Maxie van Roye
Volume 21 Issue 22 2013-06-14
I wake up reluctantly, the loud tendrils of my alarm clock penetrating my brain like shards of glass. Wednesday. Wednesday? Aha! Today is the day that I get that essay out the door, all 2,000 words of it. Itís due at the end of the week, but Iíve got the day off work and Iím going to get my thoughts together and onto the screen.
Ideas are swirling in my head already. Itís going to be a good day, a productive one. I can feel it. I get dressed, see my kid off to school, and, coffee in hand, I head upstairs for my office.
But on the landing I stumble over a box of clothes thatís headed to Goodwill. Iíve passed that box a hundred times in the past week, and I can no longer stand its silent nagging. So I pick it up; Iíll put it right in the trunk of the car so that I can drop it off the next time Iím in the area.
If Iím already going to make the trip to Goodwill, I might as well make it worth my while. So I take this opportunity to run down to the basement level to sort my daughterís clothes. An hour later, Iíve got an armful of too-small discards. I add them to the box and pop them in the car, and now Iím ready to tackle that essay. Itís only 9:30; Iíve got hours of work time ahead of me.
Unfortunately, while I was sorting and toting clothes my coffee got cold. I dump it down the sink and put on another pot. Itís time to get this thing started!
While itís brewing, I put away the clean dishes from last night. Iím multitasking like a pro here, and Iím not taking any more time away from my writing. Coffee is done. I reach the door of my office and whip open my laptop.
Thereís a piece of paper lying on top of the keyboard. I peer at it. Crap, the hydro billís due today. Well, thatís a priority. I pay it online, and then I pay the three other bills that are due tomorrow. Kill two birds, and all thatóthis makes me ahead of the game! I open my essay file and type in my title.
The phone rings. Itís my daughterís school. Blah, blah, paperwork, blah blah supposed to send that yesterday. Okay, also a priority. I fill it out and put it downstairs where her schoolbag goes. Iíll pop it in there when she gets home today.
I check my watch. I lost a half hour, but thatís okay. Iíve paid bills and caught myself up on paperwork and sorting. Now Iím ready to roll!
Or maybe not. Whereís the stack of research materials I borrowed from the library? I must have left them in the car the other day. I dash downstairs out to the parking lot and locate them on the passenger seat. But what is that smell?
Thereís a weird odour wafting from the back seat. I gingerly root around back there and discover a half-rotting sandwich shoved under the booster. God help me, that kid. I throw the sandwich in the dumpster and gather into my arms all the other stuff that definitely doesnít belong in the car: two hoodies, an overdue library book, four pencils, two dolls, one shoe (whereís the other?), her ballet bag, and a bunch of wrappers.
I stick them in a laundry basket in the entryway of the house. These, at least, arenít my problem.
Now itís 11, and I realize I havenít eaten breakfast. All this running around has made me hungry. Iíll have an early lunch and get to work. It should last me until mid-afternoon: a nice, solid chunk of work time. Of course, before I get started I need to run back out to the car to retrieve my research books, which I left there because my arms were too full of little girl paraphernalia.
11:30. I open the first book and type the info into a bibliography. Luckily Iíve done a bit of the research beforehand, so this should flow well. I write a killer opening paragraph, and launch into my first argument.
The phone rings. Itís my best friend. I forgot to return her call two days ago, so I guiltily pick up and explain why, yet again, I canít talk. Sheís understanding and listens while I complain about this stupid essay and the trouble itís causing me. By the time Iím done whining, I feel a lot better. But now itís nearly 12:30.
I write for a solid half hour. Then I get stuck and find myself on Facebook. Bad decision; Iím not going to let distractions get in the way of productivity today. I decide to get some fresh air. Maybe the mailís come? It hasnít. I fill my water bottle, wipe down the fridge, and head back upstairs. I still canít focus. I collect the trash and bring it out; Iím being efficient here, since Iíd have to do this tonight anyway.
1:45. I write the conclusion. That gives me some ideas, so I type a bit more. No, that doesnít sound right. I retype it and then retype it again. Iím editing! Thatís productive! But itís 2:15, and I still have three pages to go. My daughter will be home at 3. Iím getting nervous. Iíve got 45 minutes to write three pages, which works out to 15 minutes a page. If a page is max 500 words, that means a hundred words every five minutes. I waste 15 minutes on advanced mathematical calculations. Now the pressureís on. That makes me stuck. Sheís going to be here in 30 minutes. 25. 20. I have to go to the bathroom.
Fifteen. Iím nervous. Why am I nervous? Sheís not a baby; I can work while sheís home! Maybe Iíll make a snack for her now, so Iíll have a bit more uninterrupted writing time when she goes out to play.
Ten minutes. Where did the day go? Iíve gotten a lot accomplished, just not on this essay. I edit a bit. Five minutes. Brain flash! I start madly typing. Now Iím on a roll!
Ding dong! Sheís home. ďMommy can I . . . Mommy I need . . .Ē Argh. 600 words out of 2,000. So much for my essay writing day. Guess Iíll be burning the midnight oil . . .
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