Friday, 23 September 2011

Got It All

I stare at our front porch and frown. Someone has dropped a mess of string there, dozens of thin strands of silvery plastic. So I bend down to pick them up, but find myself plucking at thin films of dried slime. Slug tracks. The slugs have been having a field day out here. I meant to put down slug traps last week, but I forgot, and this is the depressing result. The pretty potted flowers I put on the porch a few weeks ago have all been chomped down to the stems. No doubt it's been happening over the past week or so; I've just been too busy to notice. There are dead leaves there too, and weeds growing up through the porch paving, and over a dozen pairs of shoes and boots scattered merrily about, all mud encrusted. When I pass through the kitchen, it helps if I walk fast with my eyes semi-shut. Looking around is risky, though walking without keeping an eye out for obstacles on the floor is even riskier. After all those shoes and boots on the porch, you wouldn't think we'd have any left for the rest of the house, but unfortunately that's not the case.

And of course, that's not all: dirty laundry has piled up waist high. Although we had a good run of dry weather through the week when we were both working, on my day off, the sky is dense with layers of thick grey clouds and rain is pelting down. Our flat has filled up with steaming laundry, on the back of every chair, hanging from every radiator.

I've got four private lessons to plan, all for people of entirely different language levels, with completely different needs. I've got an overworked, stressed-out husband due home from work in a few hours. I've got over a dozen essays to mark; I've already peeked at a few and they don't look like they're going to be smooth sailing. I've got houseguests coming for the weekend, rodent-killing cats that want to eat and play and leave their prey on our filthy floors, and a sick kid coughing upstairs. I've got bulbs to plant in the garden, weeds to hoe, and a tree to dig up. I've got a chapter to translate, two more to edit, and a meeting with my partner to discuss it all. I've got next week's lessons to plan, shopping to do, dinner to cook, and unread library books that need to go back to the library.

And I've got absolutely no time to write.

And it occurs to me: I've got it all, just about, don't I? Well, I don't want it all.

So here's the deal: I'll keep the kid upstairs, and the husband, but leave the cough and the stress -- I don't need them at all. The cats will stay too, but I have no need for their dead mice and voles. The private students will stay as well, but their lessons will be simpler next week, and my students' essays will get a lick and a promise, and my students will learn important self-marking skills. The bulbs I ought to plant can go to a neighbor, the dirty shoes will be swept into one massive pile, and anybody is welcome to my superfluous tree and all my well-fed slugs, as long as they come and collect them. In exchange for all of those things I'm giving up, I'll have a nice publishing contract. Sigh.

Too bad it doesn't work like that, isn't it?


Charles Gramlich said...

Sometimes I wonder how any of us get any writing done with the demands of the world.

Anonymous said...

Plant the bulbs, Mary; you'll need them come February (or whenever spring arrives in your part of the UK!) Condolences on the flowers. All my rescue snapdragons have disappeared (the ones I carefully potted up when I found them while weeding) have disappeared. I thought the soil mix was too rich but a couple of days ago I realized it was probably sowbugs/pillbugs/those little armadillo-like creatures that roll up into tiny balls when you touch them. Can't be slugs; no slime trails!

Vijaya said...

Mary, I don't know how you do it. I couldn't even think about writing with that much on my plate. Or rather, I could think, but once sit at the computer, cannot focus enough to string two meaningful sentences on my WIP.

I say shove everything and everybody under the rug so you cannot see it ... well, there will be a bulge but you can ignore it.

Pat said...

Reminds me of a new film just out:'I don't know how she does it.'
I hope the slugs don't find their way into the boots an shoes.

Robin said...

It should work like that. Why doesn't it work like that? It's not fair.

We can at least give up our stress, can't we?

Carole said...

Now that would be Utopia.