Rendered Fat Content


John Armstrong: Icarus (1940)
"Time to cut that old transition loose."

Today doesn't so much seem very much like the first day of the rest of my life, but more like TheLastDay of some soon-to-be former one. Refurbishing The Villa seems to have exacerbated this sense, for Our Painter Curt and I destroy something daily, each act subtly changing this context. It will never be the same again, again and again, such that I'm unsure just where The Muse and I are living right now. The end of our labor has not come anywhere near to being in sight. Nor can we really remember how it was just three very long weeks ago when we began this phase in earnest. We're suspended, former status quo shredded before us, stumbling forward, each day TheLastDay for something. No day a new day for anything yet, but a continuation of the perturbation, here to finish up what yesterday started and to destroy something forever again.

Many of the tasks I'm performing, largely little supporting roles beside Curt's star turn, are new to me.
I'd never even assisted in pulling a baseboard until this job started. Nor had I removed carpet staples or tack strip. I dutifully engaged, teaching myself with Curt's pointed tutelage, until I began feeling as though I were performing if not completely competently, at least adequately. I'd practice each new skill until the job no longer offered any opportunity to practice it. Once the all carpet's pulled, there's no longer any call for a budding expert carpet staple remover. I watch as I pull up that last line of tack strip, removing it quickly and in a single piece, and think to myself I could compete in the Olympics, if only they hosted a tack strip removing competition. Never again, I recognize in that moment, will that combination of skills find demand here. I retire my Wonderbar® and staple puller, proud of my accomplishment, another irrelevant talent acquired. My vitae must mirror any odd buggy whip manufacturer's.

Today, this very day, promises to be TheLastDay of my withdrawal from my recent nicotine addiction. It appears that I'm no longer hooked, though I had two cold turkey pills left when I checked this morning. When they're gone, I'm done quitting. I will have quit. But what will I do with my many recent adaptations I've adopted like I learned my carper tack strip removing skills? I largely survived by distraction, slight of mind delusions. I'd focus upon anything but my obsession and eventually it would fade. I became terribly superstitious, creating little rituals I convinced myself kept me safe. I kept my head down and either bulled my way past a hard part or engaged in extended napping, anything that yielded a sense of escaping that moment. It's been six weeks, apparently enough time to master another skill I'll never again need to muster; master of my past, moving only forward.

I suppose that I might convince myself that the specific skill hardly matters. The patterns of learning and adapting matter more than does my ability to quit tobacco or pull staples. I can be justly proud of my modest accomplishments without expecting to ever need to display them in those ways ever again. My dedication might be better for these experiences even if my resume looks no different. Maybe I'm more ready to learn even more or better as a result of acquiring those wasting talents. On TheLastDay morning, I sense an end impending, yet another end impending, for each day spent in renovation seems a day spent unraveling. I've about got those double hung windows sorted, finally sanded and primed. I'll finish off their top coats this morning and then I'll be done. This will be TheLastDay I spend refurbishing windows this time, my mastery then consigned to hibernation. And tobacco, that demon friend no longer seems to be hounding me. We'll see. What started as cold turkey has become more of a cooked goose. Time to cut that old transition loose.

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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