By Julie Mann Kraus
I was talking on the phone a few days ago to my friend Janet in Texas, and I jokingly said that the thing I’ve done best during this pandemic is procrastinate. But as I begin to think about it, maybe it isn’t a joke anymore. My taxes weren’t completed and posted until May 13th this year; the seedlings that I usually plant in the garden by now every year haven’t even been started as seeds; the flowers that I like to pot around my house haven’t been purchased. That comfortable La-Z-Boy chair that I promised myself in February of 2020 when I cleaned up the clutter in my den is still out there waiting for a good home.
When my washing machine started letting me know that it was having problems in November (Operating Error messages and a small stream of water on the floor), I found a way to keep it working until I finally broke down and bought a new one just last week. Some of this has been my fear of going into most stores during the pandemic, but putting it off seemed easier until I had to rinse and wring each item of clothing by hand (and drain all the water out with the little tube at the bottom of the machine) when the OE message blinked at me continuously a week and a half ago.
This all got me thinking about the fact that it’s not like I don’t have the time to get things done. I’m not volunteering twice a week; I’m not running errands for homebound friends as much; I’m not meeting friends for lunch and shopping like I used to. Plays and concerts haven’t been a part of my life in over a year. In fact, the words “I’m not” have become a regular part of my consciousness. Could this be a factor?
This is all pretty interesting because I consider myself a preventative kind of person. If anyone gets a cut around my house, I have ointments and liquids and every type of bandage and treatment, as well as aspirin and pain medications. If a handyman needs a tool or drill or saw or screw or nail, I’ve got it. I do so because I like to head off the stress of having to run and get something in the middle of a project. I keep every leftover piece of wood–it will come in handy sometime, even as a tomato stake.
I really hadn’t considered the ramifications of spending so much time as a single person during this Covid period, but as I look around and notice that the tax papers haven’t been put away; the laundry room isn’t completely returned to its organized condition after receiving its new machine; the storage room is still bereft of most of its stuff after a visit from the water softener guy doing a routine checkup last week...
It’s time to reevaluate.
When I retired some years back, I started saying that everyday is Saturday. It sounded fun and has stayed my retirement mantra. Now I’m thinking that my Scarlett O’Hara pandemic mantra is that I’ll do it tomorrow. “After all,” as the quintessential southern belle famously declared, “Tomorrow is another day!” There doesn’t seem to be much harm in letting projects linger a little longer before completion. I’m wondering if others are feeling somewhat the same and I’d be curious to read their comments. My friend, Janet, thinks we should have a procrastination blog. That might be cathartic!
Julie Kraus is a retired Detroit Public Schools teacher who has used this pandemic to write letters, send lots of greeting cards and have long phone conversations. A classical pianist who hasn’t been able to come up with reasons not to practice the piano daily, she is waiting for the day when there is more than an audience of one. Playing for friends over the phone does have its drawbacks. A plus for being cooped up have been the many recipes that have been tried and the several that have become true. She hopes that everyone stays healthy and gets vaccinated.