Monday, February 25, 2008

All Rebecca West, All The Time

"We had seen her make another of those mistakes that made people think her odd, the morning after we got there. Gaily she had spilled on the kitchen table, in a jumble of Bank of Scotland notes and sovereigns, the whole amount she had contracted to pay for the six weeks of our holiday...It was a delight for her to snatch this money from the mysterious force that acted on all money in our family, annulling it as if it had never been; it was such an indulgence as she had not enjoyed for years to make a payment and prevent it from being even for a moment a debt."

The Fountain Overflows, Rebecca West
I feel this way, not about money, but about time, and order. There is a mysterious force that acts on all order and time in my life, annulling it as if it had never been. All right, it's not an entirely mysterious force. It is a compound force composed partly of Reading and Laziness. Every time I empty the wastebaskets, deposit their contents in the outside can, and get the can to the curb on the correct night, it is a delight for me to snatch my house from the disorder that acts on all order in my life. Ditto clearing and wiping the kitchen counters, or "catching up" with the laundry.

I still struggle with time. As I said almost a year ago, I am trying to convince my unconscious that Everything Counts, but I still say things to myself like, "If only you had not had to spend all that time clearing off your desk, you could have gotten something done." I think the problem is with large swathes of time. If I spent 15 minutes every day dealing with what is on my desk, and had a regular time of day devoted to taking out trash, and attacked the laundry in a prescribed way instead of a desultory one, I would never feel that I "wasted the whole day doing laundry."

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