Archive for the ‘Procrastination’ Category

Clutter

November 28, 2011

This is the perfect time to write about this topic, because I’m at my parents’ house in North Carolina, procrastinating going through some of my old stuff to determine what can be gotten rid of and what I want to take back to LA with me. It’s hard, because I desperately want to lead a clutter-free life, but then I discover things like the costume bin, with my old purple poodle skirt from 5th grade, which still fits, because my genius mother gave it an elastic waistband; a sensational 70s outfit; and the old purple crayon costume, which my mom made for my sister when she was in about 3rd grade, and which I later inherited. At some point, as I grew and the costume did not, it went from head-to-toe round crayon costume to short, tight, sexy crayon costume. And if you can think of anything sexier than a crayon, I’d like to hear about it.

So, what I’m saying is, it’s all going in the suitcase.

I have a weird relationship with clutter. I grew up among a lot of it. Not to go into too much detail, but there is a pack-rat lurking in my household, and when I was little, I was never made to get rid of anything. So I didn’t. Then I went to college, and since I only brought what I needed, a whole new world was opened up to me. A world in which it was easy to keep my room clean! It was clean, and spacious, and I had plenty of room to breathe. That began an insatiable desire to eradicate all clutter in my life. However, like most things, it’s easier said than done. It’s still hard for me to tell what I need and what I don’t. And I get attached to things (see: purple towels). And I kind of believe that anything with a face has feelings, and also, that some inanimate objects have feelings (see again: purple towels). So I want to make sure things get good homes and are appreciated.

It’s also complicated because of this:

My need to eradicate clutter extends beyond my personal space. It extends beyond my house and my parents’ house and my friends and family’s houses to the entire earth. Just knowing that any clutter exists anywhere stresses me out. I wish people would just stop making things. I get stressed going into stores, especially big ones with tons of stuff in them, because it’s all new stuff. Where is it going to go eventually? One day, are we going to drown in stuff? Will we send it out to space and clutter up the universe? It’s like, no matter how un-cluttered I am eventually able to get my space, there is no real escape from it. It’s everywhere. Why are people still making new things? So many things! So many cluttery, useless things! Have you ever been to a Big Lots???? Aaaaaaaaugh!!! And trash!!! Plastic going into the trash!!! And that’s not even getting into the clutter on my computer, or cyber-clutter (I would rather have fewer Facebook friends, because the ones I don’t really know… clutter.) And of course, mental clutter.

So, that makes things complicated. I can’t just get rid of something without thinking about where it’s going. don’t want to throw things away and let them clutter up a landfill. I don’t even want to clutter up Goodwill. I just want to wave a magic wand and make things spontaneously combust. I guess I could burn them, but I don’t want to cause pollution and toxic gases; that’s hardly going to solve anything.

Stress is probably a form of clutter, too, right? It’s a vicious cycle. A vicious, cluttered, cycle of clutter.

If I were Cathy from the Sunday comics section, I’d have little beads of sweat around my face, and I’d be saying, “Ack!”

Fantasies

September 12, 2010

Everyone fantasizes about things. Sexy things, exciting things, exotic things — traveling to new lands, having passionate affairs — me, I fantasize about a full two weeks to get stuff done. Like, there’s a snowstorm (yes, I realize that would never happen in L.A., but this is a fantasy, so humor me), and everyone must stay inside for two full weeks. Everything is closed, and the only thing to do is things that are always on my to-do list but are never high enough on the list to get done. Like cleaning out my email inbox (I currently have 1,552 unread emails. YIKES.) Organizing the papers in the literal inbox on my desk, many of which have been there since before I moved in March. Backing up this very blog, updating it to the latest WordPress version, and fixing the archives section. I would go through my closet and pick out stuff for Goodwill. Finish the painting I started months ago. Put more pictures on the wall in my room. Practice guitar! Put more music on my iPod. Order stuff that I need from online catalogs. Send an email to friends with my “new” address, which I’ve had since March. Etcetera. Etcetera. Etcetera. Of course, meanwhile, I’d have plenty of good food to eat, Mary would be here to keep me company, we’d have a roaring fire in the fireplace, and we’d probably be singing Christmas songs. Oh, and I’d still be getting paid even though I wouldn’t be at work. Maybe this winter my fantasy will come true, and we’ll have a freak snowstorm that shuts down L.A. I hope not, actually, because that will probably mean the world is ending. Maybe I should just fantasize about hiring an assistant instead.

