I see a blur of red bobbing in the horizon. I’m sitting, alone, in a life raft in the middle of the ocean. Supplies are dangerously low. How hard is it to catch a sea gull? Can you eat a sea gull? I’ve read people drink their own urine in survival situations.
I worry, some days, that I don’t even belong in the wild west. I’ve never circled the wagons. I don’t even have a wagon, can’t afford it, they aren’t cheap. Cattle rustling? A job for quicker cowgirls…
I was supposed to be working today. I had planned to work. I was actually looking forward to the Christmas Quiet that falls over my office. Really. No lie. My inbox is in desperate need of a scrub. But, I had to send my work laptop off for a Holiday Break upgrade and that really limited my options for a productive workday. What is a girl to do?
No, really. What is a girl to do? Work doesn’t want me – I got up early and wrapped everything up for my holiday vacation. Tie a bow on top of it because I am finished. My house is clean. Beds are made. Laundry done. Packages sent and delivered. Phone is silent. I entered some writing contests. I followed up with editors and sent out a few submissions I’d been putting off. I have this one short story that is slowly working its way into a novella and is in danger of being over-worked so I set it aside until after the holidays. This morning, I found myself sitting on my couch, alone. Staring at the walls.
“Now what?” I thought to myself.
It isn’t often that I don’t have a project or task waiting for me. I’m happiest that way. I don’t do idle well. When I’m idle, I tend to get myself into trouble.
Like the time a friend and I visited that psychic in Kent, Ohio and we ended up cleaning her toilets and doing her laundry.
Or, like that time I ended up in that corn field while rollerblading.
Or, that time I was bored and thought I’d wash my car but then realized I was lazy and took it through the car wash and then got trapped in there.
Or, that time…ok, maybe I ought to wrap up some dignity and keep my trap closed.
For the first time in a very long time, I felt bored and alone and really pretty unwilling to change out of my pajamas. (So, ok, I work from home, mostly. The pajamas thing isn’t unique to today.)
I realize luck brought me this boredom. Normally, I whine about how busy I am even though I actually like it. But, to sit in a quiet house with no demands on my time? No chores set in front of me? That is pure luck, right?
So, now what happens?
When I was younger, my Dad would come home every day from work and ask us kids, “What did you get accomplished today?” This was his way of asking us how our day had gone. Happiness and satisfaction was and is still measured in our level of productivity. We come from Farming Stock and what we put off until tomorrow has a tendency to get out of hand pretty quickly. So, we stay on top of things and we get shit done. That way, when we go to bed at night, we know we accomplished something and when we wake in the morning, our workload is manageable.
But today? By mid-morning, my whole world had gone quiet. I’d found a lull in a busy life and I panicked a little at wasting the time. It is a dreary and rainy day that sort of begs you to sink into a couch somewhere. So, that is what I’ve done. Today has been a movie marathon and old fashioned pop corn day. I am alone but not lonely. I made the popcorn the way I like it and didn’t have to share with anyone. I had it with a big cup of chocolate milk with maybe a little too much chocolate but that was the way I wanted it, too, and no one said a damn word about it.
I burnt my popcorn, of course. Because, while it was popping I thought I’d just run real quick into the laundry room and do that half load of towels and by the time I got back, the popcorn was a bit black. But, still, there is something special about popping the kernels on the stove. The house smells like a movie theater. I have the volume up a little loud while I watch the second Lord of the Rings movie on DVD. I can watch the extended scenes and no one is calling me a dork to my face because of how many times I’ve seen these movies.
I suppose we all need a breather, sometimes. I have been so lucky this year – 10 publications in one year (I am proud to say!) – two more (BIG BIG BIG ONES) coming out in 2014. I found a phenomenal writing community. I write, write, write all the time. I completed NaNoWriMo. I spent my ninth year at my job and managed to assist all of my employees in keeping busy and successful – as contractors, that is a big deal. I have absolutely no reason to believe that 2014 won’t be an amazing year. So, now, just at the end of 2013, I’m gifted with a free day before the absolute chaos of Christmas.
So, you know what happens now?
Not a damn thing.
I can’t help but feel like that is somewhat of an accomplishment for me.