 50 pence piece lying on the sidewalk.  With a laugh and a cry of "50p!" I scooped it up and put it in my pocket.

(I don't usually do the Lolcats thing, but this is how I felt)
Then, after I blogged about being cold, I came home from work on Friday to find that our boiler wasn't working at all, and the whole house was freezing with no heat or hot water.  We called the repair man, Adrian, for an emergency visit, and he came with his 14-year-old son, whom he had just picked up from karate.  The child was polite and well spoken, and he is a black belt already, but he refused the chocolate I offered him, so clearly his priorities are not in order.  I chatted with him while Adrian tinkered with the boiler, which he not only fixed, but improved the performance of, and reset so that it would actually come on and turn off at the times we asked it to without us having to flick switches and kick it.  Then I begged Adrian to bleed my radiator, which he did, resulting in the most wonderful warmth coming from it almost immediately!  I hugged him before he left.

The obvious and completely logical conclusion to make from both of these circumstances is that I should now blog about being poor, and some time in the next week an opportunity will arise for me to become extremely rich.  Then I would be able to quit my job and buy a comfortable house with good insulation and excellent heating, and I would have loads of free time.  In which to sit around, staring at the wall.  Until, of course, inspiration struck, and I wrote the most beautiful, moving, entertaining blog post anyone has ever read.


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