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Pete’s Blog&Grille: What To Do With A Round Tuit

Trucks deliver many things, but this morning, an Alberta-based driver named Michael Rosenau brought me something I never received before. 

He gave me a whole day.

24 hours.

I got to work this morning thinking it was Thursday.  And it wasn’t until about 9:00 a.m, when I was talking to Michael, that he told me it’s Wednesday. Here I was all worried about getting stuff done on time.

So….. I have to ask:  What should I do with this new day that’s just landed on my lap?

Twenty four hours I hadn’t planned on.  It would seem like such a sin to waste them. There’s a lot of stuff that’s just waiting for me to get around to it.

Of course part of the extra day—say, six hours—will be taken up by sleep. So that leaves me with only 18 untouched hours.  And because it’s a workday, I will use, say, eight at my desk. No lack of work there.

Still. Ten more hours. 

Maybe I’ll take a crack at my income taxes. Even getting a start on that would be progress. The key to finishing, I’ve heard, is starting.

As an editor once told me about writing: “Once you’ve begun you’re nearly done.”

It’s not that I mind paying taxes. I’m like my friend Nestor’s late father, who said, “Someday I want to be rich enough that I’ll have to pay $100,000 in income taxes.”

But who likes doing the things? Besides the deadline’s a couple of weeks away. What’s the hurry?

I’m a judge in a magazine contest so there’s a big stack of terrific magazines on my living room floor, just waiting for me to go through them. And what’s better than kicking back and flipping through magazines? But of course they’re not quite as much fun when you’re actually tabulating scores. Plus it doesn’t have to be done till the end of April. (I think part of my mental block is that I hate being told what to do and when. Am I the only person like that?)

I have some schoolwork that needs tending to. I lead a class in magazine writing at Centennial College. I always feel relieved after responding to the students’ work.

And here’s the weird thing.  I tell students that stories have to be so well-written that people WANT to read them; i.e., people will actually stop doing something else and choose to read the stories.  I haven’t even looked at some of the stories yet and I know that I’m probably NOT going to choose to read them today.

(That fact—that journalism must make you want to read it—is a huge difference between magazine stories and regular writing.)

And here I am, with all this time on my hands, thinking quite honestly that class isn’t until Monday, and there’s nothing actually forcing me to read those pieces today. Not gonna happen.

Of course there’s the household to-do list. But if I started down that dark and scary road, just preparing the list would eat up my time.

My mom passed away on Valentine’s Day in 2005, at age 88.  And you know what? Even though there were dozens of little chores left to do around her house, she was allowed to go to her reward before they got finished.

Ain’t no way I’m wasting this precious gift on house stuff.

Fact is, I can’t use the time now anyway. I’m at work.

I can’t just bugger off and tell my colleagues I’m taking the next few 10 hours off because I thought today was Thursday.

I’ll have to sort of allocate this huge gift of free time to the weekend or break it up into little chunks here and there.

The more I look at it, the harder it is going to be to use my time wisely. 

I can see where this is headed.  Which comedian was it who said “Time is just nature’s way of keeping everything from happening at once?”

In my case, this extra time just means a lot more stuff is going to be put off even longer than planned.

So I guess it’s time to procrastinate.

Thanks for giving me the time of day, Mike!

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