Ever have a day
completely out of control with Very Important Things?
Very Important Things (VITs for short) have a life of their own and they
have to get done. It doesn't matter if there is a beautiful sunset
to watch or the big game on. These things know how important they
are, and they demand our immediate attention.
The VITs in my life usually strike on the weekend, that sacrosanct time
that is mine, all mine, to spend however I want. That is, unless the
VITs come calling. First there's those rotten VITs from the week,
ones from work that didn't get taken care of because of, well, other
things that simply had to get done like answering the phone and dealing
with email. There's nothing quite like a presentation due Monday
morning (who's the jerk who volunteered to give it on Monday morning?!?)
to sour the weekend. On Wednesday the presentation was only a thing.
Thursday afternoon it became important. Saturday morning it earned
its very stripes.
If it was only one VIT like a presentation, things wouldn't be so bad.
Unfortunately, the shark that handles my procrastination loan usually
calls in all my debts on a day like this. When I procrastinate, I
borrow on time in the future for use today. Sometimes I get away
with never having to pay that time back. Then a day like this comes
along and all my procrastination comes back to haunt me with interest.
Before I'm even halfway through the presentation, I discover that I must
absolutely fix the leaky toilet today because my mother-in-law is coming
over for a visit and that the pile of really bad movies I rented Tuesday
are due back today. My gut says to return the movies first; on
principle alone I refuse to waste another penny on them, especially at
late-fee rates. However, sanity prevails, as does priority over
principle. Both the presentation and movies can wait: you don't know
This isn't the first time I'll be side-tracked. After discovering
that I forgot to do any of my regular morning chores like giving the dogs
their breakfast (I throw them four biscuits each, which should be about
the same as a cup of kibble), I find Rebecca working hard in the backyard
and with a truckload of bags that need to be brought down to the garage.
It only take a minute, she says. A minute at lightspeed, I discover.
Ten minutes to carry them all down, ten minutes to figure out how to fit
them in the garage until garbage day, ten minutes to clean up the bag that
broke all over my back, and ten minutes to take a hot shower.
"I thought you were working on your presentation," Rebecca says
as I towel myself off. The phone rings. "Can you get
that? I've got my hands full." I pick up the phone,
weighing the odds that I'd be better off letting the machine pick it up.
"Hey, it's Fred. How's it goin'?" There's no time
for me to answer. "Hey, how come you never call?" I
really do want to talk with Fred, although I could do without the guilt
for once, but the VITs are pressing in. Another VIT attacks without
warning: I step in a pile of dog puke.
While the dog puke does send me back to the bathroom and takes another
four minutes to clean up, it takes me less time than a typical
conversation with Fred, so I figure I'm ahead for the first time today.
Mistake to think this, for it jinxes me: on the trip to the garage I
stumble on my son Skylar's bouncy chair which I need to put into the
attic. I lay the bag of puke on the washing machine as I pick up the
chair. Only yesterday he sat in it on my desk while I wrote; now
he's too big.
What am I thinking? Even children know that the worst monsters hide
either under the bed or in the attic. And there they are, waiting
for me: the guitar I always wanted to learn to play ("pick me up ,
pick me up"), the box of letters from college which still need
sorting, Christmas lights, piles of unread magazines, stuff to donate, my
I flee from the attic and down the stairs. The flashing light on the
VCR tells me that either it is midnight and the day is completely gone or,
very importantly, that it needs to be reset if I want my favorite show to
be recorded later. There is no place to hide from them, VITs
everywhere, surrounding me, outnumbering me, more than I can possibly
handle. I stagger backwards into the nursery, completely
Turning, I see Skylar lying awake, watching me patiently from his crib.
He makes no sound, no demand for me to get or do something for him.
The look on his face tells me that he understands that I have Very
Important Things to care of right now. So I do.
And there's not another VIT that can stop me.