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Saturday, November 4, 2000

It's two parts laziness, one part inattention, with a dash of guilt. That's the recipe that defines my life. It's how I've managed to get so far behind, and the reason my desk is piled high with things I should be doing at almost every moment of every day.

Sometimes I'm too lazy to get up off the couch and go to bed. Last night, I had nearly talked myself into doing just that, when I picked up the remote. Big mistake. I flipped absently through the channels until I landed on the last half hour of The Sixth Sense.

It started from the scene at the little girl's funeral, which has one of the biggest payoffs in the film. Then there's the class play, and after that comes my favorite scene, where Cole and his mom are in the car at the scene of the accident. That's beautiful filmmaking, and for good measure it includes one of my favorite lines in any movie ("Grandma says hi.")

Sorry, I get choked up just remembering it.

Obviously, I didn't go to bed until the movie was over. If it had started again, I probably would have stayed up and watched the whole thing through. It was later than late by then, but I couldn't resist reading for awhile. I'm on my second time through the first Harry Potter book, and it was accented for me by the mournful hoot of an owl, somewhere outside my window. I never had those kinds of atmospherics, the first time I read the book.

At some point I put Harry on the nightstand and slept. I woke up early, though, and my mind went back to work. For some reason I absolutely cannot understand, I flashed on three things I'd promised to do and had forgotten to follow through on. Two were for the Boss, and one for his son Tim. They were all simple things, looking up insurance costs, mailing copies of change orders, forwarding a credit application.

They would have been easy to take care of during the day Friday, but I'd got myself sidetracked. As I mentioned, my attention span is deficient in the extreme lately. I even wrote them down on the pad beside my desk. The pad is still there. These minor tasks are still undone. I'm a failure and a fraud, but if I really cared, I'd get up out of my chair and get them done before I wrote another word.

Okay, where was I? Feels good, to have that handled.

So this morning I slept later than usual, which is awfully late in the first place and squeezes the daylight hours down even more than nature does this time of year. I should have been up and dressed when the landlords knocked on my door, but I was headed for the shower and had to pull on the closest available wrappings. I don't know what I looked like, but it was obvious to them that I just got up.

"Did we get you out of bed?" they asked.

I shrugged and mumbled, "'S okay," not specifically telling them that I was already up. I guess that was a bit of a lie, and one that I didn't even need to tell. But they really should have called before coming by.

They were here to talk about the puddles in my driveway, especially the muddy swamp in front of my garage door that forces me to use the side door to go in and out. They're going to put gravel down so that I'll have a walkway from the garage to the house without tracking mud on the white carpet.

They also offered to fix the leaky kitchen sink, but I told them it seemed to have fixed itself. It leaked all night one night, and I turned the water off under the sink all the next day. By the day after that, there was no evidence of leaking, and there hasn't been since.

It turns out that my new garbage and yard waste containers were delivered by the garbage company to Landlord Fred's house next door. These are the cans I've been calling the company about for the last three weeks, because the drivers won't empty my old garbage can any more. To make up for waking me up, they said, the landlords agreed to bring me my new cans, all the way from next door.

If the weather had cooperated, I would have spent the afternoon ripping up weeds and trimming back plants for the winter. But by the time I got back from my errands, the sky had gone all weird. The day started out sunny and breezy, and suddenly all I could see overhead were looming, blue-gray clouds, which were accompanied by a definite arctic chill in the air. I'll do my gardening another day.

So I was thinking, wouldn't it be nice to have a day, just one day, when there was nothing hanging over my head, nothing I had to absolutely had to do? Wouldn't that be, for want of a better, more picturesque, stronger word, nice? It would be heaven, a little slice of. I do believe my breathing would go back to normal, and my head would stop feeling like an El Greco painting.

It would be such a relief to relax without having uncompleted tasks buzzing around in my mind. That doesn't keep me from slacking off, of course, just from enjoying it as much as I should.

I think I've ascended to a new level of guilt, where I feel guilty about feeling guilty.

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So just take all your crystal pistols
Silver bullets too
Take 'em down to Galveston Bay
And throw 'em in the deep sea blue
Just throw 'em in the deep sea blue