Procrastination Station

November 20, 2007

Wow! I beat myself at my own game. I wrote this when I was packing for Mexico (a.k.a. happier times) and never published it. Please somebody give me a (large monetary) prize for winning the championship of starting things and not finishing them:

***

If there’s one thing I do well; maybe better than anyone I know, it’s procrastinate. The very best time to blog is when I should be doing something else; and the very best thing to put off doing is packing for a vacation.

I’ve been asking around to find out how long it takes my friends to pack for the average 5-day trip, and the answers some people give me make my jaw hit the floor. 1 hour? 45 minutes? 30 minutes? 20 minutes??? It takes me hours! And now I think I may know why…

My packing tonight has gone as follows:

5:30 pm: return home from work. Decide to start packing immediately and get it out of the way. Go get a First Aid kit out of the linen closet and become highly fascinated with it, doing a thorough inventory of what’s inside and reading all of the instructions on how and when to use each item. Toss it in suitcase. Get distracted, amble around aimlessly, and chat with roommate about her date last night.

6:26 pm: Decide I’m going to buckle down and pack and be done by 7:26 on the dot. Have several productive minutes of pouring face wash and moisturizer into smaller bottles. Get some sunscreen from beach bag and toss bottle on bathroom floor, thinking I should wipe the sand off. Remember I need a new camera battery. Store closes at 7, and it is now 6:40, so I go to the camera store and get a battery.

7:05-ish: Return home and make no effort whatsoever to pack. Test out camera battery, notice there are pictures I need to upload; upload pictures and look at all of them on computer. Start surfing web. Hit up MySpace.

7:20-ish: Decide now would be an ideal time to write a blentry.

And here we are.

***

I never finished this because I guess I eventually decided to finish packing. I did, after all, fill my suitcase with stuff and take it to Mexico and have a lovely vacation, so I must consider the evening at least a moderate success. And I can tell you with certainty that if you told me you had a plane ticket for me to go just about anywhere, I’d be home, packed, and back to the airport within the hour.

Shady Business

July 16, 2007

I need some window coverings, STAT, you guys. I’ve recently moved into a new bedroom, and whilst before I liked to complain that my room was a cave, now I long for its cool shadyness (See photo of my then-underappreciated shady room below in Appendix A). My new room has four windows arranged in such a way that there is at all times of the day direct sunlight on my bed. Naps must be taken squinched up in the crack between the bed and wall, as that is the only shady section. I have to get up butt-ass early even on weekends now because the temperature shoots up 15 degrees at 9:00 and keeps rising as the sun ascends. At night it’s not much better, because there’s a streetlight outside that shines directly in my eyes unless I build my blankets into a sort of shield between it and my face and hold very still until I fall asleep, so as not to disturb the shield.

You may think I’m making too a big deal out of this, but alas, I am not the only victim of this cruel fate. Please refer to Appendix B and note how the sun is burning the retinas of my little bear friend Chocolate Chip. The only way she can express herself is through her eyes — I mean, cha, of course she can’t talk, you guys, she is a bear, and bears do not speak to humans. But now her retinas have been temporarily burned out, and she is blind and can no longer communicate to me with her eyes. Also, she has a tail that squeaks to express both joy and outrage, usually when someone squishes her with his elbow, ahem. However, C.Chip is old in stuffed bear years. I adopted her when I was 2, and she was probably born in the factory before that, so she really is no spring chicken. Lately, due to age, her tail squeaker has taken to getting lost up in her body and I have to squeeze her and squeeze her to work it back down into her tail, and right now it’s up in her polyester fiberfill somewhere and she has no way to get any kind of point across, which must be very frustrating for her.

This is a long way of telling you that people, I need some curtains. I know, I know, I should just get some, but when do y’all have time for all this stuff?? Seriously, what do you guys do with your time? I work 40 hours a week, have classes, practices, and meetings, try to play instruments, see my friends once in a while, do the occasional load of laundry, get some exercise, and that leaves time for very little else. The answer here is clear: I obviously need to book a sweet acting gig so I’ll only have one job and not a thousand. Or if anyone knows of a fun part-time job that will pay me a lot, by all means, give me a shout.

Chocolate Chip and I will both give you hugs to thank you. (You’ll actually have to be the one to hug her; her stubby arms make it a little difficult to initiate, and plus, she won’t be able to see where you are).

