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Headswarming

Headswarm
Pieter Bruegel the Elder: The Tower of Babel (1563)
"I already know what I want for Christmas."

When I was a kid, summertime featured plenty of boredom. As an adult, boredom's been more difficult to come by. As a budding HomeMaker, it's been essentially impossible to find. This summer, passing now into Fall, featured days filled to capacity with meaningful activity, perhaps the most dangerous possible condition for anyone aspiring to become an interesting or a creative person. I have lived this season in dread fear that I might become uninteresting after spending so many days refinishing doors. What could possibly be more boring than a man going on about the finer points of door refinishing? Any infinite work queue will do, though, to turn a decent fellow into a drudge. It's not the All Work and No Play Clause kicking in, but the lesser appreciated All Activity and No Boredom one. Boredom is probably an essential human experience. Those who fail to experience it seem doomed to an overly kinetic existence, a blur of a presence.

One must not only have leisure, but know how to use it.
One learns how to use it as a direct result of boredom's influence. A succession of tree forts were started as a direct result of boredom. We'd exhausted all alternative possibilities and look what scooted out and into existence! A random inspiration could manifest darned near anything. Our idle hands were not so much the devil's tools as creativity's, which might just be the same thing. I realize as summer's leaving that I scheduled this one too tightly. I still can't quite see the end of my current priorities, when I might take a breath and wonder what's next. I've known what was coming for most of this summer and could not escape or avoid any of it, my head continuously swarming with possibilities, Headswarming. I could use a rest.

I will today finish the last of the doors I've been refurbishing, a final total of twenty four door fronts smoothed, primed, and repainted. The queue seemed endless until it wasn't. Only two more upstairs rooms need their baseboards removed, bullnosed, and refinished. Three other rooms' baseboards are in some stage of refinishing. Lots of sanding remains before repainting those can begin. I have windows to place back into their sills and three more (or four) to pull and refurbish. We ordered new living room windows, five of them, yesterday, with a four to five week out delivery date, which means November installation followed by trimming and painting. We might be close to done by Thanksgiving and my head will be swarming until then, desperately seeking boredom. I see none on any horizon.

Let this passing summer serve as a lesson. I would not change a thing that happened. I have no complaint. I doubt that what we accomplished this summer could have been realized by any other method. We needed to not have completely moved back in before we began, which meant that we really needed to defer moving in until after the work was completed, which meant that we'd still be living out of boxes six months after arriving home, which meant that we'd suffer from a severe shortage of boredom, an essential presence if we're to make sense of what we're doing. Let the record show that we went out of our minds, Headswarming. When we wake on the other side, if there's another side and if we awaken again, we'll most long for boredom, a prominent presence during our exile and absent since we returned. I'm praying that the upcoming season might eventually offer some. I already know what I want for Christmas.

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved







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