I’m not one to do things the way they’re supposed to be done, which is why my Spring Cleaning frenzy usually hits mid-September. This weekend was THE WEEKEND, and after two full days of hauling, organizing, mincing away from spiders, and stifling my gag reflex at the Metro Dump, my body and brain were crying out for some mindless distraction (and a very long shower.)
After any projects or social plans of the day are over, my average Sunday evening looks like this:
Step 1: Turn on TV for background noise.
Step 2: Microwave something effortless, vaguely edible, and of questionable nutritional value.
Step 3: Plop down in front of computer with plate and remote control and attempt to enjoy all three, save for the fact that each distracts me from the other to such a degree that I go to bed wondering where the last few hours of my weekend went and why I feel like I missed something.
Case in point, I have had the DVD of Persepolis (a subtitled, animated exploration of the life of an Iranian woman) from Netflix for over two months, simply because I can’t read a movie and update my Twitter status at the same time. Thinking about that today made it obvious that I have been leading a quantity-not-quality media lifestyle. I decided to challenge all three usual steps outlined above by leaving my computer on my desk, making a meal that took some effort and watching a movie that made me work for it.
As I diced vegetables, picked spices and started cooking – all absent the comfortable background noise of an unwatched TV – I noticed a strange and unusual feeling creeping over me: Calm. I was focusing on what I was doing, and not straining with one ear to make out who killed Kenny (the bastards!) The hum of the fan in the window and the sizzling of the food on the grill and even the barking of that goddamn dog across the street were oddly relaxing. As I sat down with my delicious meal and started the movie without eyeballing my computer to see if I needed to respond to a client email, I noticed that the food tasted better, and my brain was more engaged on a creative level. It was a slight change, but a radical one nonetheless.
I stopped the movie to clean up the dinner dishes, and I took some time to write an email or two and then I flopped down on the couch and did the un-thinkable: I watched a movie, by myself, and did NOTHING ELSE. And you know what? It was a great movie, and I was completely relaxed. Full of good food I remember eating, full of memories of the beautifully animated details of this well-crafted film and ready to spend the remainder of my evening quietly focused on work, writing this blog and readying myself for my Monday.
I think I’m going to like this week.