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When It Rains It Pours

28 Apr

Admittedly, today was a total gloom-a-thon.  I worked from home for 9 months last year, and my first thought when I woke up was:  “I wish I worked from home today,” and I longed to spend the day in my pink velour drawstring pants, pink fuzzy socks, and (yes, pink) hooded sweatshirt, put on a pot of coffee that would make my whole apartment smell like “heaven” (aka Sumatra Starbucks coffee beans), and curl up under my covers with a book, John Mayer’s “Continuum” playing softly in the background, while the rest of the world trudged to midtown through slushy subways, getting whacked with people’s drenched umbrellas, winter white pants turning dingy gray and sticking, soaked, to their legs.  In fact, when I did work at home and I woke up to a day like today I would think to myself smugly:  “Damn, I’m glad I work from home and don’t have to go a-n-y-w-h-e-r-e today.”

But.  What are you going to do?  A)  There’s nothing you can actually do to change the weather and B)  April showers bring May flowers, right?

A few weeks ago I wrote about how, on a beautiful day, some people will focus on how it won’t last and complain about that, rather than bask in the brightness of the actual (nice) day.  This morning, on the elevator to work, I overheard this dialogue:

“I can’t believe it’s pouring.”

“That’s how it goes, it’s nice when we’re at work and not on the weekends.”

“We only had one week of nice weather and it was cold this weekend.”

Then they got off the elevator and I continued on to my floor, rolling around and taking apart what I had just heard.  I had two main problems with it:

A)  It doesn’t make sense.  Lamenting that it is only nice weather when we’re at work during the week while complaining that it is pouring outside.  While we’re at work.  During the week.  So following that logic they should have been saying:  “It’s raining and crappy outside but we’re inside at work!  Yipppppeeee!  Save the nice weather for the weekends, Baby, and bring that stinkin’ downpour while we have to be inside anyway!”

B)  We only had one week of nice weather (?!).  What????  Like we only get one week of nice weather in 2008 and we used it up so it’s gray skies from here ’til December?

And OK, my third problem with it which is C)  I remember it being gorgeous and summery on Friday, and warm-ish on Saturday, so “it was cold this weekend” doesn’t entirely nor accurately capture the reality of things.

It really got my goat, as these types of conversations often do, because they are about more than just the weather.  This casual Monday morning elevator conversation mirrors the default setting of society at large, which is to focus on the negative.  Even if there are a million magnificent things going on, that one negative sucks us right in and holds our gaze, as all those great goodies are jumping up and down, trying to get our attention. 

How can you complain that it’s raining while simultaneously complaining that the weather is always nice when you’re inside at work and you miss out on all the good stuff?  There is a vortex in those statements to find a place for the positive – like, for instance, it’s raining but it’s a workday anyway so you’re not missing out on frolicking in the park. 

Or, it’s a rainy day, so there is water pooling in my boots, my commute just sucked, I got whacked by 3 umbrellas whose owners had no sense of where they/their umbrellas end(s) and I begin, my hair is frizzing, my pants were white but now they’re spattered with gray splotches and sticking to my legs, but, it’s kinda cozy.  I feel kinda contemplative.  I’m treating myself to a hot chocolate, or an extra cup of coffee, or a steaming mug of tea, and I’m gonna plug in my headphones and listen to my Norah Jones cd all day long.  Tonight when I get home, I will be so happy to be home and appreciate my bed and blankets like I never would on a sunny day.  I will hang my work clothes out to dry, and curl up in my drawstring pants and fuzzy socks, and listen to the pitter patter outside my window, and the cars whish and slosh by. 

And, another positive:  rainy days are always good days to write.

The moral of this story is twofold:

A)  When everywhere you look is gray and gloomy, and this is starting to feel like a default setting, look somewhere else and see what you see.  It might be a whole different landscape.  It might be a surprisingly colorful vista.  Or, you might turn just a hair to the left and see all those goodies jumping up and down, desperate for your attention and think, “How the hell did I miss those guys?”

and B)  Don’t complain about the weather in front of me because it annoys me and I will blog about it!!!

That Pile of Papers

19 Apr

I will not let myself be intimidated by that pile of papers.  You know the one.  The one that’s been shuffled around, from table to desk then back again, occasionally making a guest appearance as a stack on top of a shelf, or next to a file cabinet, or on the floor.  The one that breaks off and sprouts out from back corners of dark closets.  The one that has traveled with me, from apartment to apartment, since maybe about approximately 1998, yet never goes away.  It temporarily diminishes but never quite disappears, and then grows strong & bold again.  No matter how small it gets, there are always one or two sheets that have nowhere to go, that still have to be dealt with, that sit there, unresolved, taunting me endlessly.

And then there are the Post-Its.  I write every slip and scrap of an idea I have on a Post-It.  And phone messages, addresses, directions, reminders to myself to remind myself to do something I have to do.  Like clear up the Post-Its.  What happens is, at some point, I have to organize the Post-Its.  As to not be overtaken by the Post-Its.  Consolidate the Post-Its.  Translate and transcribe the Post-Its.  Decipher the hastily scrawled Post-Its I can no longer read, because what if they are trying to remind me to do something absolutely necessary for me to do, and because I can no longer read my writing, I forget?

There is the laundry, the piles of clothes to be washed and clothes that need to be taken to the dry cleaner, keeping the piles of paper company.  The clothes hanging listlessly in my closet and bunched up in my drawers, that no longer make me feel “fabulous;” they only make me feel 19, and not in the good way, demanding to be looked at, sacked or bagged and then hauled to The Salvation Army.

There are the dishes, the stacks of dirty dishes and soaking pans.  The receipts to be itemized and filed, in envelops or accordion files, or maybe thrown away.  The “desk organizer” that needs a good organization of its own.  And one of these days, my over-the-shoulder bag must be addressed, the change pooling at the bottom, the business cards here and there.  Not to mention my two email accounts, bursting at the seems, begging to be organized, categorized, perged, and merged.

There are the dustballs already starting to re-form in the corners and under the table, sneering at me, even though I just swept last week, and who has the time to sweep more than once a week?

The last thing I want to do after a day of work is deal with any of these piles, so here I am, face to face, eyeball to eyeball, nose to nose, with piles upon piles on a gorgeous, sunny Saturday April afternoon. 

Don’t mess with me.  I will not let you get the best of me.  I will conquer each and every last dusty, crumpled, rumpled, restless inch of  you.

But not today.  It is too too nice outside for pile-conquering today.  I will save you for a rainy day.  Don’t get too comfortable, too relaxed, too at ease.  Because I will be back.  To take you down.

Copyright © 2008 by Jennifer Garam