Life after the 2012 election: The new normal doesn’t seem any different than the old normal

We may do less as we get older, but it's not for lack of energy, it’s from being too easily distracted and forgetting what we were going to do in the first place

DOTHAN, AL, November 8, 2012 — For the past few months I’ve been pretty busy and had an excuse to be distracted and disorganized at home, but now that the election season is finally over it’s time to catch up on neglected chores before the holiday season starts.

Speaking of holidays, congratulations to retailer Nordstrom for promising again this year not to decorate stores for Christmas until after Thanksgiving. Last year the store posted signs saying they prefer to celebrate just one holiday at a time. Good for them. Now, where was I? Oh yes, I was about to discuss getting distracted.  

It’s a common belief that as we get older we have less energy and are less active. Well, it may be true that we do less, but it’s not for lack of energy. Mostly it’s for being too easily distracted and forgetting what we were going to do in the first place. As evidence of this, yesterday I decided to water the garden right after breakfast, but ended up checking my email first.

Much later I went outside, unwound the hose, looked toward the driveway and noticed that my car needed washing. I put down the hose and went in the garage to look for a bucket and towels. Then I went back in the house to get the car keys and noticed mail on the dining room table that I’d brought in earlier. I decided to go through it before washing the car, so I put down the keys and sorted junk mail into the trash can in the kitchen.

Before opening bills I thought I would empty the trash, but it occurred to me that taking out the can would involve going past the mailbox again so I figured I might as well pay the bills first. I found my checkbook and saw there was only one check left, the rest were in a drawer upstairs. While looking for the checks I noticed a half-finished cup of coffee on top of the dresser and decided to take it downstairs to the sink before it caused a ring on the wood.

Back in the kitchen I saw there were  still dishes in the sink from breakfast, so I started rinsing them to put in the dishwasher, but ran out of  dish soap. I thought there was a spare bottle in the pantry and  went to get it, but seeing the food in there made me think about what to make for dinner. I chose a box of pasta and put it on the counter, and I found the TV remote I must have left there the night before. To avoid losing it again I took it to the living room.

I remembered there was a show coming on that evening that I wanted to record on the DVR, but while trying to find the right channel I noticed an old movie was on, so I settled down to watch for a few minutes. A car commercial came on that reminded me I had left the hose out, so I went to pick it up and realized that the garden still needed watering. I moved the hose back toward the garden but there wasn’t enough time to water before the movie would start again so I rushed back to the living room.

By that point the garden was still not watered, the car was unwashed, the hose lay on the grass, no bills were paid, the trash was not emptied, dishes were still in the sink and I couldn’t find the car keys to go to the store for dish soap. Despite accomplishing nothing, I was exhausted and settled back in my favorite chair to watch the rest of the old movie, but I felt sleepy and started to drift off. The last thing I remember before dozing was a female voice in the movie saying “I’ll think about it tomorrow at Tara.” She was definitely my kind of woman.

I’m already kind of missing the election season.


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Rick Townley

Rick Townley was a bookseller before switching to electronic publishing with The New York Times, Reuters, Grolier and others. He is the author of a humor book, For Boomers Only – Exploring Life in the New Millennium, a supernatural novel, Stepping Out of Time, and numerous short stories. In addition to contributing to the Washington Times Communities, Rick is working on a fiction series called Stigma and resides in southern Alabama with his 7-year-old granddaughter, Chloe.

 

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