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TinySignificances

tinysignificances
Suleiman at Wasserburg on the River Inn, in a woodcut by Michael Minck dated 24 January 1552.
"We might need gruel work."

Through The Grand Refurbish, a few tiny annoyances remained out of scope but never out of mind. We'd focused our attention on specific portions of the place and chose—at first deliberately, then out of habit—to just let anything else slip by for that time, for we could have nattered away the opportunity by attempting to attend to everything at once. It just seemed prudent to narrow our scope of interest. There would always be a tomorrow. But nearing the end of The Grand Refurbish, few improvements need my personal attention. Our carpenter and our painter cannot quite muster full shifts between them now, we're down to one room, and almost down to a final wall. Those tiny annoyances began calling again or, more properly stated, those TinySignificances continued wielding their power. I finally gave in.

The bathroom door had come to scrape on the floor beneath it.
Not so much that it really inhibited opening or closing, but enough to notice the drag and to leave a mark on the floor. Our carpenter had mentioned his first day on the job that the problem could be resolved in five minutes with a minor planing of the leading edge of the bottom. I replied that I was aware of that but still let that fix slide for, it seemed an out of scope distraction. I told myself that I would get to that in time, once we'd finished The Grand Refurbish. I had by then been stuffing my reaction as well as my responsibility so long that they had become a part of my personality and I didn't like it. It said something about me and I didn't like what it kept saying. Only whispers, but penetrating ones. That sticky door had become a TinySignificance, influential far beyond its actual importance.

I fixed it in five minutes. The Muse helped me remount it. I immediately felt the difference. A weight had been lifted. Sisyphus had been freed. I marveled at the difference those five short minutes had made. I felt powerful beyond whatever I had imagined beforehand. One less tether slowed my pace. I no longer had to save face when I heard that scraping. It scraped no more.

I realized that I maintain a fair backlog of similar embarrassments, ones I'm empowered to fix yet avoid dispatching. These become my bad boy backlog, there for no reason other than some obtuse insistence on my part, when I might be continually liberating myself from their haunting presence. I tell myself that I will get around to fixing those one day, but that one day never seems to come. They become tomorrow's problem, tomorrow's salvation. Today, I seem to insist upon avoiding salvation rather than liberating myself.

It might be that a guy like me needs the abiding inconvenience TinySignificances impart. Their huge significance suggests a consequent importance. They become the elephant in the room, unspeakably present. So why don't I just line these up and dispatch them, invest those five little minutes each and move them behind me? I do not know what motivates me to only rarely find the motive to just neturalize their influence. I only know that the backlog of TinySignificances seems constant, their emergence, continuous.

A wiser man, and one more rational than I, might prioritize TinySignificances to the top of each day's to-do list, for he would live a life of easy attainment. His efforts would reward him more lavishly than would the man's who labors to resolve only the relatively insignificant, the absolutely necessary and equally absolutely unnoteworthy efforts we all recognize as routine maintenance. It might be that most of us need to labor in such shadows much of the time. We might find significances too rich a diet to reliably nourish us. We might need gruel work. TinySignificances seem fine for a treat but too much for everyday breakfast. Our Great Refurbish seems like a great feast, one filled with huge significances. Around its edges, lie innumerable TinySignificances which I seem to be rationing out. Our tenant caulked along the small bathroom's baseboards and that caulking turned yellow. I wonder what the world would become if I managed to rid the world of that embarrassing TinySignificance, too.

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved







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