10 January 2007

Sloth

There comes a point when you begin to wonder just how lazy you can be without becoming totally gross and off-putting. What things you can cut out, skip or otherwise ignore and still function somewhat as a respectable adult? This isn’t out-and-out sloth, but being so overworked and overwhelmed that you aren’t able to do everything. Some things have got to give just so you can get a little rest.

It occurred to me the other day at the gym, as my face rested on my shins, that I haven’t shaved my legs in a while. Somehow that slipped through the cracks. When I got home, I stubbed my toes on the luggage that has been sitting in the hall since I returned from my Christmas trip. Clusters of dust bunnies gathered in corners and under chairs, having parties to which I failed to RSVP. And something peculiar in my refrigerator, housed in Tupperware, is turning multiple shades of green and blue and is utterly indiscernible from its origin. My office looks as though it suffered a seizure. And don’t even ask about the state of my manicure and pedicure. Oof.

Brushing teeth and showering are mandatory...but wouldn’t it be nice if we could get away without doing it? Think of all the extra time we’d have. You can’t rush oral hygiene...Waterpiking, brushing and rinsing take a certain amount of time. Not to mention the time-eating chore of cleaning your retainers. Yet, if you skip shaving your legs, you can save time in the shower. If you twist your hair up or yank it back in a ponytail, rather than going full-blown into a hair style, you can rush out the door a little faster. Overdress a bit and you look like you put a little effort into your attire, rather than having to admit that you are a tad behind with your laundry. Sunglasses can look chic as well as shield the fact that you forgot to put on mascara in your morning haste. Keep lip gloss in your glove compartment for those times you run out the of house with only your wallet only to catch a glimpse of your appearance in the review mirror and realize your faux pas. By ordering the venti whatever at Starbucks, people can see that you are aware of how tired you appear/are and, thus, can keep their comments about your under-eye circles and sallow complexion to themselves.

When it comes to feeding yourself, which is as mandatory as showering and brushing teeth are...in spite of what some in “Young Hollywood” think...I’ve found that you don’t actually have to cook or even order in. Cereal does not require cooking. Grab a bowl and some milk and you have a meal. Coffee? Forget about it. Cleaning a French press is murder. Instant espresso is much quicker, and you only have to wash the mug (how often do you have to clean a kettle?). After a while, you get a little tired of eating cereal at every meal (took me about 10 days). When that happens, get soup that you can pour out of a box (saves using a can opener) and nuke in two minutes. Wheat pita toasts in no time, and hummus comes out of a plastic bowl. Salad remains a bit labor intensive. Washing the lettuce, tearing it up, slicing the apple and cucumber, then throwing on the dressing takes effort but no pots or pans are involved, which is nice. And having green food is healthy. Combining fruit and vegetables into a salad is a “two birds, one stone” kind of thing. Meat moves out of your diet when you give up on cooking, except for the times where you make it out to a restaurant with friends, which even in your most slothful periods you are bound to do. You happily order the overpriced salmon on these occasions, grateful to pay the fee for someone else to cook it and clean up after it.

When you have Caller ID, you don’t have to listen to the message to know who called. Skip it altogether. Just scroll down the list to see who rang you and email them back, saving you the time and the energy required to have an actual conversation. With sex, missionary position is key, ladies. Virtually no work (if he does it right)...but all the joy. And if you have a web column, one which you’ve neglected for months, feel free to put the post date on the day it was due, and not the day it actually went up.

When you are overworked and overwhelmed, you turn to slothy behavior for simple survival. It’s not something to be proud of, but it is a way to function...if you can call it that. And if the first weeks are telling of the pace in which 2007 will operate, I hope you have jotted down some notes here. You just may need some sloth of your own.

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