I just organized my thumb tacks1 into the pretty ones I really like (neat purples and turquoises and corals and such) and the boring standard utilitarian ones you see everywhere (primary colours and greens and whites). I then put them in these neat hexagonal glass jars that are soooo cute. And I’m recycling because the jars are from a spice set I got a while back: as I empty the jars I clean them out. This takes a fair bit of time.2 For months I have had little groups of colourful things (like thumb tacks) cluttering my workspace, just waiting for new homes in the charming-and-someday-to-be-cleaned jars. So, today, what I am really doing is organizing and reducing clutter and recycling and beautifying.3
And why not? It’s not like I have much on the go. All I have to do is finish a massive copy edit that has taken waaaay longer than I ever thought possible4, write several articles, chase other people to interview… You know—things that will eventually result in me earning money. The sooner I get them done, the sooner I get said money and can look for more work. There’s also that drafted novel that needs finalizing to go out to agents/publishers. And the new novel I’m four chapters into writing…
So what am I doing? Well, the boys in Cameron House had a charming term for it: fucking the dog.5 Wasting time. Making dining reservations for my trip to Disney next month. Sorting thumb tacks.
What is wrong with me?
As Ron Weasley put it, “She needs to sort out her priorities.”*
Sigh. One of my priorities is to blog more regularly.
Right after I find the coloured paperclips that go in the other (finally) clean hexagonal jar… They were on my desk yesterday…
Hmmm—this could take a while…
1. The Canadian Oxford has thumbtack as one word. I don’t like it. (This in no way changes my deeper-and-gushier-than-a-BP-oilrig love I have for my CanOx though...)
2. Because the labels are practically soldered on, I have to soak the jars, then scrape them, then soak the jars again, then scrape them again, and since there are always dishes in my sink waiting to go in the dishwasher, the stuff that can’t go in the dishwasher sits on the counter waiting to be washed in the sink once the sink gets empty, which doesn’t generally happen till my daughter wants to have something in her thermos for lunch and I have to clean it so I make an extra-special effort to empty the blasted always-full sink—only then can I soak the jars. So when I say a fair bit of time, I mean several months.
3. I mentioned how sweet these little jars are, right? And hexagonal?
4. And I haven’t even gotten to the 450 footnotes—450! Fifty pages of 10-point, single-spaced, name- and number-crammed detail! And not fun detail like in my footnotes. Nooooooo.
5. Obviously this term is meant figuratively, but can’t you just picture terrified Cameron frosh losing sleep dreading a Welsh/New-Zealander-sheep-style coming-of-age initiation ritual?
6. Ron made this comment after Hermione said they could get killed, or worse—expelled. I might not get work done, or worse—I might have a mix of cool and uncool thumb tacks in the same jar. Sorted priorities, indeed…