Yoda said, “Do, or Do Not. There is no try.”
I’m choosing Do Not today. The sky is fluctuating between sunny blue skies and a cloak of grey gloom, but I’m choosing to keep my disposition clear and bright. Because today, I’m so not giving a shit that it’s not even funny. Let me take you on a tour of my house:
Week-old essential oil coagulates and spoils in an ignored diffuser on the shelf. My son’s crusty dishes pile up us he demands one thing after another. Bits of food dot my filthy area rug which is also home to discarded pajama bottoms and a balled-up blanket. One gardening glove lies under a crumpled napkin on the coffee table along with a giant binder clip, stacks of books, one of which is probably overdue, a toy space shuttle, a rumpled pair of 4T shorts that may or may not be clean, an opened box of berry Cheerios, one hair comb, a tiny astronaut’s helmet, a Luke Skywalker figurine, and a little purple creature called Molnar. Shoes, remotes, toys, pillows, random pieces of paper are everywhere. Dust collects. Dishes need to be done, surfaces are sticky, things are vaguely smelly, and my son doesn’t care, so why should I?
Normally, I would. My default state is not relaxed, or content. My default state is “I have to fix this.”
No matter what it is. A dirty floor, a TV screen smeared from peanut butter fingers, dirt under my nails, a friend who seems down, the state of the economy, global warming. My mind works like this: my skin feels rough. Get up, get some moisturizer. Ok, that’s done, sit back down. My coffee is cold. To the microwave. Sit back down. Someone just replied on Facebook to something I said. Reply back, then back to work. I’m pretty sure there’s a plant on the front porch that needs watering. I’ve got to buy conditioner. I have to hurry up and finish this paragraph because my son’s got to pee. Ugh, his face is filthy. I wonder if that toy dog is going to run out of batteries soon. I’ve got so much to do. Half the microwave buttons have stopped working. Will this sunshine last long enough for us to take a walk today? I should really fold that blanket. That candle should be lit—it’s just sitting there. Will my physical therapy work in time for our trip in August? I should put that broom away. Is the way I’m sitting making my neck worse? He’s going to get peanut butter on the couch. He’s going to beg me to play Star Wars and there’s nothing I hate more than playing Star Wars. I wish he had a sibling to play with. Oh, crap, I didn’t write a blog entry for the month of June. I shouldn’t be ignoring him to do this. This shirt has crud on it.
And I haven’t even had breakfast yet .
But there sits my son, eating his third breakfast already, happily watching Pocoyo and the Space Circus for the third time in a row—just enjoying life. He doesn’t see what I see, because he hasn’t lived long enough to start believing that stupid shit matters—and now he’s crawling on me with his peanut butter face, nuzzling my shoulder and leaving his mark as if to say, “now you’re one of us.”
So let go. I have to. If just for today.
And I want to listen to a record. I’m tired of the TV. Pocoyo is over. I go to my turntable.
“I’m going to play a record,” I say.
“No, no, no, no,” he says.
“Yes, yes, yes, yes,” I say. “It’s my house.”
“Let’s play David Bowie,” he concedes.
“Okay,” I say. “We’ll compromise.” As I flip through looking for the specific one he wants, he spots R.E.M.’s ‘Eponymous’ and says, “Let’s do Michael Stipe.”
I can definitely live with that. So here I sit, listening to “Driver 8, take a break, you’ve been on this shift too long,” underscored by the annoying bossa-nova sounds of an electronic game my son plays next to me on the couch. The TV is still on, mutely moving through a series of screen saver-photos of beautiful, exotic locations, and I should turn it off, but I won’t, not just yet. I have some more not caring to do first.
I will do not, and there is no try.
But I probably will vacuum at some point.