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Fons Van der Velde:
Koppen in een menigte [Heads in a crowd]
(1880 - 1936)

" … no business expecting any different."

It seems a wonder bordering on a miracle when anything gets accomplished, for setting a definite priority might have always been the surest way to create competing distractions. I might look at my calendar, conclude that I have few upcoming demands, and so take on some fresh obligation. The very moment I set that intention, competing commitments swarm such that I quickly find that I'm Elbowing my way through them to find a few stolen moments to attend to what I'd intended to complete. This simply must be some sort of law of this universe, as inexorable as entropy, because it always, always, always seems to happen to me. Those around me lodge similar complaints. One apparently never actually manages to clear a schedule to thereby exclusively focus, as if that were even possible. No, we swim through diversions or we never manage to get anything done.

The end of a day should bring exhaustion even though we might then wonder just what we managed to accomplish.
Our accounting will mostly confirm that we apparently did nothing, yet still we felt busy at the time. In the very unlikely event that we made any progress, it very likely came in such thin slices that we never directly experienced it. We moved a pebble an inch rather than a stone a mile. We construct our mountains out of microns rather than molehills. We time slice and time splice or we accomplish nothing. We pull our stagecoaches with chickens, and the reins management accounts for ninety percent of what we actually accomplish, the bulk of our efforts seemingly lost to overhead effort.

None of this was ever really anybody's fault. It's just the way of this world. We master Elbowing or we master nothing, or just as good as nothing, which doesn't seem even the littlest bit good. We master sneak thievery because without that skill, we'll probably never actually get around to anything. While distracted by something, we might find a wrinkle in that experience which might provide access to focus for a minute, maybe less, upon what we'd earlier insisted would be our sole or primary focus. We page in, then quickly page back out again in a flickering kind of engagement, precisely like some thief in the night or like light flickering between wave and photon. We burgle back our time in this way, taking it then giving it away. With dedication, though, we might manage to accumulate real progress, a spare tear drop at a time.

Just when I intend to run an errand, Molly Our Mostly Feral Cat will show up. She only shows when it's breakfast or supper time, and since I fear that she'll one day forget about us and never come back, I just have to stop whatever I was doing to focus upon providing her sustenance along with a usually unwanted head scratch. There's a ritual involved, for she, queen of this realm, insists upon an appetizer of kitty treats first, then, while she's tucking into those preliminaries, I can load up her wet food dish and set it beside her. She's copiously drooling by then, and purring, so I sneak a stroke or three along her back. This usually earns me a grumbling growl, a warning, and sometimes even a sharp-clawed retribution for my efforts, for she is a stingy monarch. I might stop and watch her for a minute and very likely forget what it was I was intending to do before she so rudely interrupted. Or was that me interrupting? If I ever manage to get to that errand as I'd earlier intended, it will be a wonder bordering on a miracle.

Progress on my SetList effort seems similarly conditioned. My insisting upon that as a priority does little to convince this universe that it deserves special treatment. In fact, it doesn't, but only because nothing warrants special handling here. Everything requires Elbowing, vengeful or loving, frantic or languid, for that is the way of this universe and of this world, and even the greatest undertaking, which I'm not insisting my SetList rises to that importance, earns no exception. It's just a run of the mill objective, hectored by equally pedestrian concerns, performing high rise construction with tweezers. It was never any different from that and I, for one, probably had no business expecting any different.

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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