Sunday, July 8, 2012

Time Management

               Besides the challenge of coming up with the word that describes a person who has moved in from somewhere else, with a conversation like this, 
“There are so many trans...”
            “....ients? Transients?”
            “Uhm. Sort not transience. Not transcendental. Hmm. Like, implant from another place.”
            “Yes! So many transplants now! Yes.”

Besides the word challenge, there is the time management challenge...


The Fool Sketch
            I have had several moments of weeping, growling, cursing and praying or is it really arguing with God about sending support for dealing with time management this weekend. As the weekend starts to unravel on Friday afternoon with too much exhaustion to follow through on Friday night’s plans and taking care of a sick child and visiting with my temporarily-at-home husband, already I should have been adjusting to get ahead with Saturday morning’s plan. Har. When I started out exhausted, it didn’t mean that I would actually go to bed earlier. To me it meant I would reduce my potential experiences on Friday night from three to two.
            I won’t even go back and explain why I was tired. It was embarrassing. I was aghast at my ability to completely space out my commitments. It isn’t important. It’s the way these days. It’s just the way.
            My choice for dealing with exhaustion was, instead of going out to an art gallery opening for just an hour to see an old friend’s new business, I would stay home and make dinner, that I hadn’t planned on making, for two people (my daughter and husband) who were supposed to be somewhere else. I decided I would hang out with them for precious-to-my-heart’s moments of conversation and laughter. I would not trouble them with my need to take off chipped nail polish because I can barely stand to smell that nail polish remover myself. I would put off dealing with the laundry to the next afternoon when I got back from the outing I had planned for Saturday morning. I would stay with them as long as I could because their presence is always a gift and special when unplanned.
            So Saturday morning arrived and the chipped nail polish screamed at me after I’d walked the dog, made the coffee, and done everything else to get ready to stick to my original plan on 5 ½ hours’ sleep. What about fifteen minutes before I had to leave? I could surely remove chipped nail polish in fifteen minutes. Har. Obviously I haven’t painted my fingernails with color for many years. Fifteen minutes covered a single thumbnail. Once one thumbnail is colorless the rest of the nails’ volume increased. Finally, already running 20 minutes later than I’d planned, I gave up with one hand nearly done, if very red now, and the other looking more chipped than ever.
            Fuck it. I’m an artist with funky undone nails. Yeah baby.
            Wish I was that tough. Instead, I’m standing over the sink weeping over the fact that I can’t get this small task right. My husband rubs my back and tells me not to worry about it, but to get out there into the world.  How hard is it to leave my home for a few hours in the morning? Every morning I would weep, if I could get away with it, but there are the dog, kids, family and friends that expect that getting out of the house is not really a big deal. I always have run a tiny bit late, but now, it is exponential. I have no sense of how many tasks I can handle in any given period of time, and, lately, I seem to always commit myself to too many.
            It was so much fun when I finally arrived to get to know two women better than I knew them when I used to know them. That’s how it is with time. We walked around the place we would have walked around thirty years ago, had we walked around together at that time at all, but the fact that we all knew the place and culture so well, and had so many folds of our lives touching, it was as if we had, of course, done this before. (Thank you Alice and Stephany, for your patience with me, and for a lovely morning looking at art. It was truly inspirational.)
            By noon, I could not absorb any more visual information, nor carry on a conversation with the words I meant. For instance, in a moment of intended helpfulness, I replaced “pool cue” in the conversation for “fishing rod” for no more reason I suppose than its long narrow shape, and the possibility of it being in a garage.  Because…that’s how my brain works now.  I pleaded the fifth of brain surgery recovery, and left like a good girl. Driving back home I remembered something I’d forgotten.
            I had promised to talk to a friend this weekend, after missing several chances in the last week. She’s on East coast time, and so the trick is to talk in the morning, but have my mornings been open this weekend? Of course, not. Did I realize they would be filled? Sort of, kind of. I knew I was going out with my new-old friends. I pulled over and texted a message that I’d be home and ready to talk. Was I? Of course not.
            When I got home, several hours walking, talking and looking at art, not to mention driving there and back LATER, had me exhausted. I climbed in bed next to my ever-reading husband and fell asleep for 10 minutes! Then he coughed. I woke. Then he left the room, I slept for another 10 minutes. Then my medication alarm went off. No sleep. I rose, I wandered. Completely out of touch with the memory that I’d promised to call my friend. I checked in with my daughter, who’d decided to stay another night, and thought I better come up with some dinner. I headed out to the store. I remembered I already had food. I came home. I sat down and sketched a few moments and finally remembered. I sent a text message, to my friend apologizing that I hadn’t called, predicting Sunday morning would be better.
            I made food. Ah yes! I hadn’t eaten anything all day! It was like that. It is like that. Between taking medications and eating, remembering just those two simple things, it is a veritable hammer-head situation. (As I’m writing this, I realize my alarm has gone off at least once, maybe two times today and I haven’t taken my medication yet.)  I watched a children’s cartoon as I ate my omelet at 3:30 pm and felt better.
            What to do? It is just stunning these moments of blankness that take over finally. What can I get done? This is the question that floats through my brain like a mist that hasn’t formed yet into a good, soaking rain.
            It’s been 24 hours since then. I still haven’t spoken to my friend on the East Coast because I had forgotten there would be the time suck of getting my husband fed for his driving day back to the work site, and getting my daughter fed, and ready to go to her dad’s and driving her there and back. I forgot about the time it would take to walk the dog now that it is a reasonable 65 degrees instead of 105 degrees. I forgot that I didn’t have aluminum foil, which is something I needed to make the thing I wanted to make, and so also there was the trip to the store and back, and then oh yes, oh yes, it is my step-mother’s 65th birthday, and I needed to get fresh cut flowers because that is what she likes best. At the store I momentarily forgot why I was there, but luckily I remembered that and a few other things.
            Yes, I would weep over the sink everyday over these overlapping things that do not stay in my mind (I’ve already forgotten about taking my medications again), even when I have alarms and calendars, lists and post-it notes. I’m going to go and take my medication now, Time. Thanks for reminding me.