Rendered Fat Content



Ohara Koson: Goose and Reeds (Ca. 1910)
"I'll have to wait and see …"

Our Grand Refurbish fully qualified as an ExtraordinaryTime. I extended myself special dispensation for its duration because I really felt as though I was engaging in something truly special, unique, and valuable. The effort at times felt overwhelming, but I mostly stood up to the challenges. Now I face a more daunting prospect, the utterly ordinary one of returning back into ordinary time. ExtraordinaryTimes offer easy excuses. Nobody really expects you to maintain regular hours if you're busy changing the universe. No one harshly judges anyone nobly engaged. End such an effort, though, and mundane duties and obligations rush in to fill the resulting void. There will be no citations for keeping up with the dusting and dishes. There will be few appreciations awarded for achieving nothing in particular.

For a time, I might reasonably expect to rest upon my laurels.
I had some credits built up and quite a few remaining, though I can already sense their value waining. I was supposed to be up to something and once, recently, I was, but laurels won't propel a reputation very far forward. Should I take to lazing about, I would quickly be perceived as a lout, for The Muse continues her full time job and it's with her dedication I'm competing, though it's not strictly a competition but a cooperation we engage in. I must contribute my fair counterpart to her daily contribution or face retribution. The ramifications seem subtle but tangible, a certain question of where my hours were spent while hers were wisely invested. A suggestion, probably just self-perception, that I might have done more to fulfill my obligations. When my supper's thin or when dust bunnies start a revolution, it's reasonable for even myself to expect me to have intervened without being invited. I can tell when I've slighted my job, even when I haven't.

Ordinary times demand considerable creativity, much more so than ever do ExtraordinaryTimes, for ExtraordinaryTimes come ready-filled with thrilling assignments. Ordinary times can tend toward drudgery, you know, ordinary. It's my philosophy that everything carries a touch of the extraordinary, even the most otherwise pedestrian activity, if only. If only I can tug on my own bootstraps and perceive it there. If only I can slip through inertia to watch the many moving parts at work. This perceiving amounts to most of my work in this world. When I engage in ExtraordinaryThings, my job becomes both much easier as well as utterly impossible; unnecessary. If I need not see through the veil the ordinary presents to me, I have no need to glean anything otherwise unseen and yet extraordinary from there. When the air is thick with significance, magic becomes impossible and surprises, unnecessary. When the atmosphere grows thin, then some superpower might manifest again. When suffocating, even tiny breaths resuscitate.

So now comes the perennial challenge, to truly make something extraordinary out of rather mundane premises. The daily routine too easily turns monotonous and then monstrous. Even I could become a watcher of Perry Mason reruns, subjected to advertisements for degrees from some mail order technical college, and making myself sandwiches as my profession. I could become an idler, one without portfolio, one only telling stories already worn too thin with repetition instead of conjuring up something extraordinary, which has always been my job, my profession. Five full months of Refurbishment activity, though, has left my skills shallow and my spirit exhausted. I recognize the dangers and feel powerless to deflect them. I'll have to wait and see what happens next to discover what will be extraordinary in the impending upcoming ordinary times.

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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