With my schedule as unscheduled as it is, I have to rely on my inner-tyrant to keep discipline in my working life. My personal life can be a mess, it often is, but work, work is a special kind of plodding, a methodical effort that never stops, rarely slows, and can accelerate without warning. With that in mind, you’ll understand when I say that today was terrible. It is evening, and I’ve not worked at all. I put this lack of productivity squarely on the sloping shoulders of my aging, yet irresponsible, aspiring slumlord. He has yet to actually reach the title of “slumlord,” though he does try.
The problem, this time, is this: I have no screens in my windows. Because I am about two blocks from the lake (a big scary one), and because he pays all utilities, we get these industrial strength stormwindows come October. They make bulletproof gas station windows look wussy. While this is quite nice in a blizzard, it’s not so nice come June, come a heatwave (for us at least) that’s kept my upper apartment a toasty 87 degrees all day. He was supposed to put the screens in last week. It is unworkable warm. When my fingertips leave sweaty sluglike trails across the mousepad, it’s time to call it a day. I’ve heard that Hemingway shared this belief. Myth has it that he worked in the morning until he felt sweat on his brow and then blew off the day, went drinking down at some dive in the Keys.
But, since I’m not much of a morning drinker, I went hiking the shoreline instead. I know, it’s pretty lame to bitch about hiking. But hear me out: though I often go hiking, most days I have the ability to not-hike and work instead. Today, I felt like I was exiled from my
house Microsoft documents. I didn’t have the choice to say, “I’m not working now. I’ll work tonight.” I was trying to work. But I got cranky, sweat went in my eye, and DawgE was staring at me with an ironic, are you kidding me? look. I went through these choices that would have allowed me to continue working:
1. Move the desks into the kitchen, open the freezer and fridge door.
2. Break into the basement.
3. smash out all windows, flies and lawsuit be damned.
Of course, all three have their merits, but I opted instead to take the forced morning and afternoon off. If it wasn’t for some wonderful company and the pollen turning streaks of neon yellow in the deep blues of the lake, I assure you that the hike and the swim would have been a sullen affair, and, had someone seen me, they’d have thought I was on some self-imposed deathmarch.
The plan, after all, was to work all day, with breaks at my whim (or the dog’s), and take a good hike in the evening. I’m flexible with everything else in my life, really. I don’t care what I eat, where I go, or anything else. I don’t mind the plow rusting in my frontyard or the weeds challenging the wrought iron porch rails. I don’t care that my floors are uneven, that a tennis ball rolls to the corner, quickly. All I want is a breeze–and there is one out there–to come through a window without bringing along flies and other bugs. Damn landlord, he’s getting more slummish to me each day the mercury peaks.