Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Best of Intentions

It's Saturday morning, and I have a lot to do. I have to write a proposal for a new project. Two budgets have to reviewed and amended. There are bills to pay and invoices to be dispatched. On top of that, our oldest will be passing through tomorrow on his way home to Brooklyn, and will join us to celebrate his birthday which occurs in a few days. As I am the designated baker in the family, creating something in which to stick candles falls to me: he requested my key lime chiffon pie.
Of course, it's easy to plot out the right course of action. In spite of it being a weekend, the only way to look at this is like a workday. Get up early. Go for quick run. Glance at the paper and have a fast breakfast. Then head immediately to my desk to work my way methodically through the "must dos," the "nice to dos" and hopefully eventually getting to the "wouldn't it be fun to dos."
Almost immediately, the plan breaks down. I wake up before it's light to hear the wind and the rain howling outside. Normally that wouldn't mean anything. But I was on a job yesterday where I had to run from one location to the other through the drops. It was cold, it was wet, and, added to the normal demands, made for an exhausting day. So rather than hop of bed, I burrow down a little deeper, pull up the covers and figure half an hour more will better recharge my batteries for the sprint ahead.
Thirty minutes turns into sixty, and now I'm solidly behind. But before I get dressed to go running, I add some boots to my bathrobe, grab an umbrella and walk to the top of the driveway to get the paper. On the way up, my thinking is changing about the workout. By time I start back down, it has made the full 180. By my count, I figure the run would chill me and take an hour I don't really have. Better to pass, and live to jog another day.
So I shower and go downstairs to have a quick bite and glance at the paper. Normally, we get the better part of the Sunday New York Times delivered on Saturday morning. All else being equal, I like nothing more than to take it, a pot of coffee and sit at the end of the kitchen table for a couple of hours. But no time today. So I decide to quickly peruse the front section and not get sucked into all the other good stuff: the magazine section alone could kill a good 45 minutes if I'm not careful.
Still, section A is packed with intriguing material on everything from the healthcare debate to Lehman's shady accounting to Han Han, a Chinese race car driver who is also the most followed blogger in the world. It takes longer than I planned, and even then, I can help myself from skimming the Real Estate, Business and Travel sections. As much as possible, I blow through learning how Brett Gardner is perfecting his bunting technique and what do with 36 Hours in Goa, India, then head to my office.
Finally, I'm seated at my desk in front of my computer and ready to go. But just as I lay my fingers on the keyboard, a random synapse fires in my mind, as I recall an article in the travel section. Entitled "Hello Columbus," it's about the arts scene in that Ohio city. It's not that I have any interest in visiting. Rather, I love the oblique cultural reference in the headline, a nod to "Goodbye Columbus," the title of Philip Roth's 1959 novel, made into a movie a decade later. Who starred in that? It's seems important to know. A few clicks and there it is: Richard Benjamin and Ali McGraw.
For some inexplicable reason, I now just have to hear the title track by The Association. Luckily, it's posted on YouTube. What a great sound; reminds me of some other chestnuts. So I punch around, listening to others from that time by Harry Nilsson and The Turtles. Interesting, most are performed by guys with white suits wearing aviator glasses. Embarrassing 30 years later, to be sure, but good stuff indeed.
Suddenly it's noon, and I've accomplished absolutely nothing. True, my brain is a bit clearer than it was when I woke up, and I've actually had a nice morning. But unfortunately, my "to do" list hasn't gotten any smaller. Still, it was fun while it lasted. Time to get down to work. On other hand, I'm feeling a little peckish: think I'll go have a snack.


Marc Wollin of Bedford wrestles with crowding out the distractions every day. In spite of that, his column appears regularly in The Record-Review and The Scarsdale Inquirer.

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