Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Archaeological Study of Procrastination

I picked up my mail today and discovered that I hadn't done that for three weeks. I could tell by the archeological layers in the pile of Book Reviews and Time Magazines. My usual mail routine is to get my mail once a week and, on the walk back to the condo, separate all the recyclable garbage so I can throw it out on my way into the house--especially the catalogs. If the catalogs don't make it into my house, then temptation doesn't befall me. Get thee behind me Satan, Frederick's of Hollywood and West Elm. Then I locate my Time magazine and Book Review, read the good bits, and put the whole mess down and hope I get to it later. If I've recently purged my home of dated reading material, then I arrange it artistically on the coffee table. If not, it teeters on a pile that stares at me reproachfully until I lock myself up for a weekend reading articles, emerging 48 hours later as a stunned but surprisingly articulate collection of fascinating tidbits on an unlikely variety of topics--say, garbage, polar explorers, and endangered tree frogs. Sadly, this weekend involved social engagements and so the teetering, reproachful pile is now reaching Konglike proportions.

The whole strategy has been breaking down for some time. An earlier monstrous pile migrated to the floor next to my bed and is waiting for me to make my way through it, or possibly waiting to be bitten by a radioactive spider so it can attack me during the night. I must have had some wild fantasy that I would dispose of the backlog, and then when I went and got the mail, all the publications in my home would be current, fresh, and exciting. I think we can all agree that didn't work out as planned.

So now I'm reading while I finish up the laundry and try desperately to get motivated to pack for my trip. I'm just NOT excited about it. There are friends and creme brulee to look forward to (not to mention fresh fish--let me tell you, if there's one thing I hate about Arizona it's all the people who claim they hate fish when they have NEVER in fact tasted a fish that hasn't been dragged here kicking and screaming from some far-flung place where it should have been prepared and eaten rather than being shipped to these ingrates). But I just don't want to go. It's sunny and pleasant here, and I don't want to leave my home. I want to wallow in the perfect weather and in the recent discovery of a turtle that's been living in my complex's pond.

The other thing that I'm pointedly not doing is cleaning my house, or, more specifically, my living room. It is the perfect setting for some sort of chick lit disaster. Ransacked boxes of girl scout cookies, fallout from the pedicure I suddenly decided I needed to go to Oregon (procrastination, thy name is nail polish), and the menacing piles of rapidly aging reading material are all just waiting for Bridget Jones to come swanning in with a bottle of vodka and a carton of Ben & Jerry's. All of it will have to go before I leave at 4:30 tomorrow morning. And by the way, the early, early airport time is the ONLY thing making sure that I don't introduce tequila into this sordid equation.

Sometime in the next six hours I need to pack, cut Kong down to a size that assures me that he won't make a mess of the apartment while I'm gone, and make the living room look like an actual adult lives here (in case the plane crashes--it wouldn't do for my mother to know that my girl scout cookies just live on the coffee table in a massive "fuck you" to the concept of portion control).

I think I've discovered the cure for blogging procrastination.

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