So, I was happily scrubbing the baseboards in the master bathroom yesterday, when the very small, very quiet, and yet very persistent voice of reason popped into my head.
“Megan, what are you doing?”
Scrubbing the baseboards.
“Not to disparage what is obviously a noble and urgent pursuit–”
It is, thank you. Look how much shinier it is over here compared to over there!
“Yesyes, that’s incredible. But back to the point. These particular baseboards have gone un-scrubbed for a very long time…and yet, you’re prompted to action now.“
I don’t think I like your tone, missy. What are you getting at?
“I’m just wondering why you’re scrubbing the baseboards.”
They’re dirty. And it’s something I need to do.
“Hmm. Is there something else you need to be doing?”
Like…clean the shower?
Wash the curtains to get the cat hair out?
Reorganize the boxes in the attic?
Oh. You mean running.
“Yes, running. You remember running, don’t you? That activity you’re supposed to be doing, and enjoying, and periodically blogging about?”
“This whole cleaning mania doesn’t have anything to do with your recent running avoidance now, would it?”
Oh, look over there! I missed a spot! (scrub scrub scrub)
Oh, I’m sneaky. If I try to put something off by, say, taking a nap or reading a book, the guilt alarms are triggered. WARNING! SLACKER ALERT! The secret to procrastination is to bypass the guilt sensor…something that I’ve mastered without even trying. Really. Our living space was never so clean as those 2.5 years when I was getting a Master’s degree. “I really need to get started on this 20-page paper…oh wow. Is that dust on top of the TV? That will never do! Just look at this mess!” (scrub scrub scrub) Three hours later, I can revel in the satisfaction of a job well done…even though it’s not the job I ought to be doing.
In the past year, our house can attest to the relative lack of procrastination in my life. Cat hair tumbleweeds have been known to gather on the previously immaculate floors. Laundry gets postponed until the last possible moment.
But now. Scrubbing. The bathroom trim and baseboards. In the middle of a busy work week. Conscience (security guard in the guilt Alarm Center), noting a similarity between this and the previous cleaning spree and wishing to make up for past complacency, sends out a general alarm. Reason accepts investigative responsibility, and the above conversation ensues.
Reason is able to confirm procrastination, but the only other word the subject will utter under interrogation is, “August! August!”
Sigh. If you should happen to see me outside cleaning the gutters or the fish pond, it’s safe to say that I’m not back to running yet.