Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Seasonal Procrastination

Today, I am in the office. I am looking at the telephone, putting off a call. I don't know what I expect to happen in the time provided by my delay in picking up the phone, but so far nothing has. The call is to book some business travel for a trip I really would rather avoid. I wonder perhaps if, during my procrastination, some event may intercede and obviate my requirement to be on an aeroplane for a stupid number of hours, cramped into an inhumanly small space for one with such an extensive frame.
I sit and look a the phone. I intend to pick it up and make the call, but somehow, I just don't. Some unseen but strongly felt inertia prevents me. I look to see the nature of this inertia. Is is chemical? I try coffee in the hope that the known benefits of caffeine may somehow stimulate my neurons and galvanise them into decisive action.
It does not.

The phone just sits there, impassive and yet somehow judgmental. "Go on you lazy bastard! Pick me up!" I don't.
I notice my apple. It looks so red and green and enticing. Possibly, at another time, it would just be an apple and its appeal would be merely calorific. But now, it is a welcome distraction. How long can I take to eat an apple I wonder? About two minutes it would seem.

Like a pudding, a lumpen stodgy collection of atoms who by common agreement, decide to assemble themselves together for a few decades to form me, I sit here. And so does the phone.
Dumped into my chair, like a formless sack of human indolence, like a man made from mud, I raise my reluctant eyes to the screen to see I have an email. I wonder if it will be interesting. I open it. It is not.
I type a quick reply and go back to being an apathetic blob. The phone seems more insistent somehow
Unable to put it off any longer, I reach for the damn thing. Somehow, gravity in the vacinity of my arms is higher than usual today. Taking my hand to the keypad takes an enormous effort. I force through it.

I pick up the phone. I am in a queue. Oh well, perhaps I will hang up and call back later.
A small, celebratory helium ballon floats past on the wind outside my window, perhaps a hundred feet up. I try to believe it had belonged to some forty-something lady, with a birthday and a bunch of lilies, who will not unduly notice its loss, rather than a now distraught and tearstained toddler seeing its favourite object of the day receding into the distance (where perhaps it may discover my lost motivation).
I don't succeed and my urge to go and find the poor mite and buy it another balloon to ameliorate its agitation, momentarily provides a spark of desire to do something other than sit and vegetate.
I watch the balloon dwindle to a dot. My empathy for the unkown, hypothetical toddler and his small personal tragedy subsides a little. I look back at the phone. Gravity increases again on my forearms. But I pick up the phone with reluctance.
And eventually I do the deed. Trip booked. Tedious details arranged. I am committed to my disagreeable journey.

So, why don't I feel better for having done that? Because I don't want to go. Why did my desire to not travel cause so much inertia? Surely, the unappealing nature of my unwanted odyssey is the same if I booked it immediately as it would be if I dithered. This is so. But we are not rational.

Is it perhaps a function of the season? Would it have been easier on a bright and sunny day in May? hard to say. But perhaps the greyness of November does something to the human spirit that makes everything more arduous. At a time when the nights are dark, the days barely brighter than twilight, when those small spirits of woodland and hedgerow, steal in from creeping unseen between the legs of the sheep in the field and into our houses to steal our sherry and hide our keys, is it more difficult to rouse oneself to action? I feel it is. Perhaps it is the desire to hibernate in a modern incarnation. Maybe metabolisms slow down to preserve energy till Summer and the return of times of plenty, impeding commensurately our brains and predisposing us to prevarication and sloth.

Or maybe I am just a lazy git who ought to just get off his arse and get on with it. Well, either way, I think I deserve another coffee and a kitkat now.


Librarian said...

If only such people like bosses and customers would see the benefit of us all going into hibernation for some weeks! Just think about it - a lot less energy would be needed for all the heating and light that people need because they have to be up and about very day; we'd all save on fuel, CO2-output would decrease significantly, and the more I think about it, the more I am convinced this is THE solution to the global climate problem...
Of course, I'd get up for Christmas, unwrap my presents, eat something, and then go back to bed, not to be disturbed until the end of March (I'd get up in time for my birthday, I think).

Rubye Jack said...

Really, I can't relate but found this post enjoyable nonetheless. I never travel, don't need to or have to and I hate airport security so much I hope I never fly again. However, reaching for the phone can be the most difficult of tasks for me--most of the time, and so I suppose I do relate. Regardless, your writing is fun to read.

PerlNumquist said...

Thank you. I just wonder where this inertia comes from that somehow prevents one rising from the chair and actually doing anything other than sitting, feeling heavy and thinking guiltily about those activities we shuld be rousing ourselves to do.
As for aeroplanes, its part of the job. The inertia mentioned above is implicated to some extent. Its a job I have done for nearly 20 years and the energy and effort needed to find and do something else means I continuie to do it as the path of least resistance. I just make sure I have books for those hours sitting on planes. And sometimes I write. But not often enough.

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