Appendix A: In which Chocolate Chip relaxes in my old room and does not get her retinas burned out
My_room 001a.jpg

Appendix B: In which Chocolate Chip becomes temporarily blind

July_a_2007 030a.jpg

Appendix C: In which Chocolate Chip becomes blind from another angle

July_a_2007 031b.jpg

Panic Atax

April 15, 2007

My friend Annie just called to see what I was doing. “My taxes,” I said. “Well, I mean, not yet… I’m actually looking for my W-2, and, you know, paying some bills and stuff.”

“Aaaah, why do we do this?!” she moaned. She hasn’t done her taxes either, and for those of you who are already on a beach in Mexico spending your refund, today is the day before taxes are due, and some of us are running out of time. Once again, I haven’t even started, and once again, instead of starting, I am composing a blentry about why I haven’t started. In 2.5 hours I have to be dressed and on my way to my friend’s wedding in Malibu. Currently I am sitting in my house (in the “nook,” for those of you who are familiar with my living quarters), laptop on my lap and papers strewn about on the floor, wearing sweatpants and the Nativity scene hoodie I made for Rebex’s most recent Hideous Christmas party (The star and the Baby Jesus are sparkly)! Oh, and I’m also mildly hungover and still have on the makeup I wore last night. Young acheiver, this one. A real go-getter. Watch out, y’all, I might accidentally take over the world while you’re not looking.

Annie had gotten off work early and was thinking of doing something fun and spontaneous like driving out of town. After I reminded her about taxes being due, she surmised that “not doing taxes” was most likely the unconscious motivation for her sudden desire to go out and live. Hey, a lot can get done while in the throes of procrastination. For example, how long has it been since I’ve posted a blentry? And here I am, just typing away while the seconds tick by. I also went through stacks of old mail and paid a bunch of bills that have been sitting around. I figure, you need something like taxes every now and then to get you to do anything and everything else. It’s like a pyramid of procrastination. Like, in order for me to do things I usually put off, I need something more annoying that I want to do even less. So much less that the original annoyance that I’ve been putting off for days, weeks, months or years suddenly seems like a GREAT IDEA! A very urgent thing I must do, RIGHT NOW! A fun adventure indeed.

Now if you’ll excuse me, time keeps marching on and my taxes aren’t going to do themselves. In other words, I’d better go get those dust bunnies out from under my bed. Allergies, people! What is more important than my health???

O Canadia!

March 31, 2007

I’m leaving bright and early tomorrow morning to fly to Vancouver for a family ski trip, and I’m still totally not packed. And by “bright and early” I mean pitch black dark and still the middle of the night. I have to be at my office building to catch my shuttle at 5:25, which means I don’t even want to talk about what time I’ll have to wake up (but I’ll just mention it once, because I know you’re dying to know: 4:30).

And I smell trouble for tonight, because I’m going to Nathan’s house in a few minutes to help him celebrate his birthday by playing a game of Werewolf with our friends, which will probably turn into like a thousand games of Werewolf, because it’s more addicting than nicotine, which incidentally is more addicting than crack, according to my college “Personal Health” book (yes, I took the class for an easy A, and yes it was easy and I got an A). Last time we played I was there until 4 a.m.

I’ve been so busy ever since my day off switched from Monday to Friday. My social life has jumped off the charts, while my “getting things done and being productive” life has taken a few kicks in the shins. But frankly, it’s not a hard choice between the two. My 28th year has been the absolute cat’s pajamas so far, and I only expect it to get better — perhaps even into the “bee’s knees” category. The only catch is that I have so much on my mind that it’s hard to focus on one thing, and I’ve been making weird, absent-minded mistakes all over the place. For example, this morning I put every single one of my bath towels in the washing machine right before taking a shower, so I had to dry off with two washcloths and my little white gym towel.

In any case, I’ll have plenty of snowy ski time to clear my head, if I can ever get packed. It’s hard deciding which wool sweaters and scarves to take when it’s 80 degrees and sunny outside. Other challenges I face include: 1. My dad called today and told me that it’s currently 50 degrees in Whistler village and 7 degrees on the top of the mountain. I’m not a very talented layer-er in the best of circumstances, and this challenge just has me stumped, and 2. The drawer where I keep all my hats, gloves, ski socks, etc. has beeen broken for weeks and won’t open, and I can only access the contents by reaching my hand into a gap on one side and feeling around for what’s inside. Life is hard. Sigh.

