Day 27/28: Baggage

Yesterday, I started off by losing my keys, consequently was late to my Head Therapy appointment and had to hitch a ride with a friend to Physical Therapy #1 and #2. Then, I walked to Spousal Unit's office to get his car keys, and launched into a 40 minute walk home in 90-something degree heat at NOON that was so unbearable I used my umbrella in full sunlight (having always been someone who scoffed at those who did such things). After that, I made it to the rest of my appointments just fine, and ended the day by helping some friends who are moving to the back end of nowhere in Texas pack up their moving truck. I was a lot of help, carrying things like poster tubes, pillows, wrapping paper, Christmas ornaments, and moaning about my back all the while. I think they were really glad I was there. Spousal Unit, on the other hand, pulled his weight and then some. By the way, when we got home Spousal Unit practically walked into the house and stumbled over my keys. I had spent a good hour earlier tearing the house apart, and had decided while lifting not-so-heavy objects that the keys must have been accidentally thrown away, so I was about 2 seconds away from going dumpster diving into our garbage can, when he found them in the book case with the CDs. Still not sure how they got there, but I was much relieved not to have to dig through last week's chicken skins, moldy left-overs, and cereal scrapings that have had a nice long time to marinade in the unbearable heat.

It was sad that these friends are leaving, and a bit shocking. You really never know your friends until you help them move. I like these folks a lot, but now I'm not so sure I can trust them. This couple lives in a 3 bedroom apartment, are moving into a 4 bedroom house, and are able to fit all of their stuff in a 14' Ryder truck. Maybe they're spies, or robots, or aliens posing as graduate student humans, but clearly something is off there. There is just no way my whole life would fit in a 14' truck. Now, Spousal Unit and I have been together for a long time (married 11 years, together 15 -- yes, we were babies when we met) and suffice it to say we have a lot of crap. A LOT. Hell, my office alone would overflow a 14' moving truck, let alone all of the rest of our stuff. The last time we moved 3 years ago we had a 32' truck full to the very gills, towed our car behind it also stuffed full to the rim with junk, and embarrassingly enough had to leave behind some things that just wouldn't fit. (FYI: we don't have kids or pets, just 2 packrats. Or maybe 1 packrat, 1 normal guy). I had hoped that this summer I would have the chance to PURGE -- to do a serious re-evaluation of every single item we have and then throw away the stuff we don't need/use/want/remember we even own. (Sentimental Exception for the PB 520, of course). But, apparently, I have to work on this dissertation so that I can start teaching for the first time in the fall. So, I have grand plans for next year's summer purge and am truly inspired by these minimalist friends who seem to travel with very little baggage.

Today, thus far, I have done very little productive work. I talked on the phone to my best friend who is coming to visit next week from the other side of the country (Horay!), and have done some more note card rearranging. I've checked my email a million times, and had lunch. Oh, yeah, and I surfed the blogosphere. Thanks to Academic Coach for the 10 reasons why we procrastinate: (http://successfulacademic.typepad.com/successful_academic_tips/2005/06/procrastinators.html) {note: I tried to make it link, but failed miserably. Sorry! Learning Project for another day.}

I particularly liked #2: It's safer to do nothing than take a risk and fail. To which I say, OF COURSE IT IS!! Why would anybody ever risk anything? It is far better, simpler, and safer to sit at home, eating cookie dough and chips, watching the O.C., and reading novels. Isn't there a fellowship out there somewhere for that? The Safe Couch Potato Fellowship? The Academic Chicken Fellowship? The McArthur Fearful Genius Fellowship? (And of course, the aforementioned are the particular pastimes of no one I know, I'm sure.) Such behavior really should be rewarded, I think. Reluctantly, though, I have to admit to myself that A.C. was right. I am particularly risk averse. Especially when it comes to my ideas. All my life I was told I was smart and that I had good ideas. What if that turns out not to be true? What if everyone discovers the fraud I really am? What if I don't have ANY good ideas, only bad, frivolous and, worse, BORING ones? What if I get struck by lightning as this thunder storm moves through? What if flying monkeys attack me in my study while I'm trying to write? See, many terrible things could happen if I take risks.

Ok, maybe the flying monkeys were a bit farfetched. But, the lightning thing could happen. Anyway, I better go deal with this lovely bit of baggage by taking a risk and doing some writing. Maybe I'll fail. Maybe those monkeys will get me after all. Or maybe not. I'll keep you posted.

5 comments:

At 8:20 PM New Kid on the Hallway said...

Heh. H and I helped a friend move house today - just within town - and it was just like you said: I was all over the pillows and lamps and birdfeeders, while H hung out in the van (in the upper-90s heat!) and rearranged everything so that nothing would fall over or bang around. I like to think of myself as decorative. ;-)

And I hear you on the risk thing, too.

 
At 11:24 PM Suz said...

Hi all, me again

I am not sure if you saw this and used it to weave another great story (this one about stuff) that doesn't seem like it is about the diss, but then it is.... I am probably pointing out the obvious but sometimes I am pretty simple.

You said, " I had hoped that this summer I would have the chance to PURGE -- to do a serious re-evaluation of every single item we have and then throw away the stuff we don't need/use/want/remember we even own."

You do have the chance this summer. Just about different "stuff". Go at it!

 
At 1:17 AM La Lecturess said...

This is totally unrelated to your post today--but I just came across your blog and am loving it. (Perhaps not coincidentally, I'm also in a race to finish my diss this summer.)

Looking forward to reading more--although anything, really, to get away from my own damn work!

LL

 
At 2:18 PM Overread said...

Oh, thanks alot. I hadn't thought about the flying monkeys. Now I have to add that to the list of things I have to worry about...

 
At 6:24 PM Stewgad said...

Brilliant, Suz. Thanks! I hadn't thought about it that way. And yes, the Diss. is some big-ass heavy baggage that I am SO tired of carrying! Very wise.

Welcome LL!

Overread: Yes, flying monkeys are a major source of dissertation-related disasters. I've been told that copious applications of chocolate can help prevent the attacks, but I'm still always on the lookout.

 

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