I think I now understand why most of those Real Housewives act so batty.
I took most of last week off, solely because I had use-it-or-lose-it vacation time to kill before early September. I didn’t have any actual vacation planned, or any milestone events (birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, funerals) to attend. Because I’m still trying to pay down debts, I decided to eschew any money-siphoning adventures in favor of just hanging out at home, under the premise that any day spent not-at-work is a welcome break.
“I’m going to be a lady of leisure this week!” I vowed.
I started Tuesday with a midmorning personal training appointment, then stretched out at a coffee shop to relax and enjoy my latte (instead of getting it in the drive-thru on the way to work). Back at home, I put on a face mask, crawled back into bed and played games on my iPad until the mask was dry, then finally headed to the shower. Then I did all those errands I never had time to do on weekends, like getting my tires rotated at Discount Tire.
Wednesday I had my first professional haircut in a year. I’m used to cutting my own every week, but I hadn’t seen my friends at Le Studio in forever. (When I had the style gig at the Tribune, they were my go-to team for hair styling, and because the salon was a half-block from my office I was a client, too, and sent a lot of co-workers there as well.) So it was good to check in—and check out the changes in the East Valley, which are plentiful. What was once the Tribune office is now a government building, for example, with an unsettling mural on the side. I know it’s supposed to connote cooperation and support, but those hands are disturbing. Especially the one that’s supposed to be a tiny baby hand but looks deformed because it’s so wrinkly, clutching onto a giant hand that’s so gray/green it looks like zombie flesh.
Thursday started with breakfast at Snooze, one of those breakfast places that has a two-hour wait on weekends but—surprise!—you can walk in and be seated right away if you’re there before 9 a.m. on a weekday. Emboldened by this success, I ventured to next to Costco, thinking that I would avoid the crowds that clog the aisles on weekends. I hit a snag, though, in that while there were indeed fewer people in the store, almost all of them were the sort of retirees who are either on scooters or pushing carts aimlessly and slowly, then randomly stopping midaisle for no apparent reason. Also, there are fewer cashiers on weekdays, which meant the wait time to check out was pretty much the same.
The coffee shop I hit most weekdays before work is in a grocery store parking lot, and as I wend my way from drive-thru to the office, I puzzle about the people who are already up and pushing laden carts to their waiting automobiles. Friday, I was one of them. Just because I’m a lady of leisure doesn’t mean I’m waking up any later, so there I was before 8:30, smartphone loaded up with club card specials. (The Safeway app and specials are pretty nifty; on average I save about 33% off what I buy, as long as I relegate my purchases to what’s on the list and on sale.)
So, I tackled like one meaningful act per day (along with a couple of trips to the airport to drop off and pick up random friends who knew I was free). That left a lot of free time to do … nothing special. Or nothing at all.
I noticed that my default reaction was: “I wonder what I need to get?” Was it time to buy new sheets? Should I get new running shoes? Are we out of paper towels? It was telling how often I equated busy-ness with buying or supplying, instead of doing. Whenever I caught myself headed in that direction, I redirected my attention away from idle purchasing. Those $2 smartphone apps and songs in iTunes got relegated to my “Wish List” instead of being thoughtless purchases. Emails from Frank & Oak and Rue La La went straight to trash, unopened, just like the print catalogs that arrived in the mail. It’s a lot of sitting on your hands.
By the end of the week, I was admittedly stir-crazy. I can play The Secret Society only so much before it gets repetitively boring (or requires an in-app purchase). The people I follow on Instagram aren’t posting all day, every day—mostly because they’re out actually working. (The nerve!) If I log too many segments on Duolingo, it feels like schoolwork. And it’s 110 degrees outside, so outdoor activities aren’t exactly appealing.
I can understand why Real Housewives are always throwing parties, buying random things and/or stirring the pot—they’re looking for something to interrupt the monotony. I would never say that I’m delighted to be headed back to work next week … but it sure will be nice to have a break from this break.
|WHAT SAM WORE: 8-30-14|
|The shirt: T-shirt from Old Navy.|
|The shorts: Corduroy cut-offs, from Lucky Brand.|
|The shoes: Custom All-Stars, made on the Converse website.|