Rendered Fat Content


Gustave Courbet: Young Ladies by the River Seine (1857)
"HomeMaking, like breathing, doesn't come with time off for good behavior."

Unlike gainful employment, HomeMaking does not come with days off. It's a twenty-four/seven sort of occupation, with adequate responsibilities to keep any three individuals fully entertained for just as many hours as they'd care to contribute. Further, these are not appreciative hours, either, but largely anonymous ones, the sort where if one's properly engaged, no one will notice. Still, occasionally, some respite seems necessary if never completely justified. Rather than taking a day off, I experience an OffDay. An OffDay begins like any other, though perhaps gravity might work a little better than usual when the alarm clock rings. I'm up and moving, completing my morning rituals, writing. I'll be done about the time The Muse's alarm wakes her. My breakfast will have been warming. I set right to it, shave and shower, then slow a bit. I might lay down, I tell myself, to digest my breakfast, then doze. An hour later, I still haven't gone anywhere and still feeling dozy. I allow myself another half hour until those short cycles accumulate into having taken the whole morning.

I won't usually allow myself a whole day off when an OffDay comes calling.
I'll manage, if only late in the afternoon, to struggle into completing some chore or something. The cats never take days off, either, but they're dependent upon me being on enough to at least feed them morning and evening. If I miss their schedule, they'll come and remind me in increasingly urgent terms. Dinner, too, eventually looms, and regardless of how utterly lazy I've been, somebody's got to think about preparing something. OffDays are never recreational opportunities, but extremely guilty pleasures. They seem sinful in ways no one should very frequently tolerate. They mean something sinister. They seem a blot on my character.

However cheerfully productive I might seem, I'm often deep down inside complaining. The unrelenting work wears on a fella to the point where he gets to thinkin' that a day in leisure might not kill him, or at least not immediately. It would unavoidably be the start of a downward slide, but I could probably hop off before I reached terminal velocity. Just an hour, another sixty minutes, just long enough to read the paper, I need a break but will have to steal that time. It's not mine!. I sincerely hope nobody's watching. I think about my reputation. I'm slacking. I'm lacking. I'm on a downward slide. I might successfully hide my crime from you, but never from myself. I'm supposed to be working, cranking out something, not dozing along the side.

OffDays pass. The next day usually finds me up and grinding again, little worse for the lack of wear. I feel guilty but I'm already getting over it. I haven't even scratched the surface of my leisure deficit, but then I'm actively HomeMaking, not retiring but still making hay, and will be until the day I die, perhaps even longer. My work ethic seems stronger than my survival instinct. I can focus upon most any task at hand until long after the band packs up and heads homeward. I'm the guy who's still sanding a door front when the rest of the crew, each gainfully employed and so continually earning time off, leave for the day. I've usually already been at it a while when they return next morning. I'm HomeMaking, which comes with no punchcard with which to check in and, more significantly, none with which to check out again, either. HomeMaking, like breathing, doesn't come with time off for good behavior.

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

blog comments powered by Disqus

Made in RapidWeaver