You know you’re a workaholic when it’s NOT working that has become an achievement.
But I am still in the midst of taking some real time off. Sure, I haven’t been able to quit working cold turkey. The first few “days off” I basically worked the same number of hours a non-self-employed person does. But for each day after, I’ve done work-work less and less: yesterday I only did about two hours of work, at a maximum, which is no mean feat for me, and today, I fielded just a couple Scarleteen questions and but one press inquiry.
What exciting, exhilirating things have I been doing?
Cleaning my house.
I know, I know, I know: a couple of friends have also mentioned that that doesn’t exactly sound like a luxury vacaction. Thing is, I can’t have a luxury vacation, period. Beyond that, this house has been VILE, victimized by both mark and I myself being riddled with deadlines over the last year, deadlines overlapping deadlines, leaving a wake of dirt, dust, pet hair and piles of paper behind us as we leap from one frenzied project to the next. I couldn’t relax in here lately if I wanted to, and I really, really want to right now.
My father, too, was — well, utterly mortified by the fact that this is what I’m doing with my time off. Now, in part, this is because my slobbery was learned behaviour from that man, a rather schizoid rearing, no less, since my mother — from what I can gather — is largely drawn to work in infectious disease to justify her extreme germophobia, and growing up in her household was like living inside a Q-tip box doused in Lysol (if I never smell amonia again, it’ll be too soon). This confusing polarization may well explain why it is that I cannot manage clutter to save my life (and make more than my share), but will find great delight in scrubbing room from floor to ceiling like a Marine until I can let out a well-deserved and blissful, “So SHINY.”
(There does, however, have to be zero pressure to do so. If I feel pressured to clean, I tend to react defensively — often unaware I’m doing so — by only making a bigger mess. I also grew up having to wipe up more male urine than I should ever have had to, being not-male myself, so when there’s a man in the house, much as I love a shiny bathroom, when I tend to scrub them, I often uncover a world of hidden resentment that wouldn’t have been there otherwise. That’s my latest rationaliztion for avoiding it, anyway, and I think it’s a winner.)
At this point, I’ve tackled both bathrooms, the kitchen, the living room and the dining room. At the moment, I’m procrastinating doing the office because the office is SCARY. Generally, I can deal with clutter, so long as it’s clean underneath it, but the office is both cluttered and completely filthy, to the point that I consider anything closer than twenty feet to it a distance unsafe for anyone.
Once upon a time, I had one of those hyper-realistic dreams, that may well have been more oracle than dream, in which I was a very old woman, living in a dusty house with too many pets, where the entrire floor was covered in books and papers. The piles went to the roof, and I had clearly constructed them around myself, as trails went through them. The only unrealistic part of my subconscious projection involved me racing — dirty bare feet fumbling, skirts flying, pencils stuck in my white hair, but those bits are perfectly realistic — across the house to grab someone a book, and knowing exactly where to find that book amidst all the piles. That doesn’t happen now and I’m quite sure it won’t ever.
But that, dear friends, is the state of my office (and my hair) at the moment — plus piles of laundry, piles of bills, a trail of coffee cups, an unpacked bag from Minneapolis, photo equipment, hula hoops: you name it, it’s in a pile in there. (Have you lost something recently? It’s probably in my office.) And fuck all if I know where a given book is, or even where the books in the office ARE right now.
I need to at least give a try in finding out, though, because I have got to make some headway with this puppy today before I head out to meet Ben, my much-beloved ACLU lawyer, who is in town on business and greatly in need of a Ballard drink-a-thon, which I am more than glad to do my level best to provide. I’m a sweetie like that, enabling alcoholics everywhere, to the point that I’ve moved into what is perhaps one of the booziest neighborhoods in the entire country.
But no more talk of booze until I can at least find the floor to crash on afterwards if need be.