The last couple of days were meant to be a relaxing opportunity to get caught up on things around the house, in the happy lull after I turned in final grades for the semester. Instead I spent most of the time in a deranged tizzy. The more tizzied I became, the more each thing took longer than intended, the later I got started on the next, and so on, ad infinitum. (I'm better now. Everything is bought and filed and examined and scheduled and packed up and mailed off, and I'm sitting quietly in a chair and listening to the soothing hum of the dishwasher.)
My always tenuous ability to stay on top of things turns out to have been more tightly bound to a predictable weekly grid of responsibilities than I'd realized. Certainly during the semester there were loads of new things to attend to every week, but they were all permutations of the same sorts of things, and I could expect them to turn up on a reliable schedule.
Then the semester ended and everything became a fresh new one-off responsibility. Each task pitter-patters out of my head like rain through a sieve, leaving me with nothing but an acute but pervasive awareness that I am Not On Top. Then I have to go rushing to check what I'm not on top of. It pit-pats out again immediately, and I have to check again right away, like the poor canonical OCD sufferer dashing into her house again and again to make sure that the oven really is turned off.
As a result I snapped at Steve, wasted a lot of packing paper, had to reschedule an eye doctor appointment, covered the house with a fine layer of paper scraps, and generally did everything in the most inefficient way possible, including racing to campus just so I could be there for a student meeting that wound up taking all of ten minutes. It was probably more like nine minutes, strictly speaking. Then I went home, because all the things I still needed to get done depended on information or objects I'd carefully removed from the office and taken home with me the day before.
"You're going to be lots of fun when you're old," observes Steve.
"I'll just make sure no one expects me to take care of anything at all when that happens."
"Good idea. Me neither."
My grandmother did a pretty good job of this when she was old and demented. Her ability to keep track of conversations was much like that of an extremely stoned person, and she got similar enjoyment out of tasty snacks and Miss Marple videos. Everyone adored her, she was so pleasant and tidy, and she sailed through most of her days with a serene, potheaded demeanor that served her well. The only downside was that my grandfather died a few years before her, so she didn't get to take advantage of the experience with a full time drug buddy. With luck, Steve and I can go naturally hash-addled in tandem, gently abdicating all responsibility and giggling ourselves creakily to sleep in front of ultradigitally remastered 8-D XXHD recordings of The Core and Iron Man XIV.
In other news, my mother has convinced me that the burning, needling intramuscular pain just below my ribs is the result of sharp little prenatal heels puuuuushing cruelly against my tender parts. This information doesn't help anything, particularly, but it has given rise to a new fetal nickname: My Pal Foot Foot. ("Click on Foot Foot to hear Foot Foot"!)