Sunday, July 5, 2009

Carry On, You Lazy Bastard

A long weekend presents certain challenges. I am just so much a creature of habit as to never do anything until the need for doing, and the opportunity, have nearly passed. So when faced with more leisure than is usual to me, I find all my resolution, such as it is, likely to collapse into a delectably prolonged... postponement. The prospect of an additional, unscheduled, unanticipated day off -- as I seem never to look at a calendar -- makes me, frankly, useless. There are always the things that ought to be done, that are even less likely to be done because of the additional day in which to do them. There are the practical tasks of a weekend, like laundry, which comes first to mind as I stumble from bed, late, that first morning, because our bedroom has become, as dear A. recently characterized it, "a little too Gray Gardens." Laundry is everywhere. Likewise the cooking of proper meals, the watering of plants, the wearing of pants, etc., all things that might be addressed, later rather than sooner, on a normal weekend, seem strangely impossible with time stretching out beyond the norm. Rather even than do something entertaining or amusing, like watching a movie end to end, finishing one of a dozen books on my nightstand, writing, I instead find myself strangely content to think that any one of these activities might be undertaken at any time between now and that far off morning when I will have to go back to work. I contemplate with lazy pleasure all my expanded possibilities, and then nap from the exertion. Nevertheless, I confess, I am a little shocked, as the long weekend draws down to it's close, to find that nothing has happened. I have no memory of having done, or not done, a damned thing. My mind is a blank. I must concentrate, now, and try to reconstruct something of the days now flown. So --

What have I done?

I ate too many lovely plums. They really were most extraordinarily good though, big, beautiful, things, each one the size of a peach, but with dark black skins and wet, blood-red flesh, so sweet I found I gnawed at the stones, a dog with a bone. Carrying such soft fruit to work, I take a sharp paring-knife and try not to disturb my coworkers with too much slurping and sucking and unsightly mess. Home for days with a dozen or more plums, where there was no one to witness my orgy, I finally dropped the last mangled pit, and found I looked as if I'd been working in a slaughterhouse. I even ghoulishly admired my rouged maw and wet hands in the mirror, and cackled wickedly, before washing the evidence from my beard and from under my nails.

Then, I believe, I took a nap.

I piled books in my bed and browsed from this to that, imagining I might pick up whatever I'd put down -- later. I made many a mental note, now and again, to make an actual note for my commonplace book, but of what, I can not now recall and as I find I've made no actual notes, all the charm of these immortal passages and pearls of wisdom are now lost. I know I read, for instance, nearly the whole of an essay by George Santayana, that the essay was good, what I read of it, and that I really ought to try to find it again, in whichever book of essays that was. Someday.

I believe, at some point nearly subsequent to my study of that great philosopher, I may have dozed.

I watched Kenneth Williams on Youtube. There was an excellent documentary profile of the great camp actor and wit, and I did watch all of that, in pieces. When we were in London, roughly a hundred years ago, I bought two last books at the airport, to read on the endless plane ride home. One was a memoir by Robert Morley, which was great fun. The other was Kenneth Williams' Diaries. These were hair-raisingly frank, funny, bitter, unlike any celebrity authored book I'd ever read, or that I am likely ever again to read. I wish I'd kept them, but I did look for them tonight and did not find the copy I bought back then. Having watched the documentary profile, and having listened to bits of Williams' radio routines online, I think I will have to get a copy of his book to read again.

That was probably the last thing I did, putter passively on my computer, before I went straight back to bed the first night of my long weekend.

The rest, as I said, is largely a blank. As for all the reading I'd planned to do, all the books I'd piled up to finish, I here confess I have no memory of reading much of anything from any of them. As with the laundry and the dishes and the rest, about this I ought to feel at least a little guilty.

Actually, I wish, in a way, the weekend would never end.

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