Anyway, if I make it to the airport and remember my passport, I’ll be gone for the week, reachable by text message only, so have a good one, y’all, and I’ll think of you while I sit in the jacuzzi with a white russian in my hand and snow on my head (or possibly rain… hmm).

I Take It All Back!

February 20, 2007

This is unbelievable. I called the Traffic Court peeps today to ask them how I could pay my ticket, and two things:

1. When I first called, the robot said, “You have. seventy. nine. callers ahead of you. in the queue.” And I said, “Uggghhhhhh, are you kidding, Robot?” and the robot didn’t answer. But I decided to stay on hold and put it on speakerphone while I worked, and within a couple minutes the robot came back on to say, “You have thirty. nine. callers. ahead of you. in the queue.” And I said to myself, I said, “Wow, that’s a lot lower than seventy nine, and it hasn’t been long at all.” And sure enough, before I knew it, an non-surly and perhaps even borderline friendly human voice picked up the phone.

2. That same borderline friendly voice told me my ticket had already been dismissed.

3. It was dismissed.

4. The ticket was dismissed.

5. I do not have to pay a dime. My driving record remains pristine. I do not have to do traffic school.

6. They dismissed the ticket, people.

Why? I do not know. I can only conclude that a. This has happened to me before, and for some reason I seem to have amazing luck with traffic tickets, or More Likely, b. the young, hot cop decided he liked me and didn’t want to give me a ticket after all because I’m so adorable.

So, I take it all back. All of it. I love the government, and I believe it is efficient and wonderful and kind and beautiful and hot and sexy and delicious, like Maverick and IceMan wrestling in ice cream while Captain Jack Sparrow plays with puppies atop a unicorn.

God Bless America, and Happy Belated President’s Day.

Stupid Presidents!

February 19, 2007

Happy President’s Day, my ass.

This morning I decided to attack the pile of clothes that was trying to defy gravity by towering precariously on a chair in my room. As I gathered an armload of clothes that were too dirty to put away, yet too clean to put in the laundry, out fluttered a slip of paper. I picked it up, and, SHIT, SHIT, SHIT, I said. It was that ticket I got right after New Year’s for running that stop sign, and I had totally forgotten about it. As it happens, tomorrow is the last day to pay it.

OK, no problem, I thought, I’ll just log onto the handy little traffic court website and pay it online. Except that it kept telling me my citation number and birth date didn’t match. So I tried searching with my licence number, which also apparently didn’t match my birthdate. So I tried the automated phone system, which cheerfully told me the same thing. So I tried holding for an operator, but the same cheerful robot (I’m really starting to be wary of robots) told me that “Our office is open, but we are unable to assist you at this time. If you need operator assistance, please call back later. Otherwise, press one to return to the main menu.” Um… So I tried “calling back later” about a thousand times, hence my spot-on memorization of the cheerful robot message, but to no avail. At last, I thought I had better just go down to the ghetto place where the court house is, and pay it in person.

So I hopped on the 10 and freewayed down to the courthouse, parked, mused that it appeared to be a ghost town (hmm, how quaint, nobody is here, except for this couple parked in front of me in a red Tercel making out with each other. However, I am sure there will most definitely be someone in the courthouse who will be able to help me with a smile. After all, their phone system robot is so cheerful! I’m sure that all employees at the Los Angeles Courthouse will be equally as friendly and helpful)! I am an optomist.

Unfortunately, I was never able to determine the level of cheerfulness a human courthouse employee might exhibit, because there was a paper sign taped to the door announcing that the courthouse was closed today for stupid dupid President’s Day. Maybe there would be a mail slot or a handy ticket payment drop box somewhere on the building, I thought, and walked all the way around it. But… nah. Why do that? That would be “convenient,” and “efficient,” which are things we here in the government try to avoid.

So, just to recap for you, someone put in the incorrect birthdate on my traffic ticket. The ONLY way to access the ticket online or via the phone system is by entering my birthdate. The court house was closed today, but the phone system robot specifically told me they were open. Unfortunately I cannot see a paper sign taped to the courthouse door from my living room.

Hey, here’s a thought! When the average government office starts operating even almost as efficiently as, oh, I don’t know, a store at the mall or a child’s lemonade stand, and doesn’t make you want to slit your throat every time you have to deal with it, then I can pat our presidents on the back for a job well done.