Long Weekends and My Other Life
A long time ago my college tested us students so we would know what professions to pursue. I scored highest in law and social work and lowest in dietitian and home economics teacher. Since I spent awhile yesterday looking for photos of me preparing Thanksgiving meals or even me in the kitchen and found a total of three, one of which I posted yesterday, the other two which follow, I must admit the test may have been at least partially true.
A thousand years ago visiting “The Old Place” before mom and dad stopped farming. Sitting on the woodbox next to the kitchen stove smoking a cigarette. Must admit it was pleasurable.
However I did not become a lawyer either; I did become a social worker but didn’t like it. Forget that test. Writing is what I do. Not great writing. Not salable writing. Not silly writing. Not bad writing either. Writing. It’s a job. Or anyway I want it to be. However I have one of those 40-hour week jobs already. One I like quite a lot. It is interesting, rewarding for me and actually has meaning for the community.
So then, that must be two jobs. Most of my life has been taken up with two or even three jobs at a time so I’m mostly okay with that. I’ve figured it out—early mornings, some evenings, most weekends for one, 8-5 for the other.
Trouble only arises when a long weekend comes along. I wait anxiously for it to arrive. I make lists that account for every potential writing hour. The evening before I shower, put out my best writing clothes (flannel pajamas for winter/cut-off flannel pajamas for summer), the coffeepot is ready to plug in for that fresh brewed smell and I sleep well.
Morning comes. I’m rested, a hot cuppa in my hand. I freeze…incapable of thinking words, sentences, paragraphs. Instead I think about reorganizing the back porch, how the kitchen shelf needs reinforcement, there’s the Christmas list, old photos to organize for further restoration, unswept front porch, grocery list, light bulbs to replace….
So I’m pretty sure what proves I actually am a writer is that after those thoughts flit through my mind, even making it onto a list, I can actually sit down and write. Cheating a little here as this is my easy blog day and I’m putting off paying attention to that elusive book by writing a—well, yes, silly—morning blog post. Now to the computer to see how much of what I’ve written about my obsessive Norwegianness is actually usable for Part One of Up North.
Long weekends are the best reason for working (besides the money of course). Regular weekends just give you a hint of the good life in which you can create or veg out or garden or have time for an art/sporting event or sleep late or…. Vacations take a lot of work both at work and planning and checking the tires or downloading the tickets. Sick days, especially if you’re not that sick, carry that tinge of guilt and if you’re really sick, well what a waste of perfectly good time off.
But long weekends are the best. Free Time. All the regular weekend stuff can happen and then there is that Extra. Day. Off. Demands no planning, no guilt. Not enough extra time to accomplish anything important so you may as well watch 13 episodes of House of Cards or read an entire Swedish crime novel or cook that thing you’ve kept the recipe for that will require you to drink at least half a bottle of wine during the prep.
I, on the other hand, must write write write for my class—which makes me a UCLA student, nose to the grindstone over a long weekend, but feeling smart and self-righteous and ever so literate. And cooking a new polenta tomato thing and drinking the wine goes nicely with writing.
Happy Long Weekend.