Turn Out The Lights

Eight.jpg

First of all, yes. I do intend to post something every day for the next five weeks or so. It won’t make me crazy to break the chain, life happens, no one’s hanging on my every word, but I’ve been to this rodeo before. I have no trouble writing every day. I get into trouble writing about something interesting. The actual words will come pretty easily.

And if you’re getting this in your email box, I’d imagine it would get old. No one is that interesting. But you don’t have to read, I guess. After Easter, it’ll be back to business as usual, whatever that is.

...

I read something yesterday where the author recommended a specific kind of coffee grinder that he enjoyed. I’m not in the market for a new grinder, but this morning as I was making coffee I decided to check the grinder brand, just to remind myself of what kind I had. Because that sort of stuff comes up in conversation all the time.

Anyway, it was morning, as I believe I mentioned. First thing in the morning, because that’s coffee time. And I looked at that grinder, and specifically at the dial that sets the grind consistency, and I saw a word, and for a couple of minutes, groggy and barely awake, I would have told you that I have a Medium grinder. That’s a particular kind of groggy.

I like coffee. Didn’t used to, do now. This is not remarkable. I make a cup at a time, or almost always, and usually no more than two. I use an Aeropress, which gives me a smooth cup. I use an electric tea kettle and I like the water around 193 degrees F. I can tell from the sound when it reaches that temperature. I guess I take coffee fairly seriously, all in all.

But it’s superficial. If that grinder breaks, I’ll go straight to ground coffee. If that gets too expensive or too much trouble, I’d go to instant. It’s just coffee. I lived most of my life not even drinking it. I wouldn’t look back, I’m sure.

...

This superficiality of importance was on my mind yesterday, when Facebook was down. I’ve made a point of avoiding Facebook for the most part during Lent, still reading but not posting or commenting. Trying to mind my own business, in other words, just to see how that feels. So the outage didn’t mean much to my day. I just noticed it and moved on.

I just wondered what the world would look like if Facebook was offline for a longer period. Like, for a week. Some architecture problem, a reimagining, a sustained attack, something. A week, let’s say.

See, I think we’d all think, huh. This really isn’t necessary. My day is fine without seeing pictures of your food or dog, although both look very nice and are certainly not offensive at all. But I can live without it and so can you, and honestly I think life would be a tiny bit better.

This is exactly why the concept of Lent appeals. What is distracting me? What’s getting in my way, and what’s it keeping me from doing or thinking or being? Dunno. I don’t think Facebook is my biggest problem, but the idea I like. Turn off all the lights, get away from the city, and look up. Might be surprised at how much we can see.

...

I gave my son a ride to a doctor’s appointment yesterday, one down near the University of Washington. It’s a two-hour chunk of my time, then, although it’s only once a month at most. Still, I’m busy these days. I didn’t mind talking about this to my son on our drive.

Text messaging with my wife, after talking with my son about stress and then, while sitting in the car, getting an email asking me to do something.

Text messaging with my wife, after talking with my son about stress and then, while sitting in the car, getting an email asking me to do something.

Not taking him to his appointment; that’s not the issue. Just my sense of having too much to do, and instead of feeling embarrassed or ashamed of not keeping up, I’ve been letting some people know. Just kind of casually, in conversation. This is partly just to share, and partly prophylactic, or I hope. I hope people will understand that there’s a lot on my plate right now, or that’s how it feels. Everyone is very nice and sympathetic, and they nod and smile as they keep ladling stuff onto my plate.

Here’s the thing: I understand all of this. I understand my own frustration. I understand how people want to be supportive and at the same time don’t have the capacity to walk in everybody else’s shoes, all the time.

This is on me, then. My friends need my guidance on this. If I need help, I need to ask. If I need to say no, I need to say no.

Because sometimes you can’t say no. It’s a hard lesson, prioritizing duty. I don’t have the answer.

I just know I’m not gonna find it on Facebook. Although your food looks great.

Chuck Sigars1 Comment