I'm on my way to wasting today. I could feel it coming on yesterday when I spent all day dawdling, sitting sideways in random chairs, welcoming any distraction, before I finally finished the little bit of real work that had to be done. When the work was finally done, I packed my family in the car and drove to a park. I watched Responsibility in the rearview mirror, rushing out to chase us, waving its arms and yelling something about the chicken in the fridge and the plans to clean the kitchen floor. I pretended to not see.
We ate cheap takeout and let the boys ride their bikes and scooters around on a paved path, while Ryan and I sat on a bench and sipped soda. He said parks sometimes make him sad, like when he sees grubby, wandering kids who have nothing else but the neighborhood park for entertainment. I meant to ask him for further explanation, but we got interrupted by our kids who had completed an entire loop around the park and wanted our accolades.
Later at home, after leaving the park and getting an ice cream cone, I laid on the family room carpet and watched one of my recorded shows. I could feel a pull to get up, to clean the kitchen floor, to do something effective, but that pull was no match for the gravity that was holding me softly against the carpet. "I'm sorry, Responsibility," I said, "Gravity got me."
I finally got up and slogged my way through bedtime, refusing to read a chapter to Max out of his favorite book. I said I was too tired; it was too late (it wasn't). I was going to explain to him how Gravity was pushing me around and Responsibility was getting on my nerves, but I figured it would only confuse him. Kids are immune to Gravity and Responsibility.
This morning Responsibility was waiting for me at my bedside, arms folded tight, toe tapping anxiously, throat clearing and eyes glancing at a ticking wristwatch. It submitted a request for breakfast, packed lunch, homework, two recipes, an hour of exercise, and writing time with that pesky unfinished novel. I looked over the request, overwhelmed and annoyed. I stamped "REQUEST DENIED" all over it and gave it a flippant toss as I walked away. Responsibility is wound so tight, I could feel it seething as I secretly made breakfast behind its back and shoved lunch money in Christian's pocket.
I hope Responsibility hasn't noticed, but I cleaned the kitchen, produced a recipe, and even exercised--but only for a half hour. Hah! But that's it. I'm not budging another inch. I'm not going to coordinate homework, and I'm certainly not going to be forced to work on my withering, neglected novel. YOU CAN'T MAKE ME! I can waste today if I want!
I can, can't I?
Responsibility is in the other room now, scribbling furiously on a giant legal pad, writing me a reprimand. No doubt it will include all the regular arguments: the sense of accomplishment I'm missing out on, the obligation to myself and my family, the doubling of work for tomorrow, the obvious reminder that every book is written one word at a time. I've heard it all before. I turn up the stereo, drowning out the sound of the methodical T-crossing and I-dotting going on in the other room. I should get on with my wasted day, but I'm all thrown off now.
Responsibility is so damn smug.